(Vicksburg, MS) It’s a tragedy of the human condition that our “tribe” of peeps on the rock is around 7-billion because it has reduced us all to numbers, and this in turn has caused an infatuation with that which “counts.” This morning there are several numbers to consider, such as 3,000 which is the level in the French CAC40 index – a kind of French Dow – which is coming into view since their “let’s go back to free lunches” presidential election.
The same could be said for the S&P 500, which has its own load of troubles to deal with staying above 1,340. Sure, it closed Monday 30-points above that level, but the futures were down another 7, or so, when I looked, and we’re in no particular hurry to get to the edge of the cliff, since respectable crashes trade sideways and down normally for either 35/37 days or 55 days from lower-high spots. So sometime this summer is an interesting bet.
Dow 13,000 on the other hand could fall today, and if it does, sometimes these who number spots (ending in a couple of zeros) can be important psychological markers to keep in mind.
Still there’s the mood of optimism on both sides of the political aisle that hint January/Febhruary of 2013 (or even December 21, lol) would make a good crash period, since republicorps are confident they’ll win in November, but already Obama II supporters are speaking out.
Half the country will be sorely disappointed by the election and that’s likely to ripple into investment thinking and the willingness to take on debt. For now, we’re up to our elbows in true believers, so one more leg up is possible.
An example of a number that provides a hopeful sign is that consumer spending was increasing at an annual rate of 10.25% in the report out Monday afternoon. If you had just one number to use in forecasting this might well be it.
Of course, the M2 money supply (up 9.8% in the past year) couldn’t have had something to do with the increase in consumker debt could it? Back out paper money inflation and suddenly that’s a 1% growth case and what has population growth been? Unsavory questions best left for blessed and annointed academics with letters beyond MBA after their names.
If you read the report deeply, (don’t bother, have a life instead) you’ll find that there hasn’t been any increase in consumer debt (they call it “credit” because they own us, not the other way around like it should be) hasn’t increased any since 2007. In fact, we’re not doing badly as a nation at this “being thrifty” stuff. Being pretty much broke is an incentive, I’ll grant you that.
If you want to find the real debt pig, the consumer debt portion held by the federal government has gone from $90.8 billion (student loans and such) in 2007 up to an astounding $460.2 billion in this latest report.
The fact is, when you compare hows Q1 2012 is doing compared with Q4 2012 on the consumer spending/debt front, you find growth has been a whopping 0.06%.
The case for the double-dip is plain as day. The growth is in government, pure and simple (highlighted) in Ure’s spreadsheet du jour:
The Daily Beast has a report on how the DoJ has failed to bring justice to Wall Street’s criminal clown class. But, what’s important, here? Raising dough or going to jail? Not to worry that it leaves the working class wondering if justice is spelled just us.
Social Marker: Kidnapping
One of the interesting things to note during economic downturns is the return of kidnappings as a way for bad people to make good money, or so goes their (twisted up) thinking. Take the case up in Tennessee right now, for example.
Probably the most famous kidnapping of the Great Depression was the Lindberg case, back in ’32.
A little more recently, you may be old enough to remember the big headline kidnapping case that happened just ahead of the big Mini-Crash in 1987 – the Carlina Renae White Case. August ahead of the October market face-plant.
Thinking goes (among non-quants, anyway) that there’s something about people’s behavior that changes when times are bad. Kidnappings in Sicily went up and the economy went down there, too. And Sendero in Peru…thinks to keep track of. Poor economy? High kidnapping risk.
Ahead of the Curve
Terrible headline, but with a report that obesity could affect 42% of Americans by 2030, I’m trying like hell to get to the other side of the cohort. The correlation between CR (calorie restricted) diets and longevity keeps popping up, but what the hell fun is that?
Speaking of calories and what all, thye Boston Herald has a tasty report on how state junk food for kids laws may end school bake sales.
We the ungovernable, led by the unthinkable….
The Next “Big Thing”?
Sounds great – at first. But pardon me for asking: Isn’t this just one more thing to hack?
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