Statistics, contrary to popular belief, don’t tell us where we are. Only where we were some time ago.
Life is “offset from the numbers.” For example, on a 4-hour statistical period, your average driving speed may be 40-miles per hour. But it means absolutely nothing if you are heel & toe through the corkscrew on the east side of Laguna Seca and the tires are screaming. Present conditions vary from statistical lookbacks.
Which is how an adventure junkie (moi) can look you in the eyes and say “Yes, I am a safe driver – no tickets in 57 years, now…” While confessing to you “Screaming tires are happy tires…”
Thus, in behavioral economics, we have to understand the difference between historical versus real-time stats. The problem is found not only in checkbooks, but also in dieting, study habits, and (sadly) politics. Lies of a certain numeric flavor run rampant. Leading the aware person to conclude that “The Truth is a range, not an absolute value, determined by context.”
OK, let me stop huffing the whiteboard marker. Three numbers are out this morning that demand this type of mental acuity. They include International Trade, Personal Incomes, and Retail Inventories.
Personal income (and outlays) is the most pointless number. If money ain’t in your pocket, other’s wallets don’t matter, unless you’re a pickpocket or have taxing authority. Notwithstanding, let’s dispense with this one first:
“Personal income increased $87.6 billion (0.4 percent at a monthly rate) in August. Disposable personal income (DPI)—personal income less personal current taxes— increased $46.6 billion (0.2 percent). Personal outlays—the sum of personal consumption expenditures (PCE), personal interest payments, and personal current transfer payments—increased $86.0 billion (0.4 percent) and consumer spending increased $83.6 billion (0.4 percent). Personal saving was $794.1 billion and the personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 3.9 percent in August.”
The next number drop is International Trade. Look, it’s the end of September. The goods underlying this report were measured in August. But, since this is international trade, and so much comes in by ocean freight – which can take 90 to 120-days (order to container, container to ship, ship to here, ship to dock, dock to intermodal or break-bulk, to train (or truck) ride, to distribution center….) to get here in the data window, we’re really talking orders placed back in MAY of this year.
Which in turn will be based on consumer sell-through estimations going back into what, April? It’s not a full six-month delay – offset perception – but it likely predates the market top (July 31st of this year if you missed the memo?).
Having this lag time (hysteresis, off-set) here’s how that played.
The advance international trade deficit in goods decreased to $84.3 billion in August from $90.9 billion in July as exports increased and imports decreased.
Then, we can look at inventory build, or declines. Which is based close in on computer analysis of shopper’s buying preferences. The inventory discussion then becomes:
August end-of-month inventories were $901.2 billion, down 0.1 percent (+/- 0.4 percent)* from last month.
Thus, my favorite story about data use. Told to me by my first-ever stock broker in 1970.
“This woman walks into the broker’s office in about 1950. Hands the broker $5,000 in cash – her life savings – and says “Buy Brunswick stock – every penny into Brunswick.”
The broker says he will, but at this point, Brunswick was a turkey – had sales, while solid, was hardly an exciting stock. So, he asks “Mind telling me why?”
“Yes. I was just down at the bowling alley and there was a line outside to go bowling because this alley has a new Brunswick pin setter. It has revolutionized bowling!”
The broker makes the trade and the woman goes off to continue with life. Until, that is, 1968. She comes back to the broker’s office.
“Sell it all – every bit of my Brunswick stock. Do it right now.”
Broker gets the ticket entered, comes back and says “You do know you made a flipping fortune and that is personally the best stock call I have ever seen. Do you mind telling me why you sold? Brunswick is growing like a weed, and they have just diversified into new, growing recreational areas…”
“Sure, I’ll tell you. I went down to the bowling alley and no one was bowling.”
That, my friend is the heart of things. Trust your own “lying eyes” not the slick statistics. It’s one of the best “investment lessons” ever.
Bounce to the Open
Notwithstanding theory, we hit our projected rise ahead of a purely theoretical market turn if present pseudo-entrainment with 1929 continues.
We have come down to “the Line” and we are now in “the Bounce” which (to our very limited mental capacity – so this is never financial advice – is that next week could be a crashing train wreck.
The arrow, lower right, points to the “bounce at the long-term support line” which we are waiting out now:
“But we didn’t touch the support line!”
Well, yes, we did. That was intraday. (*You gotta super-glue your ass in front of a trading platform to really keep up, which is why I don’t do it often! DVT is a real thing. Which is why pomodoro timers are going off all day…Walk around!)
We’ll see how it all lands by closing time and kick it around on Peoplenomics tomorrow.
Political Bubble Sort
Let’s come at this from the far-out woo-woo direction, shall we?
Long ago, and in fact still is a candy company in Tacoma, WA called “Brown and Haley.” They make really good candy (blood sugar levels aside, ahem) called Almond Roca and their Mountain Bars.
Their ad slogan – deeply embedded in the consciousness of the 2-million in the Seattle statistical area at the time was “Brown and Haley makes ’em daily.”
Toss that into mass consciousness, disperse around the planet and simmer for half a century.
Does it result in Youngkin-Haley for the G.O.P.? Could that be a sweet change? Down in the archetype levels, we wonder about the rhymology at work.
This assumes you are aware of Robert Costa on X: “SCOOP/NEWS: Push for Youngkin 2024 now taking shape as donors and Rs grow alarmed. “Red Vest Retreat” Oct. 17-18 in VA Beach… Billionaire backer Peterffy assures me “money would be there.” Bill Barr telling him to put his “oar in.”
With Trump having talked (and exaggerated) himself into any number of legal corners, and with no super standouts (except the Big Money on Nikki Haley).
