Early Onset Stagflation?

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..

25 thoughts on “Early Onset Stagflation?”

    • Girl Scout Cookies? Are there still girl scouts ? I thought they invaded one of women’s last new untamed frontiers historically occupied by the enemies of Gloria Stienham ( Boy Scouts who often grow up to be men.)

      • They only harass the Boy Scouts. Girl Scouts are exempt like the rest of the Women’s World. They don’t want young boys to grow up as men.

  1. George

    “Apple users are more like a religion”.

    Back in 1983 me and the wife + kiddo went to the Apple Shoppe to buy our first computer, an Apple II. The salesman had little time or patience to deal with us and was much annoyed that kiddo was playing on the keyboard.

    We didn’t stick around to pay about $1500 for the Apple junk.
    We went down the road to a Radio Shack computer store. We were treated very well. The sales lady answered all our questions and even showed kiddo a Color Computer he could play on!

    We went home with a Tandy Model III which was Z80 based. It turned out to be a very good machine which we used a lot. It even got me started on learning assembly language and computer architecture which was a help in my career. I eventually designed an industrial computer used to measure flow rates and ratios of chemical mixes that was based on a Z180 chip. (the Z80’s big brother.)

    I always remember the snobbish treatment by the Apple employee.

    A POX on their house!!!

  2. Going into a store is a mine field. Money for this that damm. Say how much would we save on school budgets if wee took sports OUT How much of BUdget is to sports will shock the hell out of you

  3. Got to have those Do-Si-Dos!! There great ! Already bought 10 boxes, and I am trying to find a sales person for another 10. Yes, and Smollett is a racist, but he gets to be..doesn’t he !!

  4. The Sierra Snowpack is at 155% of normal…and growing…but unlike years past, the water guru’s built spillover surface storage reservoir’s to capture the excess. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than letting it run out to the ocean…although, that too is needed for the salmon runs. I love my salmon grilled with a Miso maple glaze. It’s a balance.

    And, after nearly a dozen Democrats (after Bernie’s announcement,) have put their hat in the ring for POTUS, why haven’t we seen a GOP challenge candidate appear? The Democrats are pounding their chest and showing their solidarity that they are not afraid and despise Trump.

    By cowering in the corner, allowing our disaster of a POTUS, control the conversation and the reign of power, the GOP is showing that they are weak. Someone with crotch spheres needs to emerge and take control, and use the inevitable Trumps Tweet storms they will endure as fuel for a serious run. This is one instance where Trumps tweeted insults could backfire on him. America is tired of his rants…Their attention span is spent…His insults are like Johnny Carson’s 3 joke rule…Carson used to say…pick a topic and limit it to 3 related jokes…tell more than 3 jokes on a topic and you will hear crickets.

    Trump is starting to hear crickets on his stupid style of management. The GOP is losing their mojo and Trump’s 30% base is not enough to help them win in 2020. The Dems are after the 100 million that did not vote in 2016 (because of two horrible candidates)…and since the Dems technically won the popular vote anyway by 3 million… they don’t need to capture a lot of those 100 million to easily win. Nearly half of GOP voters would like to see a GOP challenger….so where is he or she?

    • Vice President Pence will break away from Trump & run for President. My belief is that VPP thinks PT is a pompous idiot, & may be correct.

    • There won’t be a real GOP challenger to Pres Trump because he’s the only President in modern history to try & keep his campaign promises, and, like it or not, he will win in 2020. Since he’s a contractor by trade, he works the projects like a “punchlist”; but of course, people like you in CON-gress obstruct his efforts.
      You’re rooting for the wrong team, Mark. And if you actually voted for Hitlery Clinton, please seek mental help.

      • West coast,
        I am a Reublican, and a billion dollar pay-off would not have swayed me enough to vote for Hillary. I wasted my vote on a write in candidate.Trump has not kept one campaign promise except throw the world into chaos by exiting the The Pacific Trade Partnership without a replacement. He dismantled Obama Care without a replacement…He got rid of NAFTA without a replacement..That deal still isn’t signed. He is backing away on his blowhard stance on North Korea. . He just destroys things and then walks away. That’s not getting things done. He is like the bully kid in pre school that just likes to destroy his classmates LEGO projects for jollies.

        Trump is NOT a contractor by trade. He doesn’t know a hammer from a tailors hemmer. He HAS stiffed many, many contractors…he has contracted many of his goons to “punch” out people that defied his practices. He is a thug and a fraud.

        I am rooting like heck to make sure this idiot of a President gets put away in jail and the key thrown away deep into the depths of the hell he created.

    • George, love your insights have been following for years (everyday since 2007). I would be a subscriber but I am not a gambler (stock market is gambling). Mark, I wish you could get out and talk to some dyed in the wool real Americans that bust their ass everyday, cause we aren’t all bay area weenies. I live in a VERY liberal area and see the TDS everyday. I don’t think you really have much of a clue of what is actually going on with Trump and the govt. WWG1WGA. Check out Q now so you can understand when all the arrests start happening your head wont be spinning so much. I and many others count on Trumps tweets cause they cannot not be distorted by the media. It is actual news from the horses mouth. Love the guy cause he loves America and the people. Yes, even you Mark.

      • Eugene – As a past Trump supportor, it looks like PT’s NY bullying tactics aren’t working in Washington & he hasn’t a clue what to do. Also, nobody in Washington likes the guy so he has no clout with anyone. His tweets are nonsense, but feed his massive ego.

  5. FWIW George, you get my shekel more for the WOO WOO than the charts. Long after the charts and buy/sell tickets fade into dust people will be asking, “How does it work? Why am I here? and “When George refers to Bipolar America, is that an antenna or a social movement?”

    You remain the best part of my morning and the best bargain on the net!

    • Then today you are in luck. The piece on dreams which will go up in a few minutes – lots of woo woo in that. And on Peoplenomics, how to Imagineer your home – because contrary to what some think, PN is not just about trading stocks. It’s the drill down into some of what makes life fun, too./..

  6. More lunacy from Oregon’s left. Letting 16 year olds vote. The comment section is filled with comments showing just how stupid this idea is. As one says, what’s next, illegals voting in local and state elections, oh wait, doesn’t San Francisco already do that?. Im so glad I’m moving out of this state. And to think I use to vote Democrat and voted twice for Obama. Thats how loony the left has become in just a few short years.


  7. George,get off the ranch and take a cruise in your car and see for your self, the wall is being built now and will continue to be, as we eat and breath. The 9th circuit court battle was already planned for, and the show must go on. Ask your friend warhammer, if the military does not plan many steps in advanced, this is a WAR. BEWARE of the Torys

    Mark needs more wine and cheese, cause the demo party really is a bunch of losers on a fast train to DESTRUCTION, oh wait, what happened to the bullet train
    moron the morrow(love that)

  8. George, good piece on the economics today.
    True your take: “Well, it will be hard, other than by applying the “standard tricks of accountancy” to (legally) boost claimed earnings.”
    The one time boost (aka unfunded subsidy) to ‘earnings’ and buybacks of the Tax Cuts have petered out. Leaving only higher interest rates.
    Wish you’d have lambasted the Tax Cuts for what they were: subsidizing Wall St. while loading another $2 trillion in debt on Main St.
    For that same money, we could have paid for Medicare for All.
    For 1/3, we could have funded infrastructure — nurses, techs, crane operators, etc.
    All the great Main St. jobs missed.
    Trickle up, my friend.
    Best, Michael.

    • Assuming there is no benefit to growing the economy (a dubious assertion) by the Trump tax cut and associated deregulation, it costs $2.3 Trillion in revenue over ten years. Meanwhile, George Mason University released a study that Medicare for All will cost $32.6 Trillion over the same period.

  9. Looks like our newly elected Congresswomen are beginning to fuel Anti-Semitic hate mongering. My view is it is only a beginning of hate mongering fostered by our duly elected Congress. The previous discussed group will mostly likely be next. Maybe this will wake up Chuck Schummer.

  10. “Early Onset Stagflation?”

    Intersting. Was having coffee with a bunch and the major topic was how they aren’t going to buy unnecessary stuff.
    The reason ..their tax return wasn’t anything like they had anticipated.

    ( I will have to pay I can bet on it. No matter how much we pay in we always owe a month or twos income.)

    • Looking – Your post doesn’t say much good about PT’s Tax Reform. It was for the rich, which group PT is as part of. As for donating his Presidential salary, that is chump change in these circles. PT is proving to be a scam.

      • I will still have to wait and see.I have faith in DJT and can see his vision I also see what games are being played against him..talked to the tax preparer yesterday..dam…basically he said to prepare to pay more. So last year I paid thirty percent. Had to sinker with the budget and now save more to pay the irs. …
        Not sure but the tab extra I paid in was one months gross earnings so I will have to make sure I have two months gross earnings available. I won’t mess with the irs lol..
        I just don’t have the funds to play those games. That’s for rich folks not blue collar average income laborers.
        For me the nightmare would be intense and its our income bracket that’s usually targeted.

      • ECS. … Most of the issues that the average basic millionaire or member of the 30 percent club will be coming from the last spending bill that was passed.
        Unlike 78 when congress tossed the members of the 40 percent club under the bus. This time they targeted the 30 percent club as main targets…
        All of that rides on the backs of a do nothing congress that will do the Giddings of the puppeteers, not DJT..
        I still think he’s trying to turn it around but like a big boat it takes a lot and is a slow move.

  11. Here is what constantly blows my mind..

    The puppeteers don’t want what I have.. all they want from me or those on my level of the food chain is total commitment to them.. servitude..

    I will pay more in taxes than most millionaires ( percentage wise) my class was tossed under the bus by congress decades ago when they tossed carter under the bus..

    they don’t want my bank account.. what I have and make is probably lunch money for some..

    I won’t oppose any of the laws they decide I should be forced to accept ( Heck congress doesn’t’ give a hoot what they are passing why should I.. but in retrospect. bad policies caused economic, military and political crises in the past where dictators were given the right to become tyrants). . I will and do abide by the laws they pass like a good servant should..
    I think the ones that they are after are a step above my level on the food chain.. Now if they sure don’t care what is being passed to affect their way of life.. why should I care about it more than they care about keeping what they have gained..

    For myself it just doesn’t make any sense.. but then heck who am I .. just some schmuck in the middle of nowhere.. that see’s a picture of something coming our way that our ancestors fought so hard against.

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