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  • 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 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, 2014. 10:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The CBO Bombshell [View article]
    From that conservative, right-wing rag the National Journal:
    "Why I'm Getting Sick of Defending Obamacare
    Incompetence, politics, and delays frustrate advocates of health care reform."
    By Ron Fournier
    February 11, 2014
    It's getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation."
    Feb 11, 2014. 01:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The CBO Bombshell [View article]
    To anyone with an open mind it is obvious that the Obamacare legislation has been a disaster.
    Remember when in Oct 2013 Obamacare was the "Law of The Land"?
    Obama changes it every day including yesterday so who knows what it is anymore. So much for laws.
    Strange that you would advocate for a law that conveniences the few at the expense of the many and you call that compassion. That demonstrates a clear lack of empathy for the average American. You do not need to destroy an entire system to solve such a tiny problem.

    COBRA coverage allows anyone to keep their insurance coverage when they quit or lose their jobs - you are arguing about a unicorn.

    By the way, the list of non-sequiturs and red-herrings above shows your graduate education was well-spent.
    Feb 11, 2014. 12:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The CBO Bombshell [View article]
    I suspect that if this policy were called Bushcare, you would be using this information to argue exactly the opposite point.


    So we go from not enough work and a job crisis to being overworked and experiencing "job lock" in less than a month. Seriously?

    To quote Sigmund Freud: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

    "Job Lock" - that's funny & pathetic - a rare combination.
    Feb 10, 2014. 03:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The CBO Bombshell [View article]
    They just need to craft a good marketing campaign to get the message out there:

    "Obamacare - work less so you can mooch even more!"

    Feb 10, 2014. 02:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment