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  • The Housing Market May Be Starting To Crash [View article]

    Using ZeroHedge is like a dog whistle for a lot of people - they hear what they want to hear.

    I suggest Calculated Risk and Bill McBride as a more balanced source with the same info:
    MBA: Mortgage Purchase Index lowest since 1995
    by Bill McBride on 2/26/2014 07:01:00 AM

    His explanation of for the weakness presents an interesting perspective:

    "The 4-week average of the purchase index is now down about 16% from a year ago - and the weekly purchase index is at the lowest level since 1995.

    The purchase index is probably understating purchase activity because small lenders tend to focus on purchases, and those small lenders are underrepresented in the purchase index - but this is still very weak."
    Feb 26 01:46 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's New Markets: Pricing Utopia [View article]

    I had no idea what the quote meant so I thought I was providing a public service in providing an explanation since I have never seen that phrase before :)

    Sadly being dense I am not sure I still quite understand the context for the quote. Is it that you can't trust anything Wallstreet says because of their innate conflicts?

    Thanks if nothing else, I always enjoy a new piece of historical knowledge.

    Feb 26 01:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's New Markets: Pricing Utopia [View article]
    "Honi soit qui mal y pense"
    (pronounced: [ɔni swa ki mal i pɛ̃s]) is an Anglo-Norman phrase, loosely meaning: "Shamed be he who thinks evil of it." Archaic spellings include "Honi soit quy mal y pense," and "Hony soyt qe mal y pense," and various other phoneticizations. It is the motto of the British chivalric Order of the Garter. In Modern French it is rendered as "Honni soit qui mal y pense" (the past participle of the modern verb honnir being honni).[1] It is also written at the end of the manuscript Sir Gawain and the Green Knight but it appears to have been a later addition.[2]

    Its literal translation from Old French is "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it."[3] It is sometimes re-interpreted as "Evil be to him who evil thinks."[4]
    Feb 26 10:07 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gotta be the weather; Richmond Fed Index dives in February [View news story]
    Well in theory, markets are a discounting mechanism, which means they are supposed to look ahead rather than behind or concurrently so this suggests that the "market" expects a strengthening of the economy in the months ahead.

    I agree that the FED makes it very difficult to separate the "natural" operation of the market versus the current "managed" market. Tough to find a comparable period of market history to compare the current period to given almost 6 years of ZIRP!

    Who would have possibly believed that we would still have a zero interest policy in 2014 back in 2008/09? Not me :)
    Feb 25 11:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The polar vortex is a perfect storm for railroad stocks, J.P. Morgan says [View news story]
    Funny that this cold weather was being blamed for the slowing of rail traffic:
    "Rail Traffic is Starting to Soften
    By Cullen Roche · Comments (3) · Friday, February 21st, 2014

    The latest reading on rail traffic is showing some fairly substantial softening. The weekly reading in intermodal traffic came in at -5.7% which brings the 12 week moving average to just 1.7%. That’s the weakest reading since the middle of last year. On the whole, this is much more consistent with the muddle through economic environment we’ve been seeing."
    Feb 22 09:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Existing home sales hit 18-month low [View news story]

    That's part of the picture but the bigger issue is the total cost of owning has been going up a lot over the past year so the direction/trend of sales appears to be impacted by this. Affordability does affect total overall sales.

    Diana Olick covers it here:
    Cost of owning a home is spiking in 2014
    Text Size
    Published: Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 10:24 AM ET
    By: Diana Olick | CNBC Real Estate Reporter

    In an analysis of housing affordability, RealtyTrac found that the estimated monthly house payment for a median-priced, three-bedroom home purchased at the end of 2013 was a whopping 21 percent higher than it was at the end of 2012 in more than 300 U.S. counties. That includes mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance and the subtracted income tax benefit.

    (Read more: Spring thaw may not heat up this housing market)

    The rise is the result of higher home prices and higher mortgage rates. RealtyTrac used a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4.46 percent and a 20 percent down payment. That is versus a 3.35 percent interest rate the previous year.

    Some metro regions, especially in California and parts of Michigan, saw monthly house payments rise about 50 percent from a year ago.

    (Read more: Home builder sentiment index logs sharpest drop ever)

    "Home prices were boosted by cash buyers in 2013, and as the cash buyers move out of the market in 2014, the buyers left are not going to be able to afford the home prices as readily in some of these markets," added Blomquist.
    Feb 21 10:48 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Philly Fed blames weather for February plunge [View news story]
    So I guess that means when and if we ever get global warming it will be really good for the US economy :)
    Feb 20 10:42 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gotta be the weather; housing starts dive [View news story]
    Doesn't the seasonal adjustment take this into account?

    The prior weather is a known factor and it obviously is used to calculate an estimate to come up with consensus numbers so these guys must really suck at their jobs :)
    Feb 19 08:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NAHB Housing Market Index at 46.0 [View news story]
    My God, what the hell does consensus projection mean in the real world?

    How do all of those economists miss by that much?
    Feb 18 10:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • WSJ: World's largest solar plant is open, but it's killing birds [View news story]
    What's positive about frying innocent birds?
    Feb 13 10:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • January retail sales -0.4% [View news story]

    Even on inflation adjusted basis the y/y has to be positive so maybe weak but still growing which is why that negative m/m thing is potentially misleading.

    Anyway it would be a lot better if it were positive :)
    Feb 13 11:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • January retail sales -0.4% [View news story]

    To your point on y/y numbers:

    "The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $427.8 billion, a decrease of 0.4 percent from the previous month, but 2.6 percent above January 2013. ... The November to December 2013 percent change was revised from +0.2 percent to -0.1 percent."
    Feb 13 10:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • January retail sales -0.4% [View news story]
    Whether it does or doesn't mean recession, you do have to admit it's a really bad number especially with a negative December number.
    It is somewhat logical based upon this number that your mind wouOd go in that direction if you just looked at the data, don't you think?
    How would you interpret it?
    Feb 13 08:41 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Key Lessons For The Coming Bear Market [View article]
    I get your point. I think the chart you are using is a little out of date but it's trivial.
    I think the numbers are probably nearly the same on a percentage as 2000 at this time. Regardless of the current level, the link from Doug is useful as a learning tool for those that are unfamiliar with the issue and want to know more.
    Margin Debt in Jan 2000 was $244 billion
    Margin Debt in Dec 2013 was $445 billion
    Current GDP is around $17.1 trillion so Debt to GDP is around 2.65%
    I know you are a very careful person so I just wanted to make sure that you have the latest data.
    The margin always falls following a bear market and rises during bull market for obvious reasons so it is the recent trend line that matters the most.
    Feb 12 03:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Key Lessons For The Coming Bear Market [View article]
    For those interested in the margin debt issue, Doug Short has a detailed analysis of the current and past record of this number as of Jan 29th, 2014:

    "The latest data puts margin debt as at an all-time high, not only in nominal terms but also in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars."
    Feb 12 10:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment