Futures are up about 30 points (or were when I looked) which supports the old theory that a lot of people take money off the table when there is a three-day weekend in play. 

Another theory – along the same lines – is that markets rally ahead of the holiday.  As usual, the “old theory” about this is hogwash.  A glance at the S&P 500 chart (here) for last week clearly shows the market peaked on Tuesday and although there was a tiny bump Thursday, the smart money was off the table early Thursday morning.  (More sellers than buyers caused that decline from the Wednesday close.)

Looking at the week ahead, there’s no lack of things to watch for:  Tomorrow we get the Case-Schiller Housing data, which is a much nicer data set than the numbers from Census because they actually offer some regional insight; not just a national number.

The last three days of this week line up as biggies for employment data. The ADP news jobs Wednesday, the Challenger job cuts Thursday, and the Official Big Deal number Friday.

At the secondary-interest levels, consumer confidence Tuesday, petroleum  data Wednesday, weekly jobless data (horribly noisy data) Thursday and Friday’s monetary minutia like the money stocks and the ISM Manufacturing Index.  The ISM isn’t really in the minutia pile, except since we make next to nothing in America, it’s hard to get worked up over a number that impacts way less than 10% of the workforce. 

We live in a shop-keeper economy, moderated by the government which frankly doesn’t seem to care if we sell each-other nail jobs, a stunning array of useless computer apps, and car washes.  As long as we pay taxes out the nose.  (Or butt, your call, really.)

And that rolls us to a couple of press releases out this morning: 

How’s about we begin with the international trade in goods from Census?

The advance international trade balance in goods was -$62.9 billion in February 2016. Advance exports of goods were $118.7 billion and advance imports of goods were $181.6 billion.

This trade number is something we kicked around on Peoplenomics.com (our premium content).  I mentioned that I was expecting some improvement this spring.  While it’s true  that this morning’s advance data showed a $636-million decline, when seasonal adjustments are considered, the advance number shows an improvement of 3.158 BILLION which – if that filters out into shared reality, would be a fine bump, indeed.  We shall see…

Then we have the Bureau of Economic Analysis laying out Personal Income and Expenditures.

Personal income increased $23.7 billion, or 0.2 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $23.7 billion, or 0.2 percent, in February, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $11.0 billion, or 0.1 percent. In January, personal income increased $72.7 billion, or 0.5 percent, DPI increased $57.2 billion, or 0.4 percent, and PCE increased $10.7 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates.

Proprietors’ income increased $0.6 billion in February, compared with an increase of $3.9 billion in January. Farm proprietors’ income increased $2.1 billion, the same increase as in January.

Nonfarm proprietors’ income decreased $1.5 billion in February, in contrast to an increase of $1.8 billion in January. Rental income of persons increased $6.7 billion in February, compared with an increase of $6.0 billion in January. Personal income receipts on assets (personal interest income plus personal dividend income) increased $7.3 billion, compared with an increase of $8.8 billion.

Personal saving — DPI less personal outlays — was $733.6 billion in February, compared with $720.3 billion in January. The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 5.4 percent, compared with 5.3 percent. For a comparison of personal saving in BEA’s national income and product accounts with personal saving in the Federal Reserve Board’s Financial Accounts of the United States and data on changes in net worth,

All of this is probably forgettable to anyone who doesn’t care about the future.  It is important to remember, though, that there is a link between the money flowing around the world and how hungry people are, just as there’s also a fine link between war and money for those who are curious.

A few more days and the monthly retirement investment money should come flowing into the market for the month but no telling what the rest of the world will be doing, although losses in Europe (down in the case of France, more than 2% on the CAC-40 and Germany down 1.7%) do pose an interesting cloud over the market today.

There’s some reason to be fearful of decline, on the other hand, the US is really a safe-haven from the insanity of invasion, so we shall see and flip that around tomorrow…

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A reader was wondering why we have the Euro chart on the top of (desktop) displays this morning.  Answer:  In the long term, I think Europe is where the next financial crisis could arise from so as long as the chart is available.  Also, 90-day Euro futures are a good judge of market direction.

Remember, the charts do NOT display on phones and tablets…which I can turn on, but honestly, they look funky on a small screen and I’m trying to be considerate of bandwidth with the site revamp.  The new header graphic is less than have the size of the previous one which should be welcoming by mobileers.

High Min. Wage in Cali

California has a deal now to raise the minimum wage out in the Golden State to $15-bucks an hour.  Good in-depth in the L.A. Times today.

Unfortunately, for the people who need the increase, it looks like only $10.50 next year and slowly going up from there.

Honestly, the problem is that while it seems like politicians are being responsive, that’s not going to rock the world of people who really need the increase. Still, gradually rising wages beats wages falling. 

On the other hand, however, while eventually people might be able to move from five part-time jobs to live down to four jobs, or so, the move is coming slowly enough that a LOT of employers will find ways to streamline their businesses to reduce body counts while maintaining the owner’s take-home.

Bad Weekend for Christians

The good news, as any Christian will tell you is “He is risen.”  The bad news is 69 Christians were killed in a bombing in Pakistan.

You’ll have to pardon me for not buying “the religion of peace” crap  Exactly zero Muslims were blown up in America this weekend.

Ah, but there’s those mean old Westerners again: Belgium Charges 3 With Terrorist Involvement.

Alaska Volcano Poppin’

When you look at the headlines, the report on Mt. Pavlof popping volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air sounds like a mighty big deal:

Here’s a find lesson in mental acuity:  When the ash goes up to 20,000 feet, try to remember that Mt. Pavlof is already 8,264’ fight. So the ash blow was about 12,000 feet up from the summit.  It’s one of those fine points of flight planning I still remember from covering Mt. St Helens.

Anti-Shots Film Axed

Here’s a headline which is good news – and bad: “ Robert De Niro Pulls Controversial Anti-Vaccine Film From Tribeca Film Festival.”

The good news is that there is still real science that says vaccinations work.  The bad news is we really need to continue to keep the discussion about adjuvants going.

In immunology, an adjuvant is a component that potentiates the immune responses to an antigen and/or modulates it towards the desired immune responses.[1] The word “adjuvant” comes from the Latin word adiuvare, meaning to help or aid.[2] “An immunologic adjuvant is defined as any substance that acts to accelerate, prolong, or enhance antigen-specific immune responses when used in combination with specific vaccine antigens

That, and of course, the other “stuff” that is in vaccines in the way of preservatives and such.

As technology evolves, will regulators (who are largely “captive regulators” in the sense that so many end up going to work in the industry) be able to (or interested in) looking at the tiny little things that could be added to vaccines?  Something to think about is “Nanocarriers for systemic and mucosal vaccine delivery.”

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Drop by tomorrow.  I’ll continue tweaking the website – still trying to make it faster and more compact for the phone readers.  Any comments are welcome…