70 Words
Jun
18

Decoupled Drilling

With crude oil prices near 3-year highs, US shale producers are drilling more and turning profits. But high oil prices are hurting natural gas prices. While global demand for natural gas is projected to rise for many reasons, supply should keep up as shale oil producers unlock vast amounts of … [Read more...]

Jun
15

Super Soccer

The Friday File: While 32 teams are competing in the 21st World Cup in Russia, only a handful have a winning chance. Brazil and Germany are favorites with 5:1 odds each. France and Spain follow at about 6:1, then Argentina and Belgium at 10:1. With the USA out, I’m rooting for a winner from the … [Read more...]

Jun
14

Retail Reduction

Many retail stores are shrinking their footprint or declaring bankruptcy. In part, it’s because online sales have been rising by an astonishing 17%/year for two decades and are now 9% of all retail sales. Moreover, there are 24 square feet of retail space/person in the US; tops in the world. Canada … [Read more...]

Jun
13

Feisty Fed

That the Fed raised short-term rates by one quarter percentage point earlier today wasn’t surprising. What was somewhat unexpected was that the Fed now expects to raise rates four times this year, not three. But what set the markets into a slight tizzy was the hawkish tone of the post-meeting … [Read more...]

Jun
12

Increasing Inflation

While the CPI rose by a solid 0.2% in May, it rose by a strong 2.8% over the past 12 months, the fastest rise in Y-o-Y CPI inflation since 2/12 when it rose 2.9%. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy and is thus a better inflation measure, rose 2.2% over the past year, its biggest Y-o-Y … [Read more...]

Jun
11

Sorry Security

Spending on Social Security recipients will exceed revenues this year for the first time since 1982. Worse, the SS trust fund, which holds $3 trillion, will be empty by 2034, after which recipients will receive 75% of scheduled benefits absent programmatic changes. Medicare’s insurance fund will be … [Read more...]

Jun
08

Pricey Pint

The Friday File: While beer sales will rise with temperatures, how much your sudsy relief costs will greatly depending upon beer excise taxes. In Wyoming, they are just $0.02/gallon, lowest in the USA, followed by Missouri and Wisconsin at $0.06/gallon. By contrast, try not to choke on your brew in … [Read more...]

Jun
07

Corporate Crisis

The rise in merger and acquisition activity that is pushing up share prices should allow 2018 to equal or surpass the M&A record high of 2007. This will saddle US firms with not only record debt levels, but debt of deteriorating quality. Add to that recently loosened banking regulations and … [Read more...]

Jun
06

Overwhelming Openings

When the Great Recession ended, there were 14.6 million unemployed job seekers in the US, but just 2.2 million job openings. The seekers/openings ratio was a dismal 6.6. Today, there are just 6.3 million job seekers and an all-time high of 6.7 million openings. There are now more job openings than … [Read more...]

Jun
05

Troubled Trade

If Trump wants to fight over trade, he should consistently impose tariffs and never use quotas. With tariffs, the artificially higher price results in increased revenues to the US Treasury. With quotas, the higher prices benefit foreign manufacturers. Also, never suggest tariffs or quotas are … [Read more...]