1. Does Dorian Jump?

That is the big questions everyone in Florida is asking.  Here’s the latest projection for our cone-heads:

Elaine and I have cancelled plans to go wind surfing Lake Okachobee this weekend.  Gotta slow down when you get older,.. you know…we’ll leave those kind of things to the “Likes-deficient” on FB.

As you can see, there’s better than doped-horse odds that some remnants will make it into the Gulf of Mexico.  What’s not clear are the two follow-ons:  Will the storm reconstitute itself, thus becoming a “double ‘cane” or will it remain in tropical storm country?  Once that’s answered, the follow-up question is “Where will it come ashore.”

Skip the mind-numbing reportage on this and skip over to the Dorian alerts at https://nhc.noaa.gov and save putting up with a ba-zillion commercials between pictures of falling palm fronds…

Hurrican Trivia

Since it’s cloudy in most of Florida, or will be shortly, here’s a Wiki-snippy explaining “Dorian Gray” for our aspiring to be bright readers:

Dorian Gray syndrome (DGS) denotes a cultural and societal phenomenon characterized by a man’s extreme pride in his personal appearance and the fitness of his physique, which is accompanied by difficulties in coping with the requirements of psychological maturation and with the aging of his body.

The DGS is characterized by a triad of symptoms that overlap, and so combine diagnostic signs of dysmorphophobia, narcissistic character traits, and the immaturity of arrested development, which often are found in paraphilias.[1]

To preserve ephemeral youth, the man afflicted with DGS tends to consume cosmetic products and services, hair-restoration procedures, anti-impotence drugs, and cosmetic surgery; hence, he might resist the psychosomatic and psychodynamic explanations of the syndrome.[2] The term “Dorian Gray syndrome” refers to the protagonist of the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), an exceptionally handsome man whose hedonism and excessive self-love proved detrimental to the personal, social, and emotional aspects of his life, and who sought to escape the ravages of time and his own decadent lifestyle by having a supernatural portrait of himself age in his place.”

OK, so now that we know this, and since it’s about to get “Dorian Gray” in Florida, is there, you know, some kind of message in the NOAA naming conventions we’re missing?  Like all those future predictions that were packages in 15-times Simpsons episodes naioled future?  (Pre-roll to 1:21 to skip the lead-in crap…)

Next name up is Erin – should Ireland worry?  That’d be too freaky…where were we?

2. What’s the Personal Income Data?

That press release was just popped out of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Today, let’s just roll with the picture and I’ll tell you how the decoder ring works:

Income is Blue, Spending is Red.

When the red one’s higher, consumer is dead.

They just can’t figure it out without help.  (I should have written Burma-Shave signs.)

3. Is the Stock Market in “Blow-Off Mode like ’29?”

Here’s our chart using an Aggregate of Multiple US markets in order to reflect the breadth of the economy “back then” and compare it with “tech-heavy” times now:

And, to keep the game of musical collapse going a bit longer, the latest Federal Reserve M1 money creation data puts the print rate at an even 10% annualized (see Money Stocks, H.6, Table 2 summary, 13 weeks ended August 19th here).

Why is the market going up?

Well, if the GDP is really going up (cough, ahem…) 4.6% (*claims this govt page) and CPI is going up ” Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.”  Then a genius in the East Texas Outback can estimate the correct rate of money supply growth ought to be what?  (4.6 +1.8 =) 6.4%.

Of course the money supply growth (even at M2) is Year-On-Year increasing at an 8.3% rate (latest 90-day window) which leaves almost 2% to drive up the stock market and the price of gold and….well, you know this.

BTW, see which BTCs were down to $9,600’ish?  Are people figuring out they have no intrinsic value other than not being copyable?  I have used toilet paper with the same virtue…

4. What’s the latest on the Trade War?

Well, supposedly talks will resume this coming Thursday at a ‘different level’ – but we don’t know whether that’s a higher or lower level.

But, our skepticism yesterday on the CNBC hyped-story about “calm talks” rhetoric may not have been misplaced.  Especially if you take the time to read a report in The Week (magazine) under the headline “Trump made up those ‘high-level’ Chinese trade-talk calls to boost markets, aides admit...”

So if Trump manipulates the market up, and I’m in a short position, is he liable for my losses if he’s not telling the whole truth and nothing but?  Hypothetical but an interesting, question…

And Trump’s HR problems are about to get goosed into headlines by the clown posse of socialists vying to take down America from the top as “Trump’s Personal Assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, Steps Down.”  If you hurry, there’s maybe a half-hour left before his staff becomes a major issue.

Along with the economic decline to come...When Warren Buffett holds mega-bucks ($122-billion quals as mega)  in cash, we tend to pay attention.  Spare a brother a new house?

Just to help in scaling that in your cerebral cortex projection room, that’s more than half of the annual GDP of New Zealand ($205B last year).  Four bedroom rambler with a pool in a low property tax setting would be fine…

5. Is Trump Trade Screwing Farmers?

One of the answers to this will be issued this afternoon (2 PM Central) when new farm price data comes out.  But, it’s been a tough year to be a farmer.

