imageDenver and San Francisco were the hottest of the Hot in this morning’s S&P Housing report just out:

New York, April 28, 2015 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released for February 2015 show 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
Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites saw larger year-over-year increases in February compared to January. The 10-City Composite gained 4.8% year-over-year, up from 4.3% in January. The 20-City Composite gained 5.0% year-over-year, compared to a 4.5% increase in January. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.2% annual gain in February 2015, weaker than the 4.4% increase in January 2015.

Denver and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains, as prices increased by 10.0% and 9.8%, respectively, over the last 12 months. It was the first double digit increase for Denver since August 2013. Seventeen cities reported higher year-over-year price increases in the year ended February 2015 than in the year ended January 2015, with San Francisco showing the largest acceleration. Three cities — San Diego, Las Vegas and Portland, OR — reported that the pace of annual price increases slowed.

imageWe did find this chart revealing:  Housing prices have now clawed their way back to 2005 levels in the 20-City Composite view.

Earlier this morning, the market was set to fall more from yesterday’s decline.

While our Trading Model, over on the Peoplenomics™ side of things has been consistently bullish, we will know a lot more once the market gnaws through this morning’s housing data, tomorrow’s Fed waffle, and the other worries that seem to preoccupy people’s conversation.  Like the arrival of social chaos…which could be why even a solid housing report didn’t lift the futures to the plus column.

Baltimore Burning, The Historical Rhyme

While Baltimore schools are closed this morning due to the rioting, there’s a much larger question that is unanswered:  What’s driving it?

The rioting following the Freddie Gray funeral has resulted in the National Guard being called in and we have to wonder, what with Ferguson being just over the event horizon, how many more cities will be struck this year.

The problem is the lack of spontaneity to it all.  In fact, as a note from colleague Grady at www.nostracodeus.com points out..

UPDATE: Sunday I thought it odd that ‘looting’ had shown up in the indicator words. Then Monday afternoon/evening, in Baltimore, gangs are looting stores.

Sunday’s Indicator words: War, Quake, Battle, Earthquake, Aircraft Carrier, Assassination, Pollution, Looting

A search of the term “Baltimore gangs” brings interesting returns, such as this one.

We’ve been tracking an interesting meme on the Peoplenomics side; specifically that there are some possible parallels between the 1921 market break (rough an analog to the Housing Bubble implosion and subsequent recover) and where that rhyme would place us today.  (Late August of 1927, if you don’t subscribe).

With this in mind, we can peruse the events of 1927 over here, beginning with “Al Capone‘s Chicago Outfit earns a yearly income of $108 million.”  Corrected for inflation, you’re in Cartel-sized revenues.

Remember, during the 1920’s gangs had tremendous power and influence because they had money.  When prohibition finally ended (1920-1933) a good part of government action was driven by public disgust (and fear) over the activities of hoodlums.

Today’s gangs are different, smarter, and able to use social media tools and some news awareness to exert power over large areas.

I would offer that the recent reports of DEA officers partying with drug cartel supplied hookers and such is a symptom of a rhyme of history today.  The drug-funded gangs are showing their influence in many places, not just Baltimore.

Strategically, it’s a tough one:  First because there are legit abuses of police power and abuses of rights and wrongful deaths.

But the larger problem is that the influence of gangs is growing among the young and I’d lay a LOT of that at the feet of Hollywood which has fantasized drug-action-anti-establishment roles for profit.

The answer – and it worked with booze in the last Depression – is to acknowledge that people want their chemical outlets.  So let them have it, tax it, and control the situation.  Without it, the US is likely to continue on a path of downward spiral until the bankruptcy of current policies becomes clear, and it had with the repeal of the 18th amendment in 1933.

Organized crime (which is what gangs are)  fills a void which government should be bright enough to recognize – and when drug money mixes with politics, it’s a volatile situation that can close down whole cities.  That government policies don’t address the real problems of glorifying crime and other state-builders, is evidence of either negligence, or something worse.

Participation.

Government has become so wrapped up in “protecting its own” that it can’t fix what’s obvious.  In my book, that’s participation at a fundamental level while playing out a charade on the surface.

Race to the Bottom

Meantime, we notice that 1.4 million have now been designated “victims” of the earthquake last weekend in Nepal.

So here’s the question:  Is that problem about the same size as Baltimore, now?

Big City Water Question

Speaking of social behavioral economics, here’s an interesting note:  You know that fluoride in water makes people more docile, right?

So here comes this note about the FedGov lowering the standards for levels of fluoride in water.  Question is…will this make or allow people to get more cranky and irritable as the fluoride levels come down?

As long as we’re fixing up a perfect storm for summer, why not an end to anti-depressants, too.  I can think of nothing better than a good cancer scare story to make even more people angry and unpredictable this summer.

Yep, fire hoses at the ready…

(Hey!  Wait a minute!  Is civil disorder a stealth economic stimulus package?)

Tearing Down the Bricks

Here’s further evidence of the revolution in online shopping that is making it possible for people to make fewer and fewer trips to stores:  UPS earnings are up 14% in the latest quarter.

I’d hold back on investment in commercial real estate for a while longer till the trend slows down…

Iran Still Running the Clock

Significant to Ures truly that Iran is already starting to use an elastic clock when comes to nuclear talks.  This morning, their leader is claiming the economic sanctions are already “collapsing” and state-run media adds this bait…

“If the opposite side shows serious determination,” a final deal will be possible within the next few months.

No, not few, TWO.  Language matters and you can see the set-up for more stalls while the centrifuges keep spinning.

          

Ever wonder how many people are “branded” in ‘Merica?  Think it’s an unbranded brand?  Wrong…

The Economics of Anarchy
Coping: Happy Trailers & National Parks 2.0