• Strengthening Strip

    YTD gaming revenue in Vegas is $4.06 billion, down just 5.2% from Jan-May 2019, and YTD auto traffic is up 5.6% compared to two years ago. However, deplaned passengers and room nights are both down 41%. But, comparing 5/21 to 5/19, gaming revenue is up 25.9%, auto traffic is up 9.8%, and deplaned … [Read More...]

  • Judge Judy

    The Friday File: Since starting in 1996, Judy Sheindlin will have adjudicated roughly 12,750 cases when her last show airs on 6/8/21. Judge Judy has had the #1 first-run show in syndicated TV for 11 straight years, and is on track for a 12th, with an average of 7.8 million viewers. That is why her … [Read More...]

  • Pool Problem

    The Friday File: In addition to semiconductor, chicken wing, and lumber shortages, you can add chlorine. When Covid-19 first, hit DIY handwashing solutions often recommended adding chlorine powder. Add to that a surge in the demand for pools, and a fire in a chlorine manufacturing plant, and … [Read More...]

  • Monetary Machinations

    The Powell Fed has made it clear it will continue purchasing Treasuries and MBS for the foreseeable future and keep short-term rates at rock bottom levels, but will not counter rising long-term rates. This is because financial conditions are loose, and liquidity is plentiful. Moreover, the Fed sees … [Read More...]

  • Asset Appraisals

    Through 20Q2, the value of US farmland was $2.6 trillion, and investment grade bonds (BBB rated debt and higher) were valued at $6.4 trillion. That pales compared to Treasury bonds which were worth $19.9 trillion, and US commercial real estate at $20.4 trillion. Equities were almost double that at … [Read More...]

Jul
28

Work Where?

After instantaneously falling to 5%, the percentage of persons working in an office building slowly rose to 20% by late 10/20. It then reversed and steadily fell to just 10% by Christmas. Since, it’s consistently risen and is now 25%. The city with the highest percentage of persons in the office is … [Read more...]

Jul
27

Dwelling Decline

June new home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of just 676,000/year, and May was revised sharply down. As recently as 1/21 sales were 993,000/year but have fallen sharply and are now below their pre-Covid-19 run rate. Moreover, months of inventory are jumping. After bottoming … [Read more...]

Jul
26

Rate Reduction

Since mid-March, the rate on the 10-year Treasury bond has eased from 1.74% to just 1.30%, despite rising inflation. Partly it’s Fed Chair Powell’s consistent message that inflation is transitory, but there’s more. Monetary stimulus is expected to be removed earlier than previously thought, less … [Read more...]

Jul
23

Outrageous Orbiting

The Friday File: According to some astronomers, space begins at the exosphere, the outermost layer of the atmosphere, about 435 miles high. According to most, it’s the Karman Line, 62 miles above Earth, and beyond which lift from the air can no longer keep winged craft aloft. To the FAA, it’s just … [Read more...]

Jul
22

Retirement Reckoning

Two reasons for the worker shortage that get little attention include retirements and business formation. From 2012 through 2019, annual retirements averaged about 2 million/year. In 2020, 3.2 million workers retired! In 2018 and 2019, business applications were 3.5 million/year. In 2020, 4.4 … [Read more...]

Jul
21

Housing High

While house price appreciation is blowing past wage appreciation, reducing affordability, there are countervailing forces. Rates remain low, and critically, US household wealth grew by a staggering $13.5 trillion in 2020, half from equities. However, stock and home ownership are not evenly … [Read more...]

Jul
20

Understated Unemployment

While the official unemployment rate is 5.9%, that’s an underestimate. Adding up persons receiving regular unemployment insurance, pandemic extended benefits, and those collecting pandemic assistance, totals 15 million. That divided by the labor force of 161 million gives an unemployment rate of … [Read more...]

Jul
19

Debt Debacle

A two-year suspension of the debt ceiling that passed in 2019 will expire on 7/31/21, 12 days from now. Congress must either extend the current suspension or pass a higher debt ceiling limit. If neither occurs, the Treasury will relatively soon be unable to pay all its bills. While this kabuki … [Read more...]

Jul
16

Milk Movement

The Friday File: While fluid dairy milk consumption has declined from 247 lbs/person in 1975 to 146 lbs/person in 2018, fattier milk is very popular. 38% of households have 2% milk in their refrigerator, followed closely by whole milk at 36%. Non-dairy milk is stocked by 12% of households, 1% milk … [Read more...]

Jul
15

Interesting Inflation

While June annual inflation as measured by core CPI was 4.5%, the highest rate in decades, Treasuries were unmoved. Price increases for used cars and trucks singlehandedly drove one-third of the index rise. More generally, 90% of the items in the basket were up 2% Y-o-Y, while 10% of the items were … [Read more...]