201711.14
8
4

Historical Precedence For How A Bond ‘Bubble’ Ends

The UK government tried very hard to hold on. They had been able to raise $200 million from JP Morgan, a significant sum at that time under those circumstances. The British had also secured an almost equal amount from banks in France. The new National Government had produced a budget slashing spending by £70 million,…

201710.27
9
5

Even Less Inside Q3 GDP, Especially Where It Counts

Inside the advance third quarter GDP report, the details in most of the important categories suggested slowing after two quarters consistent with “reflation” at least in its third try. If the economy swings between shallow downturns and often shallower upturns, these subcategories give us some insight as to why. Overall, growth remains at a level…

201710.27
5
7

Strong Growth? Q3 GDP Only Shows How Weak 2017 Has Been

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson also had a long career as a manager after his playing days were done. He once said in that latter capacity that you have to have a short memory as a closer. Simple wisdom where it’s true, all that matters for that style of pitching is the very next…

201708.24
2
2

Getting Harder Not Easier To Find Macro Improvement in 2017 (Housing)

The most recent housing data continues to suggest weakness. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that sales of existing homes were down slightly last month from June. It continues a lower trend dating back to March. Overall, the level of resales is largely flat going back to the summer of 2015. At a 5.44…

201708.23
1
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If 2014 Was Ultimately a Letdown, What Might 2017 Be?

Today’s topic du jour isn’t even a word but an abbreviated name. Whereas yesterday markets were somewhat spooked by a relatively obscure British firm, Provident, today they are again by still another. This time it’s WPP Plc, an advertising aggregation firm that owns a sizable portfolio of ad agencies located all around the world. Given…

201708.21
2
3

Weight Of Recovery

In 1871, W. Stanley Jevons in the preface to his book The Theory of Political Economy writes of a fundamental human issue with Economics. He makes a distinction between it and other sciences which do not suffer, as he said a century and a half ago, “the weight of authority.” Finding such words from so…

201708.16
2
2

Stuck in the Basement Until Something Actually Changes

Housing construction continues to lag in 2017. Total permits in July fell on a seasonally-adjusted basis to 1.22 million. While not a huge decline, it continues to undershoot the post-taper trend that began in 2013 (after the mini-bubble wave crested from the trough of the housing bust). The break in that trend dates, unsurprisingly, to…

201708.09
Off
6

The Staggering Costs

How do we measure what has been lost over the last ten years? There is no single way to calculate it, let alone a correct solution. There are so many sides to an economy that choosing one risks overstating that facet at the expense of another. It’s somewhat of an impossible task already given the…

201707.31
8
4

Hyping Lean

Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman succeeded in 2013 in ousting Procter & Gamble’s CEO Bob McDonald. It was noteworthy at the time because the company issued a strange memo repeating often verbatim answers to questions it posed to itself. Among them was if Mr. McDonald was fired or, as had been relayed publicly, he…

201707.27
1
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Durable Boring

Durable goods orders were up a seasonally-adjusted 6.5% in the month of June 2017. Nearly all of that gain, however, was due to a jump (131%) in new orders for civilian aircraft. That meant demand for transportation equipment, a highly volatile segment, rose 19% in the month. Excluding all that, durable goods were up just…