Lots of Numbers to Process

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…

19 thoughts on “Lots of Numbers to Process”

  1. Another PT blunder: “HOW TO GO INTO THE NK TALKS IN A POSITION OF WEAKNESS” taught by PT. PT was on TV the other day playing down his strike threat stance with NK saying, ” We need to let them denuclearize at their own pace so they feel comfortable & not pressured”. Sounds like PT is trying to sell NK an overpriced Trump Condo. PT is getting weaker by the moment. Sad.

    Conclusion: The NK talks will go no where unless PT lifts the sanctions against NK. That is what they want. Otherwise it will be business as usual with NK. Basically giving PT the middle finger when they return home.

    • Why would NK be willing to give up their nukes? I imagine they are quite familiar with what happened to the leaders of Iraq and Libya (for recent examples), and the destruction and general take-over of their countries.

      • That is exactly what I was thinking Lois…
        If I was Kim… I sure wouldn’t give them up.. especially knowing that the puppeteers want my raw resources as badly as they do.Its the only card I have in the hand that gives him and his country any leverage. I personally would agree to halt testing and the threats but I would keep what I have for security sake..
        the puppeteers are pretty open about the fact that they don’t care who they maim, murder,whose homes and businesses they destroy or kill to get what they want they are pure evil.
        the only other thing he could do is go up to someone that leads a country and say your in charge protect us.. ( oh hey isn’t that what assad did) the sad part about that is they to are being manipulated by the same puppeteers who play both sides of the coin.and we all have seen the horrors of what can happen with that happening. Just take a peek at what happened when the Ukraine people asked Putin for help..
        overall he’s better off keeping what he has. any other move he would have him and his country suffering from some war of some kind, and if he is a leader that doesn’t want to see the people he leads suffer any any more than they already have.. then keep em..
        On the other hand If Trump is as smart as I think he is and can see the puzzle and how they play the games they do..If he knows and see’s this. then his best offer would be to open the borders for deliveries of food and medical supplies. keep what they already have but open the borders as long as they dismantle their nuclear testing program and stop the open threatening gestures. their breeder reactors etc… allow them to buy food and medical supplies openly.. Its hard to get people that have been starving and sick that is now well fed to hate the people feeding them and taking care of their illnesses..

  2. G – the question on the minds of savy market participants is – How Low Can U Go?
    Also the name of game played by my high school Business teacher at Marking Period – everybody had to negotiate their Grade “in public” during class.

    Friday’s Doji candle marked a beautiful Reversal in the S&P 500.

    Might be the best Short trade of the year, so far. Typically would look for 3-4 day pullback, before move sideways to higher.

    I’m is not so sure, “energetic pressures” have really been building up during nighttimes past month or so and getting ready for a release.

    Why did we turn from Rising Rates and Quantitative Tightening to talking about Zero bound rates and Halting Q.T. in one weeks time(lightening fast) – turned on dime – and Everything is Peachy? FMTT!

    Sell The F-ing Rally, Hard! The Bandicoot plans on beating the FOSIZZLE out this market today..how low can U go?

  3. Socialism marches on. The “Born Live Bill” blocked in the Senate. Designed to protect infants born alive after a botched aboration. The Dems blocked it because they prefer to let the infant die or kill the infant. Sad, when our gov’t doesn’t want to protect the most vulnerable in our society. This is what Bernie & the like minded will give you more of. Seniors are safe because he is older than dirt.

    • Born live bill….

      The new campaign season is almost upon us. Like it or not some ones going to wrap a rope around the dead horse issues and drag them all the way to the elections then table them then.I am willing to bet when you get to my age the same old crap will be dragged around.
      It a passionate subject, one that gets the people upset and motivates them to vote for them, yup the only sorry sob in congress that is saying..vote for me.. I’ll do something as quick as I can.
      Abortion and all the dead horse issues have been brought up every election since I was learning how to ride a bicycle..they put a slightly different spin on them, so you and everyone else will look at this same old dead horse from a different direction or angle..unfortunately its still that same old dead horse, no one in congress is going to deal with it and it will be tabled as soon as they’re elected.
      Another dead horse issue.. Border security..
      Just watch.. I don’t even mention it in our house.. My wife would be on top of me saying..are you going to drag that damned dead horse around again.. Bury it..its a dead horse.. And your not Jesus and neither is congress

  4. Hey George:

    Conservative logic: If you deny health care, school lunches or childcare, it will double the workers’ motivation.

    So, therefore: If you double taxes on the ‘job creators,’ won’t it likewise double their motivation?

    Best, Mike

  5. Dear Mr. Ure,

    One of our favorite blown-up photographs so far in the 21st century was of Kid Korea, lit cigarette in hand, standing beside a rocket in the bunker being fueled for test firing.

    Subtle changes are all about us this past week. I had the Oscars broadcast on mute. Spike Lee has brought the purple reign mainstream? (Break dancing is in the running as a sport at the Paris 2024 Olympics?) A director speaking on stage in english rhetorically asking if his words were being sub-titled.

    Ah, fond memories of Mr. Mugabe’s visit with the Queen as her band struck up “If I Ruled the World”….

  6. A couple of things…Housing has rebounded a bit here in the Bay Area, but at a more controlled pace. We are not experiencing the crazy overbidding we had in the past three years. Offers are still coming in over the list, but barely. The good news is…there are still multiple offers coming in…buyers are just being a bit more reasonable.

    Buyers…especially first time buyers wanting that starter home, are reacting to two adjustable rate bank products 10/1 and a 7/1 ARM that are hovering around 3.65% interest rates. It’s a smart product given that 30 year fixed rates are at 4.4%. If, as a homeowner, you don’t feel you will be in that home for more than 7-10 years…the 10/1 ARM (fixed for 10 years…adjusts every year after that..) is a good, sound choice. Saves money in the short term. On a million dollar home, a 10/1 it saves nearly $400 a month vs a 30 year fixed rate. Over that 10 year period…that’s a $48,000 savings that could Be applied to down payment on an upgraded house. Combined with our average equity gains out here of 5% a year, in 10 years, the combined savings and paid off and value gain equity will make for a nice down payment on a bigger home in 10 years.

    The reason for the rebound is that the tech world is still hiring, growing and building. Facebook and it’s Oculus division is building over a million sq ft of office space on the Bay near Burlingame. Google is planning it’s 4 million sq ft expansion in San Jose. Uber, Lyft, about a dozen bio-techs are also planning several million sq ft of office space as well. Those buildings need to be filled…and those employees need a place to live.

    Second, if ECS can see the light about Trump, how many others are starting to feel the burning of dismay? The fake news has never been the MSM…it has been Trump himself and his echo chamber called Fox News. How can it be CNN? They just replay his own words. Fox deciphers them in a “what he really meant segment” every day. Can any of you men imagine what your home life would be like if you communicated that way to your wife? How many times could you get away with the phrase…”What I really meant to say was…” before you found your clothes on the front lawn?

    • The problem with CNN & friends is that they target PT & give the Dems a free ride. The Donald is his own worst enemy, but the Dems are looking to take away our freedoms, are liars, are immoral but get a free ride.

      • Dems are not going to take away our freedoms. That’s a Fox talking point. There are a few nut cases that say stupid stuff, just like there are extreme right politicians that do the same. America, for the most part likes middle of the road RESULTS. The crazy talk from the fringes is for the media and just a way for the networks to gain more viewers and charge more for advertising.

        The biggest lie out of the months of the far right is that Dems are going to take away our guns. That is totally false. Nancy herself said that was a lie. Do they want better background checks? Yes. If someone gets a DUI, they get their driving privileges suspended. Why wouldn’t you want the same rules for gun owners that commit crimes or are mentally unstable? Both the drunken drivers and the criminals are a hazard and are capable of killing people. There has to be consequences for such actions.

        As it reacts to the New Green Deal AOC is a whacko, but most Dems do like green initiatives for the right reasons and I fault them for not positioning them as green jobs creators. Green jobs create 10X more jobs than the oil industry. Tesla is made 100% in the US…Most other electrics will be too. Solar, windmills, batteries and battery storage are all American made. Forget about Climate Change…Think Global pollution…

        According to the London School of Economics, 44.3% of US workers already have the transferable skills needed to contribute to the green economy. With limited retraining they could take up indirectly green work. For instance, retail workers could transition to work in retail for green products (for example solar panels, or sustainably produced goods) and coal workers could transition to jobs in the solar photovoltaic industry due to overlapping skills. Green New Deal really needs to be re-positioned as Green New JOBS! That, even Trump supporters can get their head around.

