May
31

Marijuana Money

The Friday File: The average retail price of an ounce of high quality weed in the US is $326, and a joint of the same quality costs $7.59. DC has the highest priced dope at $597.88/oz, followed by ND at $383.60/oz and VA at $364.89/oz. At the other end, in OR it’s just $210.75/oz, followed by WA at … [Read more...]

May
30

Abating Autos

After record auto sales of 17.40 million in 2015 and another record year of 17.47 million in 2016, auto sales slipped in 2017 and 2018 to 17.14 million and 17.19 million, respectively; good but not great numbers. YTD, sales are on a 16.8-million-unit pace, the weakest annual total since 2014. This … [Read more...]

May
29

Ambiguous Abodes

April new home sales came in at a decent seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000. New sales each month this year have been above their 2018 levels and new home sales are now at levels last seen in the mid-1990s. However, at 1,235,000, April new starts are weak and for each month this year starts … [Read more...]

May
28

Chinese Conundrum

China could reduce its Treasury holdings to signal displeasure with US trade policy, but I doubt it. In 2015 and 2016, foreign nations dumped lots of Treasuries and nothing happened. Moreover, where would the Chinese invest the money? Repatriating it would raise the value of the Renminbi and hurt … [Read more...]

May
24

Sumptuous Steak

The Friday File: 2.5% of American order steak rare, 22.5% request theirs medium-rare and 37.5% ask it be medium. Medium-well is requested 25.8% of the time, and well done 11.7%. The cut grilled least, prime rib with almost 40% of diners ordering it rare or medium-rare. Chefs consider steak with an … [Read more...]

May
22

Tough Television

Since 2014, thanks to cord-cutting due to streaming services, non-sports TV viewership has declined 11% at NBC to 6.8 million persons, 22% at CBS to 8.3 million, 25% at ABC to 5.9 million, and 27% at Fox to 4.2 million. Despite these precipitous drops, 2019 ad spending will decline just 1.4% from … [Read more...]

May
21

Stock Swings

Since 1896, the Dow has fallen by 2% or more in a day 1,011 times, or an average of once every 33 trading days, or an average of 7.6 times a year. That means that with the Dow now at almost 26,000, a price swing of over 500 points can be expected to happen, on average, once every seven weeks. Equity … [Read more...]

May
21

Infinitesimal Infants

In 2018, there were 3.79 million births, a 2% decline from 2017, the fourth straight year of declines, and the lowest level since 1986! Births have fallen in 10 of the last 11 years! Reasons include a decline in unplanned pregnancies, lower Hispanic fertility rates, and more women earning college … [Read more...]

May
20

Inflationary Impacts

The imposition of added tariffs on some Chinese goods and new tariffs on others will boost inflation by 0.1% to 0.3% depending on the inflation measure, with goods inflation and core inflation being pushed up more than services inflation or headline inflation. More importantly, the Fed is very … [Read more...]

May
17

Amazing Art

The Friday File: This past Tuesday, a Claude Monet painting titled Haystacks (of which there are 25, most of which are in one of 15 museums) sold for $110.7 million, a record price for a Monet and for an Impressionist work. Separately, on Wednesday, the sculpture Rabbit by Jeff Koons sold for $91.1 … [Read more...]