Hot of the press release:

“NEW YORK, January 31, 2017 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for November 2016 shows that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. More than 27 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to www.homeprice.spdji.com. Additional content on the housing market can also be found on S&P Dow Jones Indices’ housing blog: www.housingviews.com. 
 
YEAR-OVER-YEAR  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.6% annual gain in November, up from 5.5% last month. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.5% annual increase, up from 4.3% the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.3%, up from 5.1% in October. 
 
Seattle, Portland, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last 10 months. In November, Seattle led the way with a 10.4% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 10.1%, and Denver with an 8.7% increase. Eight cities reported greater price increases in the year ending November 2016 versus the year ending October 2016.  
 
MONTH-OVER-MONTH Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.2% in November. Both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite posted 0.2% increases in November. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.8% month-over-month increase, while both the 10-City and 20-City Composites each reported 0.9% month-over-month increases. Ten of 20 cities reported increases in November before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, all 20 cities saw prices rise.
 
ANALYSIS “With the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rising at about 5.5% annual rate over the last two-and-a-half years and having reached a new all-time high recently, one can argue that housing has recovered from the boom-bust cycle that began a dozen years ago,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The recovery has been supported by a few economic factors: low interest rates, falling unemployment, and consistent gains in per-capita disposable personal income. Thirty-year fixed rate mortgages dropped under 4.5% in 2011 and have only recently shown hints of rising above that level. The unemployment rate at 4.7% is close to the Fed’s full employment target. Inflation adjusted per capita personal disposable income has risen at about a 2.5% annual rate for 30 months. 

And to put a picture to it:

image
 

Futures still down 35’ish, so some follow-through selling likely at the open.

Trumpsteria: Bye Sally, Monetizing Trump

It’s getting to be almost laughable: Our schools in America must suck, though, since no one seems to understand how power works (and is shared) here.

Take the firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates. She earned her “You’re fired!” this week for failing to comprehend that 1) since she worked for the Executive Branch 2) She doesn’t get to go against the Boss so 3) She gets fired.

I have to give high marks to the National Review for reminding those able to read, that “Staying on while undermining government policy is not an act of courage. It is an act of sabotage.”

For more focused insight, we turn to Dilbert. Or, more precisely, Dilbert’s creator Scott Adams who – when not inking the truth of the cubicles – has some of the keenest political insight out there. Better than anything in the MainStream Media and better than 99% of what’s in MeshMedia.

I would seriously suggest you read his column “The Persuasion Filter and Immigration” over here.

For those not following Scott’s razor wit, there seem to be two schools of thought about how Trump operates. Adams calls one view the “Lucky Hitler Filter” which is where the anti-Trump people come from. On the other side, theirs is the “Master Persuader Filter” which by Scott Adam’s reckoning (and I happen to agree) is a much better way to think about Trump.

If you’d taken the time to read The Art of the Deal, you’d understand that Trump usually makes outlandish, impossible, incomprehensible first moves and then, as things blow-up, he moves back to the middle of the negotiation-space and achieves the best possible deal.

Gotta say, Dilbert’s dad seems to know far more about the American body-politic than four MainStream networks that come to mind.

Still, there are enough of the “Lucky Hitler” believers, stoked and trolled by snide remarks from the spawn of Hillary, that they have become an easy mark for political money-raisers who are sending email after email out to millions of people.

As an example, the announcement of Trump’s Supreme Court pick this morning, has been turned into yet another shaking of the “money tree of the gullible” (a nicer term than “political f**ks”). You can see Scott Adam’s “Lucky Hitler Filter” in action as you read:

“Americans need to be able to trust that Supreme Court Justices will protect the most fundamental American freedoms. Trump, however, would like a justice who’s a rubber stamp for the kind of anti-constitutional actions that have dominated his administration’s first week in office.

We need $100,000 for our emergency Supreme Court campaign before Trump’s announcement — to be ready to fight his nominee from the very first minute.”

I suppose if they want to monetize Trump as a fund-raising strategy, that’s no worse than setting up a “family foundation” and shaking down foreign governments.

But could we at least be a little more forthright about where the money will go?

I read through the whole email and I couldn’t specificity as to what they needed a hundred-grand for. Except, of course, to send out more fund-raising emails?

There is trouble ahead for the political shakedown artists with word out of the White House today that Trump will enforce (*which means defend as we read over here) the LGBTQ workplace protections certainly should deflate a few of the “Lucky Hitler” believers.

