It’s a morning where not a ton of creative is required on my part.  It’s just a pile of economic news releases and some of these are bound to matter.  We can go through it bay agency.

Bureau of Economic Analysis has a new GDP annd Corporate Profits report out.  Here are the sing-along lyrics:

“Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 (table 1), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month.  In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP in the first quarter was 3.2 percent. Today’s estimate reflects downward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment and private inventory investment and upward revisions to exports and personal consumption expenditures (PCE). Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised up; the general picture of economic growth remains the same

This is better than I was expecting.  Kept thinking the Boeing/MAX problem would impact…

“Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 1.4 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 0.5 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 2.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased (table 2).

The acceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected an upturn in state and local government spending, accelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, and a smaller decrease in residential investment. These movements were partly offset by decelerations in PCE and nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in federal government spending. Imports turned down.

Current–dollar GDP increased 3.6 percent, or $183.7 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $21.05 trillion. In the fourth quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.1 percent, or $206.9 billion (table 1 and table 3).”

The Census Bureau has a ton of data on Retail and on Import Prices.

Advance International Trade in Goods

The international trade deficit was $72.1 billion in April, up $0.2 billion from $71.9 billion in March. Exports of goods for April were $134.6 billion, $5.9 billion less than March exports. Imports of goods for April were $206.7 billion, $5.6 billion less than March imports.

Advance Wholesale Inventories

Wholesale inventories for April, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $674.5 billion, up 0.7 percent (±0.2 percent) from March 2019, and were up 7.4 percent (±1.2 percent) from April 2018. The February 2019 to March 2019 percentage change was revised from the preliminary estimate of down 0.1 percent (±0.4 percent)* to virtually unchanged (±0.4 percent)*.

Advance Retail Inventories

Retail inventories for April, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $660.9 billion, up 0.5 percent (±0.2 percent) from March 2019, and were up 4.5 percent (±0.5 percent) from April 2018. The February 2019 to March 2019 percentage change was unrevised from the preliminary estimate of down 0.3 percent (±0.2 percent).

After the data, the Dow futures were up about 50, the S&P futures up almost 10.

Speaking of which, a Short Reality Check Rant, OK? (SRCR)

I have gotten a bit sick of the liberal (left-hand) “news” outfits that don’t understand economics and who persist in throwing rocks at stock buy-backs.  The fact of the matter is that as an investor (and this includes people with 401K’s or other retirement ideas), remember that if a company is doing a stock buy-back, it drives up share prices – because there are fewer shares representing the same underlying asset (the Company).

Now, here’s the Big Lie shouted by the Crazy Lefties:  Maybe they don’t have a side-hustle or casino gambling-substitute, or a retirement plan other than more confiscatory giveaways, but for those of us who do (gamble) and (invest) and (salt some equities away for retirement) OK, and (day-trade a bit) stock buy-backs drive up share prices.

If the Lefties are too freakin’ dumb  that they can’t smell opportunity, and didn’t scoop up armloads of stocks when the buy-backs came along (not buying a piece of the action), you shouldn’t listen to them on anything else.  Been meaning to get this off my chest for almost a year now.

Even with the draw-down in markets over the past couple of weeks, our Aggregate Index of the major US markets is up 10.6^ since the first of January this year.

What’s more?  While our Aggregate was down for calendar 2018, it was up on a 2-year basis (Dec. 2016 to Dec. 2018) about 17 percent.  Sometimes you win, other times, not so much.

Given the chance to invest, making investments cautiously and long-term has historically had a higher payoff than supporting a leech-class of political demagogues..

So the next time someone screams about the evils of stock buybacks, remember to mention it is helping their retirement accounts in 401’s and whatever else.  If they keep bitching, take ’em aside and ask them if they really like “poor-mouthing” everything.  A nickel side-bet says they haven’t saved (shit) and are just looking for someone to blame.

In America, where even human stupidity is monetized, we have a whole political party, built around blame and financial, racial, and sexual victimhood, and which wants to steal accumulated wealth of everyone who’s smarter or works harder than them and redistribute it to their merry band of highwaymen.  Less their power-drive handling charge or “vig” along the way.

Efficient markets make for inefficient politics if the baseline population doesn’t understand it’s own power to vote with their wallets, save, and “to renounce the devil and all his works and all his double-talking politician with a hand in your pants…”

Instead of bitching about the “rich” a little more time spent on learning how to accumulate wealth seems to us far superior to wearing the victimhood crown of thorns.  The Pay is much better.

