Before we jump into the headlines this morning, a couple of notes about the long holiday weekend: Saturday, www.peoplenomics.com will be on schedule, and ditto Sunday. Our in-depth report Sunday, by the way is about “The Last Days of Cash” where we ask embarrassing questions like “What’s digital counterfeiting?” and other mind-stretchers. Monday will be just another day around here since the metals markets will be open in some places and I suppose “no rest for the wicked…” which explains why I’m so tired all the time. We hope you have a great weekend and share some of the things you’ve learned here like “Friends don’t let friends trade options.”
If you’re going to get tanked today, the average for regular is $3.809 per Triple A’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That’s up 38 percent from last year’s $2.795 at this same time. But no, there’s no inflation; nothing to see here…move along…
A Matter of Judgment
The price of gold is up this morning, or at least it was at press-time. What’s more, the US dollar was down a bit in early trading, all of which should result in a short pop to the upside when the market opens this morning.
I’ve explained the theory, often enough: Dollar goes down, which presses Gold up, which presses Treasuries down, which means their Yield goes up, which throttles down the business prospects, which then depresses consumer confidence which drops spending which….well, it becomes circular at some point.
Although down a tad (as I usually am in trades at first) I still expect the market to give one more good upside pop before we start the Big Slide again.
Our first stop on the Yellow Brick Road today is personal income and expenditure numbers from the government:
“Personal income increased $46.1 billion, or 0.4 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $35.1 billion, or 0.3 percent, in April, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $41.5 billion, or 0.4 percent. In March, personal income increased $54.6 billion, or 0.4 percent, DPI increased $46.3 billion, or 0.4 percent, and PCE increased $54.8 billion, or 0.5 percent, based on revised estimates.
Real DPI decreased less than 0.1 percent in April, in contrast to an increase of less than 0.1 percent in March. Real PCE increased 0.1 percent in April, the same increase as in March.
Personal current taxes increased $11.0 billion in April, compared with an increase of $8.3 billion in March. Disposable personal income (DPI) — personal income less personal current taxes — increased $35.1 billion, or 0.3 percent, in April, compared with an increase of $46.3 billion, or 0.4 percent in March.
Personal saving — DPI less personal outlays — was $570.6 billion in April, compared with $576.7 billion in March. Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 4.9 percent in April, the same as in March.
Your results may vary, lol.
The British measure of consumer confidence was reported to have made its biggest jump in 18-years which, as you might expect, which was like crack to the monkeys of the City of London as the British market climbed off Wednesday’s lows.
There’s a Michigan sentiment indicator due out this morning, but I might nap through that one.
Japan’s 25-month string of deflation ended in their latest reporting month. Funny what a mega quake, serial meltdowns and a printing press can do when people put their minds to price hiking….
I expect my 3:1 levered bullish position in the US market will do fine in the coming week, or so…especially when the monthly 401 cash inflows start to show up in money manager paws early next week…
Those thunderstorms which wrecked the middle of the country moved on east and ABC reports three dead from storms in Georgia, as a result.
The flooding in Quebec isn’t getting as much play as the Mississippi River valley, but real enough up there.
The Hispanic population of the US is now over 50-million, notes the Financial Times.
I’m scheming to move to the Caribbean Riviera of Mexico’s east coast, which I figure in another couple of years will be completely empty.
10 Chernobyl’s Worth
OpEd News asks a very important question: “Is Fukushima now ten Chernobyls into the sea?”
It’s like Clif wrote a good while back: We’re all dead, we just don’t know it yet.
I just know there’s a marketing lesson in here somewhere about “setting customer expectations to high…” Always better to under-promise and over-deliver….
Mysteries of the Deep
That Air France flight that went down in the mid Atlantic killing 228 people may come down to a faulty speed sensor and not recovering from a stall while trying to climb to avoid turbulence. Even at flight level 380, 3½ minutes of free-fall in a stall may be unrecoverable…
Tea Party: The Rebranded G.O.P.?
At some point we have to come to our senses about the Tea Party. Yes, it had a chance, but according to the Think Progress site, guess what happened when the fresh crop of newbies went to Washington? All lot of those promises to “end earmarks” just sort of went away as the story at “After promising to End Earmarks, Tea Party Freshmen Hog Defense Pork” points out.
No, things don’t necessarily go better with Koch…they actually seem to go the same way…. Ah, branding the magic of branding…and NewThink, too.
Elaine observed the other day “Notice how Jesus is referred to as the good shepherd of ‘his flock’? Kinda says something about people being sheep, doesn’t it?“ Good point. Guess change is slower than I thought.
A reader signed an email t’other day: “Fighting Public Ignorance since 1984. It’s taking longer than I expected…” A LOT longer….
Politics – As Usual
Lemme see: A reader says he’s worried that Texguv Rick Perry might run for Prez is a bit frightening: “The idea of President GoodHair is a bit much…“
Tisk, tisk, no ad hominem attacks, please, this is a high-class operation. Or, nearly so…
But as long as we’re on hair, Sarah Palin is due to make her bid official next week.
We Hate to Be Picky Dept.
…BUT now that the (mis-named) Patriot Act has been passed by congress, we noticed that Politico.com made the point the bill will be signed into law by an autopen.
I hate to be a nuisance about such details, but don’t the nation’s framing documents demand and specific that laws be signed by the President?
The way I’m thinking about this, and autopen however useful for signing dinner invitations and what-have-you, when applied to actual legal documents could be problematic.
My broker J.B. took time off between trades yesterday to send me a Boston Channel 7 story by their investigative team under the headline “Hank Investigations: Mortgage Documents.” The issue in that story is that some several dozen different handwriting styles are all signed on mortgage documents “Linda Green” and it may be enough to toss into question how valid those mortgage docs are.
Seems to be that automated name-signing is one of the most dangerous things out there as it can give rise to all kinds of legal questions. Back in the day when I was a college president/ and vp, I resisted the temptation to use a “name stamp” for signing off on things like student loan documents and what have you. Lots of colleagues leaped into getting ‘name stamps” but I always worried that such stamps could be misused & abused.
Like in the mortgage industry. And, by extension, if a machine signed a law, isn’t it invalid?
Seems to me that if we’re a nation under law that the laws ought to be solidly and uniformly applied. Even when “dis-convenient” to the Executive/Ruling class. Otherwise, we’re not really under law. Just a charade – so half-baked impressionistic knock-off.
But then you knew that much, I suppose.
Word out of the Detroit News Thursday that the Transportation Department was planning to make “black boxes” mandatory on cars has spurred me to come up with a whole new industry which should be of interest to the Security State combine which runs Washington nowadays.
The DOT idea is simplicity itself: Few a few dollars, an onboard computer could record about 30 seconds of data leading up to an accident. Vehicle speed, direction, orientation (presumably) and so forth. So investigators could learn more about auto crashes.
Now, you have to understand we live in a data-crazed world. There are really only three outcomes from any accident: No injury, injury, or death. Don’t need a computer to figure that one out.
More importantly, if one car is southbound in the southbound lanes, and collides with a car northbound which is also in the southbound lanes then in GeorgeLand, the cause of the accident is apparent, even without adding the computational horsepower proposed.
Still, the Event Data Recorders (EDR’s) would be a fine tool to be disputed by the ambulance-chasing lawyers, and it could give rise to a whole new crop of “expert witnesses.”
But frankly, they’re missing the boat by not taking the concept far enough! What about requiring a much more sophisticated EDR which would record GPS location and vehicle speed? That way, you could require people to mail in one EDR while a second EDR is installed. The mailed-in unit would be analyzed by a super-computer and any speeding tickets, failure to slow to 25 in a school zone (location, timestamp, speed, eh?) could all be neatly calculated.
Of course, that wouldn’t have any impact on police employment either, since traffic units that once sat by the roadside could be repurposed to pull over vehicles which didn’t have an EDR installed, plus don’t forget we could ramp up Seatbelt SWAT Teams if people weren’t infringing enough on posted speeds.
As I’ve explained many times: Peace is simply unaffordable in a constant-growth socioeconomic model, so something has to grow which is the ugly Truth of Matters that Orwell stumbled onto.
Once upon a time there was a notion that a spouse couldn’t be compelled to testify against you. But nothing was ever said about your car, your cellphone, your telephone company, your ISP, your Library, your grocery store, or now: Your car.
(more after this…)