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  • Home Sales Plunge, Prices to Follow [View article]
    Thanks. Good analysis by Diana Olick on this today as well:

    She works for CNBC but is no shill.
    Aug 24, 2010. 02:07 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Home Sales Plunge, Prices to Follow [View article]
    I don't understand why folks continue to look at NAR's median home price for guidance on real-estate prices. The median is heavily influenced by the mix of homes sold; and with fewer first time home buyers as a % of total sales, a rise in median price is expected. This does not, however, mean that home prices are rising; it simply means that the mix changed.

    Prices are probably already sliding, despite the fact that the change in mix temporarily masks the drop.
    Aug 24, 2010. 01:36 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chicago Fed Index Reflects Continued Growth [View article]
    I don't seem to recall your post on the Philly Fed numbers last week. Where can I find that?

    Anxiously looking forward to your posts on tomorrow's existing home sales and Wednesday's new home sales. Probably no signs of a double dip there either.
    Aug 23, 2010. 05:28 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bounce in Weekly Claims Could Be Bad Seasonal Adjustment [View article]

    "So yes, adjusting the early July numbers for the lower than normal auto industry layoffs would have increased the July numbers, and made the "trend" between then and the most recent SA numbers look "flat"."

    ??? It wouldn't have increased any July numbers, it would have *decreased* them (which is what it did) . . . Unless you meant if July auto layoffs had been "normal" ???

    --- I intended that if it were not for the lower than normal July layoffs that the reported SA intitial claims would have been higher ---


    As for the difference between the 2006 SA and the 2010 SA, yes, I'm sure the 2010 seasonal adjustment is different than the 2006 seasonal adjustment. After all, 2007, 2008 and 2009, all happened between 2006 and 2010 and the seasonal adjustment models would have been updated for the patterns of each of those interim years. As a result, it is expected (not unusual) that the seasonal adjustment in 2010 is different than the seasonal adjustment in 2006.

    But now you're in conspiracy theory territory (*something else*) and departing wildly from your original argument. You can't lay the elevated level of initial claims at the feet of the seasonal adjustment process. After all, at the current levels, initial claims are higher than at any point in the prior recession.
    Aug 20, 2010. 12:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bounce in Weekly Claims Could Be Bad Seasonal Adjustment [View article]
    Your first comment implied that it was the SA initial claim in the 5th week after the 2nd week of July that was warped by the SA process. Now at least you acknowledge that the July SA numbers are the ones that were warped by the SA process; coming in lower than they would have were it not for the lower than normal auto layoffs.

    So yes, adjusting the early July numbers for the lower than normal auto industry layoffs would have increased the July numbers, and made the "trend" between then and the most recent SA numbers look "flat". Of course the line would be flat at a more elevated point than the published SA numbers imply, ending at the same SA number published this week.

    The correct conclusion then is that initial claims spiked FIVE WEEKS AGO (adjusted for the lower than normal auto layoffs) and have remained at an elevated level ever since. How exactly is the fact that initial claims spiked five weeks before the published numbers indicate supposed to make me feel better when they have remained at an elevated level since?

    Has the envelope been incinerated yet?
    Aug 19, 2010. 11:27 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bounce in Weekly Claims Could Be Bad Seasonal Adjustment [View article]
    If your data is right then you've got the right analysis but the wrong conclusion.

    Yes the difference between NSA initial claims between the 2nd week of July in 2010 and the fifth week thereafter is lower than in prior years (although not necessarily statistically significant).

    But the reason the difference is less than in prior years is not because the 5th week is overstated, but rather because the 2nd week of July in 2010 is understated. This is because the auto manufacturers laid off fewer people than they typically do during early July. Again, the July NSA stats are understated. Btw, that would cause the seasonally adjusted stats in early July of 2010 to be understated, which was well documented at the time.

    That said, none of this has anything to do with the seasonal adjustment process as the NSA stats in the 2nd week of July have nothing to do with the seasonal adjustment for the 5th week thereafter.

