• 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...]

Sep
24

Big Betting

The Friday File: For the year ending 5/31/21, Nevada had the most legal sports wagering at $14.6 billion, resulting in $910 million in revenue and $61.4 million in taxes. NJ followed with a handle of $14.4 billion, $982 million in revenue, which was tops, and $121 million in taxes. Pennsylvania was … [Read more...]

Sep
23

Increased Inflation

Despite the Federal Reserve’s interest rate setting committee expecting slower growth this year than they did when they met in June, they strongly signaled that they plan to begin tapering their monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities as early as 11/21 and end them by 22Q3. … [Read more...]

Sep
22

Empty Evergrande

With debts exceeding $300 billion, 2% of Chinese GDP, Evergrande’s likely Thursday bankruptcy won’t be pretty. But it isn’t a short-term Lehman moment. Chinese banks are in good shape and can absorb losses, and if some can’t, Beijing will bail them out. The government will also make whole condo … [Read more...]

Sep
21

Capital Conundrum

Long-term capital gains are currently taxed at 20% and upon death there is tax-free step-up in basis, allowing heirs to only pay taxes on gains that occur after the original owner’s death. There’s now talk of raising long-term capital gains taxes to 39.6% while retaining tax-free step-up. This would … [Read more...]

Sep
20

Delta Decline

While clearly destructive, the US economy is proving surprisingly resilient against the Delta variant. August M-o-M retail sales rose a strong 0.7%, initial weekly unemployment claims just hit their two lowest readings since the pandemic, and manufacturing activity is steadily strengthening. While … [Read more...]

Sep
17

Your Yawns

The Friday File: While there is great debate about why yawning occurs, it appears that brain weight and yawn duration are highly correlated and the number of cortical neurons, a measure of brain complexity and yawn duration are spectacularly correlated. For example, a mouse yawn takes about 0.8 … [Read more...]

Sep
16

Expansive Exurbia

From the housing bust until the pandemic, home prices in neighborhoods within a 10- or 20-minute commute to the city center appreciated more quickly than more distant areas. Covid-19 has reversed that as people have moved further away yet almost always (think 95% or more) remained in the same metro … [Read more...]

Sep
15

Price Pressures

The CPI rose 0.9% M-o-M in June, 0.5% in July and just 0.3% in August. Similar Y-o-Y numbers show inflation declining from 4.5% in June to 4.2% in July and 4% in August, a nice decline! But, trimmed measures of inflation, which lop off items that increase the most and least to help reveal how … [Read more...]

Sep
14

Tolerable Trade

In the years leading up to the 2008/09 Housing Bust, the monthly US trade deficit regularly hit $70 billion/month, or $840 billion/year. At the time, that was a whopping 6% of GDP. Now, the US trade deficit is running at a much higher record rate of $90 billion/month or $1.1 trillion/year. But the … [Read more...]

Sep
13

Modern Mores

Non-marital childbearing has increased significantly among women of all educational levels. Over the last quarter-century however, the largest increase is among college-educated women 32-38. In 1996, the percentage was 4%, today it is 24.5%. Among women 32-38 with only a high-school diploma the … [Read more...]