70 Words

Tax Tithing

 While the final Republican tax plan is still a work in progress that may never become law, one thing’s very clear; its philosophy is to tax people, who are relatively immobile, and lower taxes on corporations, which can much more easily move their money. Yes, while workers will generally get … [Read more...]


Elegant ECB

 Last week the ECB decided to purchase €30 billion/month in bonds, down from the current €60 billion/month, through at least next September rather than a higher amount/month for a shorter period. While seemingly academic, here’s why. Markets must now consider the possibility of yet more QE when this … [Read more...]


Consumer Confidence

 As Measured by the Conference Board, October consumer confidence came in at 125.9, the highest reading since 12/00. This elevated level is a result of rising equity and home prices and an unemployment rate of just 4.2%, its best level since 2/01. A similar measure put out by the University of … [Read more...]


Solid Sweat

 October’s 261,000 net new jobs was good, as were upward revisions to August and September totaling 90,000. Unemployment fell to 4.1%, its lowest level since 12/00, the broadest measure of unemployment fell to 7.9%, tops since 12/06, and job growth over the past three months has averaged a solid … [Read more...]


Soccer Souls

 The Friday File: The smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup is Iceland, which, with a population of 335,000, will play in 2018. Prior to Iceland, the smallest nation to contend was Trinidad and Tobago, which competed in 2006 and has a population of 1.37 million. Before them, Northern … [Read more...]


Fed Figure

 For the first time since 1978, a first-term president hasn’t reappointed the incumbent Fed chair. Instead, President Trump will appoint existing Fed governor Powell. He will continue the process of gradual rate rises established by outgoing chair Yellen, but offer a lighter regulatory touch. As … [Read more...]


Poor Pendings

 Pending home sales were flat in September and that was the highlight of the report. The index is at its lowest level since 1/15, and has declined Y-o-Y in five of the last six months. Moreover, in the Northeast the index is down 2.4% Y-o-Y, and is down 2.5% Y-o-Y in the Midwest. In the South, … [Read more...]


Wasted Witches

 Between 1300 and 1850, 80,000 people were tried for witchcraft in Europe. Half the trials and executions took place between 1560 and 1630, during the Protestant Reformation. On a per capita basis, Switzerland held the most trials, 980/100,000 people, and killed over 6,000 witches, 60% of those … [Read more...]


Good GDP

 The US economy easily shook off the effects of recent hurricanes and GDP in 17Q3 rose by 3% following a 3.1% rise in 17Q2, the best two-quarter performance since mid-2014. That said, Y-o-Y GDP growth is still just 2.3% and inflation remained weak, with the Fed’s preferred measure rising at a rate … [Read more...]


Sweet Sap

 The Friday file: It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, and each tree produces 15 gallons of sap/year. 72% of global maple syrup comes from Quebec, down from 82% in 2003. Trees can only be tapped when nighttime temperatures fall below 32°F but are above that during the day. Due … [Read more...]