Fortunately, it won’t, so we’ll hurriedly spend the rest of this morning pricing mailing lists so we, too, can gin up a “social justice cause” mass mailing and raise a bunch of money for beer.

Time is of the essence, though. Gotta shear the sheep before they begin to figure out Trump’s n not Hitler or the Anti-Christ.

Think $5 donations to “Stop Trump” would be too much of a shear of the ‘flakes?

Public Figures, Speaking Stupid Department

Hmmm… who to nominate for this morning’s award? Ah! Here we go! Headline in The Daily Beast:

James Cameron on the Trump Administration: ‘These People Are Insane’.”

Have you noticed lately the number of people who have some talent in one area (Madonna in music, for example or this fellow in film) who reveal their lack of depth when they venture into non-specialty areas where holding their tongues might be a better course of action?

America – for those blind to history – is a country that favors single issue public figures. Al Capone never transitioned to ballet, did he?

Works with products, too. I mean, you don’t choose a blender because it does a good job of rotating your tires, do you?

Of course not. Yet public figures get confused and think if they are good in one thing they surely must be great at ALL things.

I don’t think so. Cameron is an OK (better than) as filmster, but I didn’t vote for him for President. I doubt any sane person vote for Madonna for President, either. Yet when they speak…’mazing zhit, huh?

But there I go: Admitting I don’t have my “Lucky Hitler Filter” on. Apparently such filters can only be fitted on microphones and PanaFlex cameras.

Trump’s First Foreign Policy Problem

It’s been there ever since president Obama made the cash payoff to the mullahs in Tehran. But now that Iran has tested a ballistic missiles in violation of a UN Resolution, maybe some of the snowflakes will begin to understand something. (Beyond they’re being shaken-down by political opportunists …)

Whazzat?

Well, countries that are genuinely peaceful don’t run out and buy equipment to enrich uranium past fuel grade. They certainly don’t build ballistic missile with a range outside their own borders, do they?

So here we have (behold and look surprised!) Another terrible Obama/Clinton legacy for America to clean up. Leftovers from the last season of the “Professional Political Kick the Can Down the Road League.” (PPKCDRL)

Mad Dog…cue up the A-Teams in 3…2…..

[Damn! Are we having fun yet?]

Lurching Ahead

Off behind the headlines the FOMC is meeting and tomorrow afternoon we will have a rate decision.

Normally, I’d say something cynical like “Looks to me like the market sell-off is lobbying the Fed not to raise…” But you should be enough of a grown-up to see things this way without prompting.

Government Workers’ Rake It In!

Next out is the Employment Cost Index. Press release, please?

“Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.5 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.5 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.4 percent. (See chart 1 and tables A, 1, 2, and 3.)

Civilian Workers

 Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.2 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2016. In December 2015, compensation costs increased 2.0 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.3 percent for the current 12-month period, and increased 2.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2015. Benefit costs increased 2.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2016. In December 2015, the increase was 1.7 percent. (See chart 2 and tables A, 4, 8, and 12.)

State and Local Government Workers Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2016. In December 2015, the increase was 2.5 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2016, higher than the December 2015 increase of 1.8 percent. Benefit costs increased 3.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2016. The prior year’s increase was 3.5 percent. (See chart 5 and tables A, 7, 11, and 12.)

OK, ask yourself WHY is government making more of an income increase than CivWorkers?

And in a few minutes (around 8:15, or so Central) we’ll be back with the ever-popular and easy-to-dance-to Housing report from Case-Shiller, Standard and Poors, Dow Jones, CoreLogic and the guy wandering through delivering bagels.

Tomorrow is the ADP Employment (job creation) and Thursday we get the Challenger (jobs whacked) and then Friday we get the Employment Situation Report.

This one bears special attention because the January report each year contains the “Annual Confessional” that tells how (somewhat) how things really went.

Gold took a nice pop up – almost $10 bucks for a while in the pre-open, the Dow futures were pointing down 50’ish. Bitcoins, on the other hand were up $958 when I looked.

Sometimes, this last number (BTCs to USPaper) don’t make any sense. People tout BTCs as being robust, yet have haven’t seen one yet that would survive a massive long-term power outage or global EMP/Internet attack. I don’t mind BTCs, but when you think about it, they do depend on infrastructure and that, well, is vulnerable to say the least.

OK – Time to go fill out government job aps, so I too can get on the gravy train…

Cobots: The Mixed-Intelligence Future
Coping: The “Renaissance Core”