Glenn Youngkin’s bio? Let’s lift this from Wikipedia:
“Glenn Allen Youngkin (born December 9, 1966) is an American businessman and politician currently serving as the 74th governor of Virginia since 2022. A member of the Republican Party, he spent 25 years at the private-equity firm the Carlyle Group, where he became co-CEO in 2018. He resigned from that position in 2020 to run for governor.
Youngkin won the 2021 Republican primary for Governor of Virginia and defeated former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe in the general election, becoming the state’s first Republican governor since Bob McDonnell in 2009. Inaugurated during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Youngkin supported vaccination efforts against the disease but opposed mandates for the vaccine and banned mask mandates in Virginia public schools; this ban was partially rescinded following legal challenges. During his first year in office, Youngkin signed a bipartisan state budget that paired increased education spending with expansive tax cuts.
As governor, Youngkin has focused heavily on culture war issues pertaining to race and gender identity in public education. On his first day in office, he issued an executive order that ended various racial equity programs in Virginia public schools, and banned discussion within the state’s school system of concepts such as critical race theory (CRT) that his administration deemed divisive. Youngkin signed one of the first statewide laws in the nation allowing parents to opt their children out of educational material that is deemed sexually explicit.
As for our checkboxes? Didn’t force the vaccine issue, seems to differentiate between equity (read “gimme yo shit“) versus equality (read equal under the law) and that leaves the whole border question.
Outstanding: He sent Virginia National Guard troops to help keep the southern border real: Youngkin defends decision to send troops to border, Democrats call it a ‘waste of money’. Democrats, here lately have been mostly full of shit and importing your replacement from everywhere but here. But you know you don’t fit the socialist mold, right?
Oh, wait, too direct? Um….deal with it.
Into the Wire Closet
There were two kinds of radio station news departments in the 1960s and 1970s during the Rock and Roll wars of Top-40 radio. In Seattle, when I ran news at KOL, our UPI machine was in a corner of the newsroom and the teletype clattering gently in the background was real. Other stations – bigger news budgets – had teletype rooms (TV stations) and closets (radio). By 1980 the wires began to transition to the dot matrix printers. And news has been going downhill, ever since.
There was a writing cadence you could lock into. My (late) friend Big Al, the Broadcasters Pal at the AP bureau…why, you could almost see him going into trance-lock with the Model 15s and 19s that were clattering away. 60 words per minute became the default composing while thinking speed in most newsrooms. Amazing how much you can crank out when you have lots of material and that cadence driving you.
Why a column like this morning (2,500 words +) only takes about 45 minutes to write, leaving the rest of the time for reading, sourcing, and swilling coffee. It’s what being a “production-level writer” is all about.
Anyway, this is the part of the column where we see “what’s crawled out of the (wire) closet today… (Not to be confused with the Telco closet!)
If you’re not an ESG communist, you must be an extremist? That’s how Slo Joe is rolling: Biden warns that Trump’s movement is a threat to democracy in the US | Euronews. Paradoxical, coming from Biden and the socialist wokerising.
Ethnic cleansing of the day: Majority Of Karabakh Armenians Leave Region Amid Fears Of Ethnic Cleansing (rferl.org).
Gruesome California’s burger bugger: California raises fast food minimum wage to $20 per hour. Which means the price of food there will have to go up even more. And the dimocrats can’t figure out why the poor are increasingly living in food islands? And where inflation comes from.
Social Violence and thievery is hitting more than Philly with flash mobs: Sweden gang violence: Prime minister summons police and army chiefs, as gang violence surges | CNN. Of course, the statistics are pretty clear: Let the bad apples out and they will taint the whole barrel, right? The 1 % of the population accountable for 63 % of all violent crime convictions – PMC (nih.gov). Thanks, permissive, liberal judges!
What? A pre-dawn police raid is now called “regulatory scrutiny? ViseGrips to the arm, stat! Nvidia offices raided by French authorities | NASDAQ:NVDA (proactiveinvestors.com).
What the hell is a memecoin and a Pepe coin? PEPE Skyrockets Over 30% in a Week: Find Out Why This Meme Coin is Surging (cryptopotato.com).
Around the Ranch: Working Weather
The long-range weather outlook for this part of Texas calls for temps into the low to mid 80s in a week. Been in the lower to mid 90s even now.
This is great news for a ton of outside projects that have been on hold.
One of which is an electronic pet door for the cats. Seems a whole new category of “automatic chicken doors” has shown up on Amazon, and we just couldn’t resist….LBFO Automatic Chicken Coop Door, Solar Powered Chicken Door Opener with Timer, Light Sensor and LCD Display, Aluminum and Weatherproof Poultry Coop Door with Multi Modes and Anti Pinch Design.
One other thing that caught my eye: A Mini 4-Key Select-All Cut Copy Paste Macro Pad Ctrl A X C V Shortcut One Handed Keyboard. It was all of $25-bucks, but having one button all, cut, copy, and paste is faster than the CTRL-C and all that blather. If you do a lot of editing (which I should) it can make sense. There used to be a writer’s keyboard 20-years ago – shortly after Windows came out – OK, somewhere after Nov. of 1985 – and it was great. But I haven’t seen one since. Everyone has gone macro-mad.
Sleep changes? See the comments section in Thursday’s column for G.A. Stewart’s question on sleep disruptions. I normally wake only once per night but this time but the past several nights I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo. I did notice that after the moon passed its zenith in the night sky the sleepless part passed. But you know how that goes, right? As soon as I was back to sleep the damn alarm went off at 4 AM…
Mainly a focus on the charts in Peoplenomics tomorrow. No idea what will end up in ShopTalk Sunday this week. I may actually have to do something.
Have a great weekend and write when you get rich,