But first, an off topic remark or three…
My consigliore, just back from a hard week of skiing in Montana, bashed me good on the phone yesterday by pointing out that a major decline of exports doesn’t necessarily mean collapse of the GDP…and he was a) better rested, b) more caffeinated, and c) right.
After we kicked around the likely date for the Big West Coast earthquake I dreamed about back in January, he let on that in his scans of the net, there’s been an uptick in tsunami talk. Showing up in prophecy and dream boards and worth noting. And you do know what happens Saturday, right?
109th anniversary of the major quake in 1906 that devastated the city by the bay. My pal then reminded me that there was also an 8.2 that year in Valparaiso, Chile.
So keep an eye on the volcanoes which are in uptick mode: Causing smoke and ash at increased levels on the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula now, and last month the one down in Chile that seems to percolate as a quake precedent, popped off, as well.
Yet another possible precursor: 150 dolphins that beached in the past week in Japan have mostly died. Australia pilot whales worth watching, too.
Just something to be aware of while you make a fortune on Wall St. Or, holding up banks if you’re ethically inclined.
Which gets us to this morning’s data sets:
PPI first because it’s boring – but if you can read these far, you’ll make it through the rest of the column:
“The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.2 percent in March, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices moved down 0.5 percent in February and 0.8 percent in January. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand decreased 0.8 percent for the 12 months ended in March. (See table A.) In March, more than half of the rise in final demand prices can be attributed to a 0.3-percent advance in the index for final demand goods. Prices for final demand services moved up 0.1 percent. Within intermediate demand, prices for processed goods edged down 0.1 percent, the index for unprocessed goods dropped 1.7 percent, and prices for services rose 0.2 percent.
Final demand goods: The index for final demand goods moved up 0.3 percent in March following eight consecutive decreases. A major factor in the advance was prices for final demand energy, which rose 1.5 percent. The index for final demand goods less foods and energy increased 0.2 percent in March. In contrast, prices for final demand foods fell 0.8 percent. Product detail: Leading the March advance in prices for final demand goods, the index for gasoline jumped 7.2 percent. Prices for motor vehicles, jet fuel, pharmaceutical preparations, basic organic chemicals, and beef and veal also moved higher. Conversely, the index for pork declined 5.1 percent. Prices for utility natural gas and for plastic resins and materials also fell.
The REAL story this morning is Retail Sales:
“The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March, adjusted for seasonal variation and
holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $441.4 billion, an increase of 0.9 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, and 1.3
percent (±0.9%) above March 2014. Total sales for the January 2015 through March 2015 period were up 2.2 percent (±0.7%) from the same period a year ago.
The January 2015 to February 2015 percent change was revised from -0.6 percent (±0.5%) to -0.5 percent (±0.2%).
Retail trade sales were up 0.9 (±0.5%) from February 2015, and 0.5 percent (±0.9%)* above last year. Food services and drinking places were up 7.7
percent (±3.5%) from March 2014 and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 6.3 percent (±2.5%) from last year.
Why the headline about Auto Sales saving the economy? Well, how about because it’s true?
Notice how everything else sucks year-on-year (right side of chart)?
And with both of these numbers out, the futures market is pointing to a basically flat opening – Wall St. lacks much sense but around here we keep waiting until the 10th car shows up in the driveway. One for each day of the week, maybe?
Gold, meantime is down $12-bucks early…and the Baltic Dry Index is still soft. Stuck at 2009-like levels. 578.
Rubio’s In – Is Vermin Supreme?
Senator Marco Rubio has tossed in the hat for the White House. I have to admit not following his track record too closely, so we’ll do more reading before saying much.
Meantime, our Canadian Bureau has put us on alert to see if Vermin Love Supreme will run this year. Not to be confused with SOWWDS – which is a different branch of that family, if you follow.
This Vermin’s FB Page is here. You go, dude.
War: Real Economic Reform
We have to note that tensions are rising on many fronts with the Russians. Particularly since they may be doing an evac of personnel from Yemen. There is some US stress (understandably so) over the Russians starting up shipments of missiles to Iran.
While this is seized on by the US defense lobby as a major “threat” the max range of the S-300’s is about 100 miles. So if anything, they will simply protect the Russian investment in Iran’s nuclear program. It’s not like they’re cruise missiles or ICBMs.
The Russian hardline in Eastern Europe has put Washington on notice, but who is the better poker player, here?
The ideal of war is grotesque and genocidal, but it does employ people and it creates lots of job opportunity.
And in a world of disposable people and recyclable code, maybe that’s where we have to go rather than strip the embedded rich of their control of the game.