    • Having been around for 7 decades, I can recall a few housing booms and busts, and the number of people who lost their homes when their ARMs exceeded 19-20%. Yes, I can even remember when a fixed rate mortgage at 8.5% was a very good deal.

      It seems people either have very short memories, or do not even read history. What is happening in Venezuela right now is a perfect example of short memories, because it is the same old CIA playbook all over again.

      Doing a little research into the “privately owned” Federal Reserve and the global central banking system also provides insight into just who controls those booms and busts, as well as our wars. Trump and the right/left wing political circus are merely distractions.

    • Mark…..

      It is With a Sad Heart..That I have to concur with your assessment….The futility of the whole situation has got to be frustrating as hell for DJT…
      He puts out a rally call and everyone turns away.. sort of like Don Quixote …But at least he is trying.Not to even mention the continuous onslaught of attacks on him and his wife and family.

      “Can any of you men imagine what your home life would be like if you communicated that way to your wife?”

      LOL LOL LOL.unfortunately I have done that.. thank god I have the wife I have she has the patience of a saint.. it is also why people that ask my opinion on some subject usually ask me to ponder it a while then come back with an idea.. my first thought is going to be the most obvious abstract part of what you just asked and have everyone going huh LOL LOL LOL Its also one reason I absolutely love DJT… when he tweets.. your not getting some scripted response or campaign speech..instead you get his first thought out on a subject..when I do that it gets me in hot water all the time with my wife.. she is my grounding rod though and keeps me on an even keel.When company comes over she has a look she gives me that tells me .. don’t do it..

      unfortunately I think DT is like Don Quixote.. he sees a problem and he wants desperately to fix it but is forced to go charging at windmills instead.
      He won’t fix it at this point.. I seriously don’t think anyone can… The system is to badly broken.. the people can’t fix it.Those in charge of our politicians have basically come back with the we don’t care what you want. Our politicians are to controlled and the people are forced to seek the means for them to be controlled.. it doesn’t matter that they want everything changed either..
      we all are on the same roller coaster headed for the big dip and swirl and notice a broken section of track in the middle of the loop to loop and no one will fix it, and anyone that could will be yelling and ranting that they can’t fix it.. they don’t need to fix it..

      this cartoon reminds me of our president and congress..



  7. Why is the FTC, CFPB and other regulators not all over PayPal, Stripe, Chase, and other financial institutions for discriminating against business customers that they don’t agree with? The general rule in business is that everyone is accommodated and that the purpose of business is profit. This is essential in financial institutions that are necessary to conduct business at all.

    If a business is legal, I’d see the financial institutions being required to do business with it. Financial institutions are in a monopoly position and clearing payments is essential to business survival. This is not the old days when you just sent an envelope full of cash.

    Facebook and Google are doing the same thing to a less damaging extent.

  8. George:
    Did you notice the first Paragraph of the “Slapdash” report had two main complaints:
    1 The Pres Corpse was bounced from their hotel reservations.
    2 The details of the meeting were not being leaked and were still closely held.
    This all according to Bloomer-berg.

    When I read that I thought that the Donald’s plans looked like they were working perfectly to me.

  9. Not sure why I’m reading political trash talk on Ure website but it’s getting pretty distracting. Not cool.

  10. RE: “Waiting for WW III,” Iran has been effectively neutralized by deft Mossad intelligence operations augmented by aid from anyone who can help the Jewish nation prevent the armament and action of Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah against Israel’s citizens and infrastructure.

    No, not Iran – look instead to the East. And there, look not to N. Korea. Not even China. Ever since 15 August, 1947, when India achieve independence from Great Britain, India and Pakistan have been rattling sabers at each other in consummate hatred.

    India detonated its first nuke in 1974. Not to take a back seat to its ideological, geographical and religious adversary, Pakistan eventually went fissile in 1998. Both now have an estimated 120-150 warheads. India has a ‘leg up’ on the triad, with a sub launched capability to go along with land and air/missile. Pakistan only has the latter two

    A nuke warfare scenario between India and Pakistan has been wargamed more than once. It ends badly in all versions, not just for the two nations, but regionally as far as S. Europe and N.E. Africa due to trade winds aloft carrying deadly radioactive fallout far and wide.

    It strikes me that the Mahabharata texts are said by some to describe an ancient war in India involving weapons which create something very similar to nuclear detonations. Could that text not be historical, but prophetic instead? Keep watching this region. It is where I believe the nuclear genie is most likely to once again be let out of its bottle.

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