Although the market put in a great showing on Monday, the problem persists that without busting up through the 12,100 Dow level decisively, there’s till a strong bear case to be made that the market is back into a long-term decline.
Some evidence of this came with the National Association of Realtors’ February home sales report out Monday:
“Existing-home sales fell in February following three straight monthly increases, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from an upwardly revised 5.40 million in January, and are 2.8 percent below the 5.02 million pace in February 2010.
Lawrence Yun NAR chief economist, expects an uneven recovery. “Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by the twin problems of unnecessarily tight credit, and a measurable level of contract cancellations from some appraisals not supporting prices negotiated between buyers and sellers,” he said. “This tug and pull is causing a gradual but uneven recovery. Existing-home sales remain 26.4 percent above the cyclical low last July.”
Under ‘normal’ conditions (remember those days?) when we didn’t have simmering nukes, or a new war going on, this would have sent the bulls into hiding, but as I explained yesterday, Markets LOVE War, and yesterday’s 178-Dow point romp seems to agree.
It’ll be next Tuesday before we get the next S&P/Case Shiller 20-City Index, but my fear is that this is the early stage of what we’ve talked about previously; a scenario that will go something like this:
Housing prices will continue eroding into at least mid 2011
Concurrently, the price of food & energy will soar
That overall cost of living won’t “statistically” appear to go up more than ½ to 1% per month…but of course that assumes that your family housing costs are flexible.
Naturally, most people’s home payments/rent are not flexible, so we can only infer that what will help housing prices will be the continued foreclosures, which although they are not making the headlines like they did earlier int he Great Decline, are continuing, nevertheless.
I’ve proffered for some time the notion that thanks to the ease money syndrome which Wall Streeters have installed, that New York, being the financial center of the world, in the same sense that Greenwich is the geophysical center of the world, would suffer much less than out in the hinterlands where the disgusted majority live.
Sure enough: the state “Comptroller: NY home foreclosures filings decline” but as the story which moved on BusinessWeek Monday noted, this came while foreclosures were still “…eding up nationally…” As if you hadn’t noticed.
While waiting around for the next Case/S&P data, and the next confessional from the Fed on consumer debt piling up, the longitudinal (long-term) data point of the day is likely to be the Bureau of Labor Statistics Mass Layoff report due out at 10 AM (Eastern) and if I’m not up to my armpits, I’ll try to get the updated chart on here when it comes out.
Meantime, a mixed open looms with resistance around 12,100…
Markets & Nukes
To be sure, there has been some modest recovery in the Japanese stock market which has market pundits tripping all over themselves to hype. Still, a more sober look at the data notes that on March 9, a couple of days before The Quake, the Nikkei 225 was right in the 10,590 range while the close overnight was about 9,608. That’s still a 9.3 percent decline, and even that cost the coordinated central banks untold billions.
Supco: Truth Out
Speaking of untold billions, I assume you’ve been following the antics of the not-really federal Federal Reserve which has been fighting Bloomberg’s efforts to get disclosure of how money bailout money was thrown – and how much each – at the “emergency lending” during the 2008 financial crisis.
On Monday, the high court declined a fed/bankster appeal to keep the amount of dough and other details secret, so we shall see how promptly the Fed can issue a report.
The laughable part now, if you’re having popcorn for breakfast, will be to see in this grand farce how long the bankster side will sit on the report’s release.
You see, Bloomberg requested the data in 2008 and the lawsuit part started in 2009. So, just between you and me, I would have thought the Fed would have been able to prepare its “just-in-case” report detailing how much taxpayer dough was thrown around over this more than two-year period.
I’m just sure that it will be a while yet, since handing over the contested data on the courthouse steps after losing would be just too easy. Instead, I wouldn’t put anything past the banking class, including perhaps new action to keep secret who got how many cookies from The Big Cookie Jar.
What was that great Jack Nicholson line? Oh yeah…”You can’t handle the Truth!“
However, as one C-level banker told me in an email: ‘The fact the court didn’t hear it tells me there are no major revelations in it...” Good point.
Problems for the Man of Peace
Nobel laureate Rio Obama, is being plagued with very unpeaceful photos circulating on the net of an Army “kill team” posing with pictures of dead civilians in Afghanistan.
The White House is trying to do damage control on this and the Army has issued an apology, but the timing couldn’t have been much worse.
While the US may have been hoping to build up some “we’re with the people sense around the Libya mess, this morning we have a) lost our first plane in that conflict, although the pilot is OK, and b) the “coalition” (oil hungry countries) is pressing for an expansion of the no-fly zone.
Obviously, since I was somehow overlooked for a high-paying gig as a State Department consultant, I shouldn’t ask the obvious. But, since that’s never stopped me before, here goes:
“When it’s raining cruise missiles and aircraft parts, and the oil-thirsty are agitating for expanding the conflict, and with soldiers taking snaps of dead civvies, where exactly is the PEACE or FRIEND message is in all that?
On the other hand, with Gaddafi now shelling his own countrymen, his marketing problems are at least as large and regrettably, that how marketing works in this world: lesser of evils. (Works with fast-food joints, too…)
Simmering Nukes Department
The latest from the International Atomic Energy Agency continues to evolve toward a “we’re getting a handle on this” outcome:
“Japanese authorities have notified the IAEA that efforts to restore power for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are on-going. As of 19 March at 21:46 UTC, the power centre at Unit 2 had received electricity. Work to restore electricity to Units 3 and 4 is continuing.
White smoke was reported seen emanating from Unit 2 on 21 March at 9:22 UTC. Grayish smoke was reported seen emanating from unit 3 at 6:55 on 21 March, and this was reported to have “died down” two hours later. All workers at Units 1 through 4 evacuated after the smoke at Unit 3 was seen. The IAEA is seeking further information at this time on the status of workers at the site.
Japanese authorities have also reported that water has been sprayed over the Common Spent Fuel Pool; this started on 21 March at 1:37 UTC. The IAEA is seeking further information on this development and will report further as updates are received from Japan. “
Putting on my Mr. Science hat, that sure sounds like a lowball numbers of samples given the size of the Pacific Ocean east of Japan, but then again, no one asked me what “n” should be. Better: They won’t have the resultys out until the 24th.
Seems the American way might be cell phones and RIB boats and near-real-time monitoring, but again, no one asked; which really stumps me….
Readers seem a bit fogged in by events, as well. Like this guy who wrote in:
“…i followed a link at drudge to ann coulter site…she says that all this worry about radioactive contamination is way over done…she says that people are paying big bucks to visit radioactive spas…also the survivors at hiroshima had much lower incidents of cancer…i’m booking a japanese reactor tour before the rush starts…check it out…”
How much junk science can the world hold, that’s the question.
The New & Improved Police State
Government’s going with a $1-billion ID project reports the Charleston Gazette… should eventually bring in fingerprints, pal prints, faces, human irises, and voices. Gotta think they’d toss in DNA, too.
Better spit on the sidewalk while you can. Wonder if a plug of chew screws that up?
(more after this)