    So, you've just done bunch of math and either proven nothing or the exact opposite of what you thought you had proven. You may now safely burn your envelope.
    Aug 19, 2010. 10:15 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • We're Rolling Over Even With the Fed Openly Juicing the Markets? [View article]
    I think you are misreading this a bit. The recent spate of M&A activity is exactly what you should expect when companies have too much cash, and too few places to invest in organic growth - they go on acquisition buying sprees. The exuberance of deal activity may lift the markets temporarily, but corporate America's history of M&A performance is bleak at best; most large acquisitions detract from shareholder value in the long-term.

    There is also a little factor called the "control premium" which means it is logical for a control buyer to pay more than an individual minority shareholder should be willing to pay.

    In any event, the shareholders of these companies would be better served if they dividend out their excess cash. Their desire to make these acquisitions should not be confused with the notion that stocks are undervalued.
    Aug 19, 2010. 04:54 PM | 21 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bounce in Weekly Claims Could Be Bad Seasonal Adjustment [View article]
    You may be right, perhaps this is just a statistical anomaly or a bad season adjustment that just happened to hit this week in particular. We'll just have to wait a couple of weeks to find out

    By the same token, I have never flown before, but this week might be different. I think I'll give it a shot and re-evaluate what happens half way down.
    Aug 19, 2010. 03:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • KC Fed President Thomas Hoenig: Lashes out at monetary policy (a "dangerous gamble" in a moderate-growth environment). The recovery's got legs and is moving faster than the last two, and he finds "no evidence that deflation is the most serious threat to the recovery today." Using Fed policy as a "cure-all" for all problems risks repeating the cycle of severe recession and unemployment.  [View news story]
    Seems to me that Hoenig's prescription hinges on an assumption of 3% GDP growth in the second half of 2010. If you believe that assumption, then much of Hoenig's perspective makes sense. However, if GDP growth comes in near the 1.5% consensus that seems to be emerging, Hoenig's analysis is null and void.

    Reasonable people can disagree on what economic indicators are signalling, but all in all, Hoenig's GDP forecast anchor looks way too optimistic in this case.
    Aug 13, 2010. 01:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Record Low Mortgage Rates Don't Signal a Weak Housing Market [View article]
    So, I guess we should ignore the fact that the spread between mortgage rates and the ten-year treasury is at a cycle low and that mortgage applications dropped off a cliff with the end of the stimulus.

    Why you are trying to interpolate home buyer demand from absolute mortgage rates is a mystery to me. Just look at pending home sales and mortgage applications; all down dramatically.
    Aug 9, 2010. 06:00 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paulson on the GSEs: Mend 'Em, Don't End 'Em [View article]
    Sure, a house is not like any other asset; each is unique. But there is a perfectly good substitute for the shelter provided by home ownership; one can rent equally good shelter. This is why we are finally seeing an adjustment down in personal home ownership levels to historically appropriate levels. Continuing to prop up the market by encouraging an unsustainably high level of personal home ownership via Fannie and Freddie will only serve to perpetuate the problem regardless of Fannie and Freddie's source of capital and return caps.
    Aug 1, 2010. 03:24 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Big Changes on the Margin in the Jobs Market [View article]
    Oh yeah.. all we have to do is give people incentive to find a job. Once they have incentive a job will magically appear. Why didn't I think of that? [snark]
    Jul 30, 2010. 07:17 PM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Homes Sales Surge! (From Record Lows) [View article]
    Amazing that with a 24% jump, that June is still the still the second worst reading in the history of the report (behind only May). Shows just how deeply troubled this market is.
    Jul 26, 2010. 12:50 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Housing Market Continues to Stabilize [View article]
    Has anyone noticed that the only person Scott "follows" on SeekingAlpha is... well... himself.

    Scott, its time to leave the eco-chamber that is your self-fabricated economic reality. There is a whole world of facts out here that your inner soul must be aching to get familiar with. Come out and let the healing begin.
    Jun 22, 2010. 10:38 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Housing: Desperation Hides Behind a Mask of Confidence [View article]
    Did you attach the right link? I ask because the article you attached is all about how the tax credit has pulled forward demand that is likely to dry up in August and how the only part of the market it has strengthened is the "low-end". What about that is positive in the long-run?
    May 27, 2010. 12:49 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment