Reader Note:  Tomorrow morning’s report (Wednesday’s are a bit like Anything Can Happen days here) is a long one – about 5,000 words in length and it’s a bit of woo-woo from my “other life” you may find interesting.  Just saying, plan a second cup tomorrow…or blow it off and come by Thursday for our regular meal plan…


Statistically speaking this is a terrible week for people trying to scratch a few bucks out of day-trading the markets.

First day of the week was blown off with a kind of half-assed holiday.  Lots of businesses were open but the government workers mostly got the day off.  Again, we advise young people “Get a government job” since government has been the only industry that has shown consistent growth over the past 150 years…

The dance card this week is lame:

Take today, for example.  Not that a speech by Fed member Loretta Mester isn’t interesting to some, but we’re guessing this will not be a big market-mover.

Tomorrow things will pick up with the housing starts report and the FOMC minutes in the afternoon.  Sparklers from those?  Maybe, but again, it’s not likely to be ground-shaking.

Last week’s NY Fed Consumer expectations report was tepid, too.  Details in “Consumers Slightly Less Optimistic about Personal Finances and the Economy.

So as I’m reading it, the reality of a slowing to no-growth economy hasn’t begun to sink into people’s awareness yet.  Perhaps because of the recent GovDown and all the misdirection from both sides of the aisle on that front.

Even with government shut down, we do have a number of “other metrics” that are available and some we don’t mention often-enough.

One is the Association of American Railroads operating Railtime Indicators.  In the latest press release:

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending February 9, 2019.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 519,779 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.1 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending February 9 were 242,266 carloads, down 3.3 percent compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 277,513 containers and trailers, up 3.4 percent compared to 2018.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018. They were petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,420 carloads, to 12,740; grain, up 1,685 carloads, to 20,720; and motor vehicles and parts, up 363 carloads, to 17,069. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included coal, down 9,107 carloads, to 75,864; farm products excl. grain, and food, down 1,242 carloads, to 15,063; and miscellaneous carloads, down 967 carloads, to 8,487.

Of course, we can’t put too much stock in the short-term indicators on a weekly basis because the data is a bit noisy due in part to American companies playing “out-guess the Trade Talks” which induces some pattern changes. Front-loading inventory and such.

Where this report gets interesting is?

“For the first six weeks of 2019, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,480,753 carloads, up 0.9 percent from the same point last year; and 1,593,681 intermodal units, up 1 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first six weeks of 2019 was 3,074,434 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 0.9 percent compared to last year.”

Hmm…rail traffic up 1 percent…say, that’s not very much, is it?

It leaves us wondering what kind of crack the markets are on, since this looks pretty much like flat-line to us, now.  Especially when most of that one percent growth is likely because of things like, oh, immigration and a few more babies.  These alone likely account for one percent growth.

A useful context to use, in times like this, is to think of money as being “under pressure.”  Right now, the money in the global system is “squirting into new areas” – such as gold, silver, and palladium (which was one of the big future’s movers earlier today).  Up over 1% while gold was up 0.85% on the session earlier.

This “money has to go someplace” may also be a factor in Bitcoin being up to $3,889 early, too.

When I see this kind of “compression” going on, and with oil up almost one percent on the day, too, I think “What should this do for stocks?”

Well, it will be hard, other than by applying the “standard tricks of accountancy” to (legally) boost claimed earnings.  Stock buy-backs are about gone, so maybe we will have another outbreak of “one time charges” to boost earnings and hence hype some prices up.

Frankly, though, we’re not impressed.  When we say “show us the money” we’re not talking about handing it out to the exec’s…

Is Jussie Smollett a Racist?

I mean it seems to us a fair question to be asking since the latest reports, such as this one out of Chicago, seem to paint him as making up an anti-white and anti-Trump (thus racist) meme.

Meantime, PJ Media asks a pertinent question as well: Why does the media keep falling for “such obvious hoaxes?”

Meantime ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah: Jussie Smollett deserves an Emmy for ‘GMA’ interview.

Me, me, me, kiddies.  And the gangstahs of social media.

To confirm my assertion, check out NewsBustersFormer CBS Star Lara Logan Goes NUCLEAR on ‘Horsesh**’ ‘Propagandist’ Press.

‘zactly so.

Presidential Disappointment

A number of readers are decrying the president’s failure on the border.  For one, the deal he ended up signing was actually worse than the one he had on the table pre-shutdown.

And now, states are going to court to prevent the wall from being built.

And there’s a certain canned pitch we’ve been worried about at the term “Finish the Wall” is being touted as the Trump 2020 campaign slogan.

Err…no thanks.   Goes into the “fool us once, shame on me…” pile.

Next President?

Bernie of the barricades tossed his hat in from the left…

We’ll hold out for Howie Schultz, thanks. While we thank God AOC isn’t in her 40’s yet!

Climate Change?  – No!  WEATHER

But still, unusual as Las Vegas had, depending on neighborhood, up to a couple of inches of the white stuff this weekend.

The real story – and the Los Angeles Times is tracking this one closely – is that when all the “unusual precip” melts and rains come as they seem to be, that could overwhelm a lot of California damns.  No worries though, Texas still has room and we know a South Bay real estate mogul for those who want to move north…

Anti-Semitic Europe

Why is it that when the economic long wave bottoms that anti-Semitism seems to pop up in Europe?  I mean look at what’s going on there nowadays.  It’s a near-replay of the ground that brought Hitler to power.

“80 graves vandalized at Jewish cemetery in France.”

Open borders to bring in radicalized anti-Jewish Islamists and partner ’em up with the existing anti-Semitic extreme right in Europe and presto!  What could go wrong?  Er… Remake of a very bad WW II conflict comes into view.

Not again!  But there is a profound border lesson here.

Can’t happen here?  Wrong:  In the New York Times just today “Anti-Semitic Attacks Fuel Continuing Rise in Hate Crimes in New York.”

The sequence is:  Long wave economic bottom, global polarization, followed by global war.  Just so you know what’s ahead.

Trading Notes

Tariff nerves wilt stocks, Swedish crown savaged by inflation slowdown.

Apple planning a 16-Inch MacBook Pro, report says.  (I almost didn’t mention this since I’ve been on a Samsung17.3 laptop for years.  But Apple users are more like a religion so…we try to play to the whole church.. that is, the Church of the Almighty Basis Point.)

Oil hovers below 2019 highs on OPEC cuts, trade talks in focus.

Our morning dart toss was down 150, or more, today.  Gotta buy me some new darts.

Hmm…what have I overlooked? Oh yes!!!   Girl Scout cookies go on sale this coming weekend…  chocolate mint, please!!!

Moron the ‘morrow..