(God, I feel better now, having gotten that off my chest…lol.  People hate the rich because they don’t want to focus hard enough to become one.  Gotta get you to read “Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else.”

Spoiler alert:  Hard work.

On the Business of War

A note from Warhammer to dial into your thinking about what’s ahead for the world and the big fail in the fall…

. . . “everything is a business model!”  From post WWII until today, our U.S. of A. defense industrial arms dealers are amazingly persistent and successful with their relentless foreign military sales (FMS) tactics.

The problem with former Warsaw Pact modernization to NATO standards, where nations owning Russian equipment want to acquire US goods, is the specter of technical compatibility.  The Russians do things one way, the US does them another.  NATO may even do things differently from the US and Russia.  So logistics, maintenance and re-supply becomes a war planner’s nightmare.

War may be hell (nods to Audie Murphy), but war planning can be another, deeper and special level of hell.”

Meantime, Nostracodeus programmer-in-chief Grady has been chomping down his fingernails after catching Vlad Putin talking about intervention if the US gets wrapped into an Iran war… Yessir, another path to the “fields of glowing mushrooms” – if the Indo-Pak doesn’t “flash-over” first.  Makes that region sound like an EEPROM doesn’t it?

What that refers to (for those who have never built embedded consumer devices) is an electrically erasable programmable read-only memory or EEPROM for short.  UV resettable or EMP, your call…check the data sheets at DigiKey and Mouser…Oops!  Not in the the PDF’s yet?

Hmm..guess we’ll have to scrap our lecture on the theoretical basis of Fowler–Nordheim tunneling hot-carrier injection through a thin silicon dioxide layer between the floating-gate and the wafer for another morning, too, then…

Headlines for Thinking People

NY Times business section offering well-founded advise to be caution in the times ahead in their What the Bond Market Is Trying to Tell Us: (Worry) piece.

Elsewhere in the paper, this sound like what I’ve been pointing out on the Peoplenomics side of things: The Bond Market Is Giving Ominous Warnings About the Global Economy.  The Global economy has a picture-perfect five waves up since 2009 and a huge downer looms later this year in our work.

Adding to the China/rare earths trade war angle, there is now also  A U.S.-Europe Trade War Looms.

And, in the “Light up your Life” department: Exclusive: US retail marijuana sales on pace to rise 35% in 2019 and near $30 billion by 2023.  Russian counterpoint: Drinking Up in Russia, Survey Says.  So pick your poison and pick your politics?

One more?  John Cleese slams critics for ‘political correctness’ over controversial tweet.

Headlines for Sub-Geniuses

Instagram: ‘I don’t want people to be ashamed of their scars’. (I have severe scarring from 70-years of eczema on my ankles, legs, arms and hands, yet somehow I kept on grinding! I have scars but this kind of thing is absurd to me.)  Thing is, censoring scar pic’s lead to just another mee-mee deal…jeez we’re stupid people; seriously.

Also in the social warfare trenches Pelosi slams Facebook for not taking down doctored video of her.  Wait!  So when late-night TV rakes Trump with malicious edits, that’s OK, but when Pelosi gets an edit job…OOOHHH…Anyone remember free speech?

More social distractions?  OK then: Twitter users stunned to discover oddly similar, ‘amazing’ wrist freckles.  Same alien abductions, maybe?

More proof of IQ trouble? A Man Who Urinated in a Memphis Cereal Factory Has Been Sentenced to 10 Months in PrisonSpecial P for breakfast?

Time is asking “Is Our Obsession with Health Data Making Us Crazy?”  Naw, we were and remain so…

And our A #1 Stupidest headline of the day award goes to the BBC for “Young adults benefit from better pay.”

I mean, did they figure that shit out without help, or what?

Reader Survey Questions

Q1:  Since I am writing another book (and serializing it as I go on the subscriber side, I need to knock off a day on UrbanSurvival to free up the research time necessary.

Right now, I publish a Wednesday Urban piece and a Saturday one, as well.  One is going to disappear.  Question:  Which one should disappear, the Saturday Urban or the Wednesday Urban?

Question #2

More finance, less finance; more politics or less, more prepping, or less…tell me which way to shovel the balance.  We like to cover the waterfront being attention-deficit hyperactive cynical (ADHC) generalists..  Toss feed back via the comments section which I do read thoroughly….

Q3:  Whatever.  (No more swearing, be more boring, yada, yada..)  (Proofreading errors are a function of time, so don’t waste your time bitching about that).

Time to quit writing.  The effects of today’s shot of cynicism medication are wearing off.  Time to pour another shot…(Maxwell House, nothing stronger!)

Moron the morrow…