Apr
19

Mate Meeting

The Friday File: In 1995, 2% of couples met online, today it’s 39%. Meeting in bars went from 19% to 27%. Other methods have significantly declined. Meeting through friends has fallen from 33% to 20%, meeting through coworkers has dropped from 19% to 11%, meeting through family has tumbled from 15% … [Read more...]

Apr
18

Global Growth

While hardly surprising, the IMF cut its forecast of 2019 global economic growth to 3.3% from 3.5% in January; 3.7% in October. A key reason; world trade, which had been growing at 5%/year for a long time, slowed to 3.8% last year and is forecast to grow just 3.4% in 2020. Advanced economies will … [Read more...]

Apr
17

Shanghai Stimulation

In March, Chinese lending activity hit its highest level in a decade, the money supply is now growing at its fastest pace in a year, and exports have completely recovered from their dismal December. Thus, the stock market is up 33% YTD, and 10-yr Chinese Government bond yields have jumped from 3.1% … [Read more...]

Apr
16

National Numbers

Based on 4/19 IMF data and growth projections, US GDP will end 2019 at $21.3 trillion, China will follow with GDP of $14.2 trillion, then Japan at $5.2 trillion and Germany at $4.0 trillion. The big news; India will leapfrog both the UK and France to become #5 at $3.0 trillion. The UK will follow at … [Read more...]

Apr
15

Tax Time

Based on an IRS study from 2016 which looked at tax years 2008-2010, the size of the tax gap, the amount of money owed the IRS but not paid, averaged $406 billion/year. That means 16% of taxes went unpaid; about 2.8% of GDP. If the gap today is the same proportional size as it was then, the gap is … [Read more...]

Apr
12

Bad Batting

The Friday File: This past Monday, Baltimore Oriole’s First baseman Chris Davis went 0-for-5, and in the process set a major league record of 49 straight at-bats without a hit.  Wednesday night he made it 57 straight plate appearances without a hit, tying a major league (futility) record. However, … [Read more...]

Apr
11

Presidential Popularity

Going back to President Truman in the 1940s, President Trump’s approval rating has shifted less than any other sitting president. At its peak, Trump’s approval rating is 47%, at its trough it’s 38%. Obama’s approval rating was the next most stable, swinging just 16 points, and Clinton’s followed, … [Read more...]

Apr
10

Petroleum Profitability

For the first time ever, the profitability of the Saudi Aramco Oil Company was recently disclosed. In 2018, Aramco’s profit was a stunning $111 billion, easily dwarfing the world’s second most profitable firm Apple, which earned $59.4 billion. Apple is worth almost a trillion. Aramco is worth no … [Read more...]

Apr
09

Nasty Nominations

Nasty Nominations The nominations of Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the Fed are a direct attack on its independence. Both called for higher rates when a Democrat occupied the White House and have conveniently reversed now that a Republican is there. While two votes won’t alter outcomes now, who … [Read more...]

Apr
08

Jolly Jobs

March’s job report was virtually perfect. 196,000 new jobs, upward revisions of 14,000 for January and February, wage growth that is steady at 3.2% Y-o-Y, the broadest measure of unemployment at 7.3%, its best showing since 3/01, and hours worked up from 34.4/week to 34.5/week. This report suggests … [Read more...]