Playing to the Fed, Quantitative China

The market looks to open firmer this morning…and why not?  We still have more than a week to run until the Federal Reserve meeting, at which time most of the smart money seems to think that new Fed chair Janet Yellen will not rock the boat and will take a “go slow” attitude toward ending quantitative easing, which though losing its effectiveness has, nevertheless, allowed the Fed to keep the economy from catering.

The latest bit of financial candy is that China is boosting liquidity and that, in turn, should give markets a goose globally.

Between now and Fed day next week, we have a paucity of news and data to look forward to.  There aren’t any big releases set this morning.  A minor home lending number tomorrow and it will be Thursday before we get a small flurry of data. And even that won’t be much: Some home sales figures, a weekly unemployment number, and leading economic indicators.  Then Friday we can all go back to sleep again.

In foreign markets, Japan was up 1%, China about half that, and Europe is hinting at 1/3% gains which would pencil out to a Dow today up 54 points.  That’s not investment advice.

No, it’s more like a stark reminder that the last half of January seems to run on and on….almost forever, seems like.  It’s the time of the year for strong coffee or NoDoz while we look for signs in the tea leaves.

Tax Robotics:  Catching on?

I’ve been telling Peoplenomics readers (and Urban, too_) that one of the biggest problems coming down the road is robotics and the mass replacement/end of human jobs.  Main thing is I figure we need to start taxing robotics…yesterday!

Now, as if to exonerate me from looking like the Lone Nutter, here comes an article in the prestigious The Economist that says what?

Coming to an office near you:  The effect of today’s technology on tomorrow’s jobs will be immense – and no country is ready for it…”

You need to read the whole thing…and then make life/job plans accordingly.

Fracking Fairytales

[Since this morning is not particularly manic, and with great respect for Jay Ward, we play off the “fractured fairytales” series (here’s a list of ‘em on YouTube) as we eye a few developments which will impact the gas business.]

Later this morning in Austin, the state Railroad Commission (which somehow regulates the oil and gas drilling in Texas – go figure) will get an earful from the good citizens of Azle, Texas, who are sick and tired of the earthquakes going on in their area ( NW of Dallas).

As the link between fracking and water-injection wells clarifies (and we can have that discussion of groundwater pollution later) people are seriously pissed about being shaken up in order to drive more natural gas out of the rocks underlying the area.

But that might not get very far.  One reason is the state benefits (hugely) from oil and gas operations.  The other is the current press to get as much energy out of the ground as possible.  And then we see stories (with the big winter storm about to swipe New England ) that a “propane shortage” adds to winter woes…

Do I expect anything to change?  Platitudes.  Oil and gas are money and I’ve learned never to bet against the house.

More after this…

Mars Mystery

So, what do you do if a planet you have been watching closely suddenly has a new rock appear on it?  Well, you could get confused, hold a press conference, and…well, that’s about all for now.

Countries in Turmoil: A Collection

Got’cher pick this morning.  There’s an emergency in effect in Thailand, for example. Charges of nepotism at the top are being met with (looking surprised, I hope?) the government granting itself sweeping powers to go hard-ass on anyone who disagrees with officialdom.

Then you’ve got Syria where a number of human rights groups are saying that up to 11,000 people may have been killed by the Assad government.  (More in the Coping section this morning because this is a whole dot-connecter’s wet dream in this part of the world.)

In Ukraine, protesters were out again last night, mixing it up with the cops there.  Ukraine wants closer ties to the EU while Moscow (much closer) is leaning on the government to remain right and keep up that FSU buffer state (bunker/siege) mentality left over from the Cold War.

I still haven’t had time to launch that new specialty news site “The Daily Bomber” but our would-be front page there would include:

4 dead in Beirut area bombing.

US congressional group heads to Russia to investigate Boston Marathon bombings.  (The Sochi games don’t open until Feb 7, so maybe they will be getting a prelim look at security there?)

No one is sure yet what caused a feed plant explosion in Omaha yesterday.  My bet would be on grain dust and static electricity.  …(See a demo of a flour mill explosion over here YouTube is worth review. Dry weather, static electricity plus dust is all it takes…dry air and sub zero dew point in Omaha…)

There was also an explosion at a steel plant in Madill, Oklahoma.

Fukushima Follow-Up

Interesting story about propagation of radiation off Fuku coming out of a fisheries conference in October of last year.  Just now starting to get traction away from transfictional media.

Not sure about the science behind it, but here’s a story that alleges that smoking ganj helps protect against radiation…  (Wishing and hoping, or real?  You may the call…)

China Car Sales

Cough…sputter…pollution in Beijing, which long ago left SoCal in the dust (or was that suspended particulates?) is not exactly the place to go buying causes lately.

Boy Toys

Scottsdale Classic Care Auctions totaled $249-million…much more than last year.  But where would you put a quarter-billion in toys?

On the other hand, probably the Toyota FT-1 was one of the best of last week’s Detroit auto show.  I’ll give you my shipping address, if you’re in a really generous mood…