As you may know, it has been a bear of a year weather-wise.  No tying that tin-can on Trump, either.  As Bob Streit writes over at Farm-News, what will matter for millions of acres is how September rolls out.  If Ma Nature pushes in adequate moisture, might not be too bad (if temps remain up), but low temps and a lack of rain this coming month and all bets are off.

6. Is Trade Through American Ports Collapsing?

Reader Andy busted my chops earlier this week for not talking enough about hard port data.  He was concerned with a -9.8% move in exports out of Long Beach.

This is, as I explained in an email to him, you can’t look at one month, nor can you look at just one west coast port.  Like in the airline business, you have to think in terms of city-airs.  Los Angeles – Long Beach, San Francisco-Oakland, and Seattle-Tacoma.  Here’s how they’re stacking up:

  • Los Angeles Y0Y (year-on-year…you sure you should be reading this grown up stuff?)  is showing exports up 8.73% while exports are -3.96%.
  • Long Beach imports are down 4.8% and their exports are down 9.8% YoY.
  • Port of Oakland has gone a bit silly on “phone-face” oriented stats – unless you want to spend hours with a 2018 spreadsheet and manually entering data, YoY data is MIA but have at it yourself over here.
  • Seattle-Tacoma is calling itself the “Northwest Seaport Alliance” (for God-knows-what reason) at least has readable stats:  YoY change on loaded exports is down 3.7% while loaded inbound is up 2.4%

Remember when you are reading these things that…

Rather than get too excited about “trade war” impacts, we have to look at this stuff with a jaundiced eye:  Electronics keep getting smaller (and higher priced) and a lot of old, heavy things *(5,200 rpm 2-TB hard drives) are being replaced with light (1TB SSDs).  Might not seem like a big deal, but it is in statistics.  Needless to say, UHD sales are holding, but with Retina and better screens, people are streaming everywhere so the bloom may be off that “heavy iron” for the living room.  Hand the kids a phone and tell ’em to get lost.

Oh, one other thing (or three):  We don’t know what impact the Max grounding has on exports, but doesn’t Boeing sell parts?  Also, remember that clever (Asian) traders can possibly work-around tariffs:  Ship into a Canadian or Mexican port, then reship into the US.  As a result, we don’t lose too much sleep over trade.

If you insist, though, the internal cargo is holding up as you can read in the Association of American Railroads summary cargo stats with the latest snapshot being the August 24th report:

“For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 532,483 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.9 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending August 24 were 261,031 carloads, down 5.3 percent compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 271,452 containers and trailers, down 6.5 percent compared to 2018.

Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018. They included miscellaneous carloads, up 961 carloads, to 10,973; petroleum and petroleum products, up 888 carloads, to 12,212; and motor vehicles and parts, up 609 carloads, to 17,422. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included coal, down 10,166 carloads, to 81,319; metallic ores and metals, down 4,003 carloads, to 21,435; and forest products, down 1,093 carloads, to 9,743.

Again, notice where the decline is:  Commodity groups…and that may speak more to the Chinese economy slowing its growth rate and maybe the farm picture ripple-through.  We shall see as the fall wears on…

7. How Much is Gas Costing?

Depends where you gas up.  Triple A (Fuel Gauge Report) calls it $2.58 a gallon nationally to regular.  GasBuddy.com says the cheapest gas in Texas today is a buck-89 in McAllen – which is 482-miles away from us – we’d have to fill up somewhere else along the way…so we’ll just pass…I can have gas at home….er…

8. Still Think There’s an Indo-Pak War Ahead?

Get thee over to the Gulf News website and watch the “Video: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan leads nationwide protests over Kashmir” and figure it out for yourself.

Not a big enough hint?  Try Nature.com rolling with “India–Pakistan nuclear escalation: where could it lead? India says its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy could change. Nature examines what that means for the country’s fraught relationship with Pakistan.

Spoiler alert:  Flash goggles.

9. What’s Labor Day About?

If you’re bright enough to read UrbanSurvival, you probably could wiki it yourself:

” It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday.”

On the other hand, what you may not have time for is to root out the Labor Department stats on union membership (from January of this year) which is where you can read how unions are really faring…

Help on the interp?  Sure…

From 2017 through 2018, total union representation was down 2-10ths of one percent.  Down 2-10ths under 24 and 3-10ths over.  Interestingly, seniors (over 65) union membership rose.

Thing that has something to do with employers screwing older workers out of things like, oh, benefits and such?  We tend to think along those lines…  More for the folks in the loge seats tomorrow (Peoplenomics.com).

On that note, have a spendiforous shopping spree and thank the Retail Clerks for working this weekend.

10, What’s for Breakfast?

Off to corral some calories and work on PN for tomorrow…With Dow Futures +146, the real question is who’s got the balls to stay long over a holiday weekend? US markets are closed Monday…then next on Nov. 28 for the turkey…  Corned beef hash and three eggs over easy sound OK?

Send a link to this page to everyone you know to help get ’em in the mood to labor again next week…

Write when you get rich,

george@ure.net

American Values: The Real Meaning of Labor Day
Comey Skates: Teflon Jim?