Dow futures were down 85, or so, earlier this morning.  And because this is the last Tuesday of the month, we will be posting this morning’s diatribe in two parts, with the second coming at 8:15 Central when we’ll put up the detail on the Case-Shiller housing report.

Breaking Data

Just out is a delayed Housing report from Commerce:

Building Permits  Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of  1,326,000.  This is 0.3 percent (±1.2 percent)* above the revised November rate of 1,322,000 and is 0.5 percent (±1.1 percent)*  above the December 2017 rate of 1,320,000.

Single?family authorizations in December were at a rate of 829,000; this is 2.2  percent (±0.7 percent) below the revised November figure of 848,000.

Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or  more were at a rate of 460,000 in December.  An estimated 1,310,700 housing units were authorized by building permits in 2018. This is 2.2 percent (±0.6%) above the 2017  figure of 1,282,000.

Housing Starts 

Privately?owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,078,000.  This is 11.2 percent (±14.0  percent)* below the revised November estimate of 1,214,000 and is 10.9 percent (±16.1 percent)* below the December 2017  rate of 1,210,000.  Single?family housing starts in December were at a rate of 758,000; this is 6.7 percent (±15.3 percent)* below  the revised November figure of 812,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 302,000.   An estimated 1,246,600 housing units were started in 2018. This is 3.6 percent (±2.1%) above the 2017 figure of 1,203,000.

(We;re a little uncomfortable that the next data release is TBD..I mean it’s monthly data…pah-leez!)

Despite the odds of the market taking it on the chin early, there’s something of a custom that there’s a rally when the Fed boss goes up to the Hill for a confessional.  Jerome Powell will no doubt be gingerly talking about L4L – lower for longer rates and how L4L is really the right thing for the Fed.  (As we spelled for subscribers to our Peoplenomics reports in: “Bernanke et al on L4L

We have already been expecting a top reinforced a bit by  this report from Reuters that “Goldman expects legal losses to be up to $1.9 billion more than reserve.”  Bit more than the cookie jar, eh?  And with useful reporting like that, we’re not surprised to read how “Thomson Reuters reports higher revenues, sees growth this year,” either.

If these kinds of stories about the almost-inevitable slowing of the manic (runaway overdone rally) are driving you to drink?  We’ve got just the ticket for you: ” Virginia brewing company to release Lucky Charms-inspired beer.

Waiting for WW III

A couple of items of note:  With the US out of any Iran nuclear deal, is there a chance that president Trump’s action could give hard-liners in Iran a way back into power?  Try the AP Explains: Iran’s FM quits as atomic deal unravels for insights.

Meantime, seems Kid Korea can’t “kick the nic” as “Kim Jong Un Stopped His Train for a Smoke Break in China.”  We would have stopped in Washington state or Colorado, but IO suppose trains to Hanoi don’t route that way, except in AOC’s world.

Still After Trump

Already, the press is hounding DJT on the “slapdash nature” of his second meeting with Kid K.  As always, we will wait for some data before jumping on the Trump-bashing wagon, thanks.  The AP‘s coverage here is a bit more measured. (ahem…)

The WSJ is rolling with “Cohen to Testify That Trump Engaged in Criminal Conduct While in Office.”  Frankly, we’re a bit sketched-out on where attorney-client figures into all this.  Especially if Cohen was fielding “what if” client questions.  Also, we notice how the racism card is being turned over on Trump now.  Been waiting for that card to come up.

But the full-frontal is on with the NY Times blaring “Planned in Michael Cohen’s Testimony: A Litany of Accusations Against Trump.”

Speaking of trains,, which we were a second ago): Amtrak train with 183 passengers stranded in Oregon for more than 24 hours: report.  All that could make it better would be 100-F temps, but this is bad enough.

News Control

Oh, look, a certain Hispanic network fellow (Jorge Ramos, Univision), thought by some in DC as irritant seems also an irritant in Venezuela: U.S. Broadcast Journalists to Be Deported From Venezuela After Upsetting President Nicolas Maduro.  Tough questions are a good thing…just not welcome.

Digital Desperation Department

Totally useless in our view, but here’s another leap at online fame & glory: Kim Kardashian’s viral cut-out dress parodied by mommy blogger, gets huge response.

More pertinent on the digital battlefront (since I’ve been up working on a consulting project in cyber security since 3 AM…) interesting to see that Equifax expecting punishment from CFPB and FTC over massive data breach.”

Also on the cyber front, despite reports from Newsweek to the contrary “Intuit Denies Data Breach At TurboTax.

OK, back in a few when the Case-Shiller data pops…