There are times I wake up, look over the headlines, and am convinced that the news media has invented a three (maybe four) ring circus judging the crap called “news.”
And that the markets basically went nowhere Thursday, is just icing on the cake.
I’ve always been suspicious of the fourth workday: Not quiet or optimistic like Friday, so a long lunch if off the table. No rejoicing in the halfway mark that accompanies “Hump Day” the day before. Monday is always a fiasco, and most weeks Tuesday is when any real work gets done.
You don’t see this very often in markets: Back-to-back identical Dow closing prices: 16,501.65 on the Dow Jones Industrials on both Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Is it a sign of something?
Maybe so. Maybe the market is just plum tuckered out.
It has happened before, like 1995.
That should change today because in the latest Money Supply figures out from the Fed last night, the annual rate of printing up money was 15.9% basis the most recent three months. Eventually, someone besides me will start screaming “Here comes hyperinflation!” Still, people are a little slow and we often run 6-months to 6-years early on things.
The Michigan Sentiment Indicator is due out this morning at 10 (Eastern), but since Americans take more mood-altering drugs than anywhere else on earth, as long as no one makes any loud noises between 10 and 10:30 this morning, the slumber should continue.
Still, we are a big perplexed to learn that a 700-page economics book has surged to the #1 spot on Amazon. Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century is $24 bucks (with paper) or $22 bucks without.
Speaking of books and Amazon and such, Howard Hill’s masterpiece (Mortgage Market Mayhem) is being updated and should be released this time. It is the finest bit of financial writing I’ve read in a long time and I’ll let you know when it’s ready.
700 pages on economics? #1? Perhaps there’s hope in the world after all.
But Elaine and I were having the discussion yesterday about “What’s the right length book?”
The topic came up because I just tried out a free Audibles.com book. Even though the book I chose was abridged to three hours and something (a geeky business book) it was still boring as watching paint dry. Elaine, who was out mudding the sheetrock in the sun room, came in and asked “How many times are they going to say the same thing? How ‘bout some tunz?”
Point taken. So I wondered off to www.summary.com where I’ll be trying their sample/freebie later today. (“The Power of Habit”).
Now that the Obama Administration is emerging this week about having lied about Net Neutrality (see the New Yorker piece “Goodbye Net Neutrality; Hello Net Discrimination” in today’s editions) figuring out your preference when it comes to information density will become evermore important. High density will be high cost. Hard to beat paper for some things.
Oh, and if you don’t like the internet being stolen, you can change your name to Ben Dover, try to out bid the cable industry (cable is toast, topic of our Peoplenomics report tomorrow) or ask your family doctor for meds…You know, the one you got to keep, right?
None of this is what’s driving the Dow to open down 50 this morning…we’ll deal with that next.
More after this…
Center Ring: Mobgov Under Pressure
[We begin with some theme-setting music, over here, to get you in the mood for this..]
Let me see: Since 1999 the US has pumped $5-billion in your tax money into Ukraine and in return for what? A rhetorical question at best, unless you are a gas pipeline owner in Europe.
So this morning, SecState John Kerry accuses Russia of “destabilization” (spelt Englishwise as “destabilisation” over here on the BBC site).
While this may be the case, we wryly note that Russia, not NATO/the EU, or the US has had a naval base in the Crimea for a couple of hundred years.
Against this backdrop, the New York Times is reporting this morning that “Ukraine says it will ‘blockade’ pro-Russian militants.”.
And if they do (remember where you heard it first), Russia will intervene to protect their homies. Except instead of the usual “Whassup, homie?” It’s more likely going to be “Here, take this AK homie, and stand behind our “humanitarian assistance…”
As I’ve told you previously, we instigated a coup, things didn’t work out right, now Russia is pissed, and the US has enough sense not to send troops to Ukraine since Putin’s objective is Poland’s industrial capability prior to the 5-year out standoff with China over Siberia land and resource at about the time Peak Oil will be in-your-face (*and walking more).
Investors are a fairly cowardly lot. Always thinking about returns and surety of the deal. With the weekend ahead full of Eastern European question marks, a drop today of a couple of hundred points toward the close can’t be ruled out.
Edgy Times, A New Industry Coming…
You may know my retired Major buddy – we’ve been friends since age 3 1/2 – is coming to visit next week and his son is in jet jockey school up at Sheppard AFB here in Texas.
Care to imagine the sense when I got a call yesterday afternoon asking if I had any sense of the scale of an “active shooter” report?
Turns out that Sheppard was having a drill on how to handle such things at it happened about the same time a contractor heard what turned out to be a jackhammer being used on construction. That got reported as possible gunfire and things cascaded from there.
Base was shut down, we were getting the odd text out, but what a story, huh? Our plans to fly up there next weekend are still on, it was a non-event, but it did make local media.
Now, here’s the weird thing: There was also a similar base lockdown in San Diego at the Naval Base caused by a sailor playing with an air soft gun… two in custody to think about where to play and where not to. Not sure we’ll follow up on the Captain’s Mast (if they’re lucky)…but you get the idea. Edgy times, nervous people.
As we transition from what one of our prescient dreaming friends calls “50-years of The Quiet Times” perhaps we will find a new industry being the first to start packaging and selling “lockdown kits.”
I’m thinking a Glock, spare clip, bottle of water, trauma kit, portable radio, and a ham sandwich. Toss in a dill pickle, for me , too. This has all the hallmarks of becoming a new national pastime. Might eventually employ as many people as TSA if we work at it…
The Great: Unwanted
The nation’s chief law enforcement officer (if he agrees with the law, otherwise it’s “vast discretion”) has canceled his plans to visit Oklahoma City after angry protests.
And first lady Michelle is shuffling speaking plans because some folks in the square states don’t think she’s in touch with their kids.
In the Third Ring of the Headline Circus
We see a group of senators accusing the president of threating the “entire Constitutional system by nullifying immigration laws.”
Wait, let me check…mostly republicans, huh?
And so it continues: The old saying “Divide and conquer” has been replaced by America’s unholy alliance of corporate greedsters and political hacks.
The way it really works is “Divide and fleece.” And sometimes, just for the shear joy of fleecing.
One of these days a real third political party will show up with a centrist, rational view. Tea’s trying but tea-time may be over.
Lest We Forget
No MH370 yet, more bodies expected from the S. Korean Ferry, and we still haven’t closed Gitmo. Thankfully, it’s Friday and no more search and body count stories until….tomorrow.