(Shawnee, OK) If Jerusalem and Mecca are destination cities for several religions, then Shawnee, Oklahoma is the closest thing I can offer as the point of our current pilgrimage around the country seeking better writing, better punctuation, and higher returns in our portfolio. It’s here that Robin Landry and his wife live and it’s where, over dinner last night, and will again this morning, talk about the current direction of the market.
If we get an upside breakout from here, then new highs are possible. Yet, conversely, we could still head back to the downside; as always it’s a matter of when. Having been in cash since Thursday or so of last week, the waiting isn’t costing us anything. We just won’t deploy either one of our dollars until various wave counts clarify and we see something big enough come along that taking a bite out of it would be worth the effort.
While we sit around waiting for something big to come along (up, or down, doesn’t matter) one of the few morsels to guide long term was The Conference Board assessment of consumer confidence which is down again – a bit more than expected, too - down to 58.5 from 61.7 in May. What that sets up ia the possibility that the Fed’s next Consumer Debt (which they call ‘credit’) report will show a continuation of recent trends: People buying homes on the cheap, education on the theory there’ll be some job at the end of it, but keeping their credit cards holstered and borrowing otherwise contained. Not that I blame ‘em, since that’s where we all are.
There’s not too much in the way of data this morning, except for maybe the weekly Mortgage Bankers numbers – worth mentioning in light of the blip in the S&P/Case housing numbers yesterday.
“WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 29, 2011) — Mortgage applications decreased 2.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 24, 2011.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3.0 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 2.6 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3.0 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3.8 percent compared with the previous week and was 4.5 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is up 0.7 percent. The four week moving average is down 1.5 percent for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is up 1.5 percent for the Refinance Index. “
Mr. Coffeed added a hinting highlight. Trust you saw BofA is giving up $8.5 billion to settle toxic waste claims?
Gold was up earlier – and since that sometimes means other inflation hedges (like the Dow) could follow, a pop to the upside is possible but even bears like rallies. Someone’s gotta give us an entry point.
The dollar headed down earlier, which by my observed relationships model, should pop the Dow back to the upside, at least for the open, but this is NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE.
With Due LaGarde
The appointment of Christine LaGarde to head up the IMF is not particularly significant, in my view, since like Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, being a woman doesn’t seem to impact job outcome very much.
The real question is can she mixed up wallpaper paste to cobble the global papernomics system back together?
Which gets us around to noting that Europe is having something of a rally this morning because Greek lawmakers have been arm-twisted into introducing austerity measures. Not that it’s a biggie, except to note that wallpaper is to Greece what lithium carbonate is to manic depressives: It’s just a treatment.
You too can be a central banker: Just order some of this stuff: Roman Decorating Products 8Oz Univ Wheat Paste 209701 Wallpaper Paste & Adhesives or something like it.
Calhoun in the Fog
As Clif pointed out recently in his Water & Fog piece here, the public perception of the problems at the Ft. Calhoun nuke plant in Nebraska is getting foggier still with reports on the ‘net suggesting that a 10-mile evacuation is underway, but that references to it have been scrubbed from the net.
That New Jersey has set up a $2.5 billion line of credit with JP Morgan isn’t our question. Question around here is “What did the state pledge?”
But wait! If that’s a little too much like reading the Onion, says one reader, did you notice how the SEC is outsourcing Wall Street enforcement to…. Wall Street! The people who brought you Enron, Madoff and….no, don’t get me started.
What would you say if someone said the government has about a billion dollars in coins that no one seems to want? That’s what NPR has tripped over. Not one seems to be using $1 coins.
More often that some media, NPR comes up with some pretty good content. Which, near as I can figure it, explains why the periodic attempts to defund it.
How We Get Screwed
Might want to have the personal lubricant ready for this one: I’ve told you how many times that large multination corps load money into their lowest taxed (or non-taxed) subsidiaries and here is a Bloomberg story with some of the juicy details about how the “Biggest Tax Avoiders Win Most Gaming $1 Trillion U.S. Tax Break.”
The Equal Opportunity Depression
Think the Second Depression is for the EU, the US, Big Cities, and States only? No, apparently not.
Alto, Texas, just down the road a short piece from the ranch has laid off its whole police force. A chief and four offices – that 5 police for 1,200 people may sound like a lot of overhead. Not sure what the salary levels were, but if you think about it at $40,000 per officer, with cars, radios, medical, yada, yada, that’d make the police budget around $200,000 per year, or more. And that’s a lot: $166 per year per resident from birth to death age. Not counting ticket revenue, of course.
And the way cities only get a small slice of revenue from local option sales taxes, 1200 people and five officers is what the numbers have drawn to a head.
Expect a lot more of this kind of thing as D2 continues to unfold…or is that unravel?
Similar plot, different directors: See the story here about “urban chickens” and thanks to the reader in the picture for sending it along. As people try to cope raising a few chickens, we notice that there’s no ban on jack-asses in government…surely there’s an antidiscrimination case could be made there.
Angry Earth Dept.
We’re hearing that EPA is quietly testing for radiation at the :Los Alamos Fire.
With Tony Ring’s monthly earthquake data just a few days ahead we’ve been watching the high number of quakes being posted on the USGS site and wondering how that long-term trend chart will look this month.
Cuba media is showing off photos of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who’s in hospital there for what’s said to be a pelvic abscess. My bet? Lippo maybe?
Our Daily “HUH?”
How the national press can be sucked into reporting stories like this one which says Sarah Palin is still studying running for the WH, just amazed me.
Lemme see: In Iowa for a film about herself, with a presidential committee/fundraising operation? WTF? Of course she’s running. If she wasn’t the fishing this time of year in Alaska is just too good to miss…can headline writers and political reporters please up their estimates of the national IQ just an itsy bitsy bit?
There’s no waffle here; just something served with vegetables.
On the other hand, sitting downstairs at our Holiday Inn Express, here in Shawnee, OK, I overheard a group of visiting businessmen discussing the news about Michelle Bachmann’s latest gaffe: She was going on about how Iowa was a fine place since it was where John Wayne was from.
Well, not quite. John Wayne Gacy. The group at the next table had a number of additional thoughts, but nothing I’m sure you haven’t thought of before.
Besides, if intelligence were to be a serious elector criteria, I reckon more than half the people in office wouldn’t be there.
Any politician showing up in Iowa, whose home district is not there, and who has a presidential campaign committee (exploratory, or not) is running for the White House and sadly, no one in the corpgov duopoly thinks any of us can spell Stanford-Binet.
(more after this…)