• Carbon Contraction

    In 2013, Exxon’s market capitalization was $415 billion, and it was the most valuable firm in the world. Today, it’s worth $180 billion. In 2008, energy comprised 13.3% of the S&P 500, today, it’s 2.5%. Recently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average bid adieu to Exxon, the longest tenured firm in … [Read More...]

  • Postal Processing

    Postal Processing In 2005, the USPS handled 25 billion pieces of first-class mail and periodicals, and 25 billion pieces of marketing mail, which includes flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and small parcels. Since then, first-class volume has fallen by 56% to 11 … [Read More...]

  • Glittering Gold

    With its recent rapid romp to over $1,900/oz, gold has easily surpassed the 2011 peak of $1,815/oz. In real terms, gold remains 5% below its 2011 high, and almost 50% below its 1980 peak. Why the melt up? Low interest rates, inflation fears as the Fed’s balance sheets skyrockets, a weakening dollar … [Read More...]

  • HELOC Help

    For the week ending 3/18/20, home equity loans outstanding rose $2.3 billion to $317.2 billion. Outside of an increase during the last government closure, this was the first increase in home equity loans since the week ending 2/1/12, when they rose $4.7 billion to $553 billion. This is identical to … [Read More...]

  • Frequent Flicks

    The Friday File: 8% of American who were recently surveyed considered “binge-watching” to consist of watching two straight episodes of a show. 27% thought three back-to-back episodes qualified as binge-watching, and 22% thought four episodes is what is needed. 13% thought it was five episodes, 5% … [Read More...]

Sep
22

Alternative Arrangements

Economists believe in free markets and the prices and outcomes they produce because they are generally much more efficient than the alternatives. Some, however, argue that government should have a larger role and point, for example, to the very high prices for PPP early in the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic. … [Read more...]

Sep
21

Great Ginsburg

There have been 119 Supreme Court Justices. The current number of nine came to be in 1869 after six earlier efforts. The longest serving, William O. Douglas at 36.6 years. Justice Ginsburg was on the bench for 27.1 years. She was a trailblazer for many, especially women, and flourished in the face … [Read more...]

Sep
18

Numerous Names

The Friday File: The fifth most popular US sports team name (including high schools, junior colleges, colleges, semi-pro leagues, and all professional leagues) is Wildcats with 969 teams. In fourth place is Panthers with 1,124 and in third is Bulldogs at 1,136. Comfortably in second is Tigers with … [Read more...]

Sep
17

Unsettling Uncertainty

Housing, autos, retail sales, and equities are doing well, as is manufacturing. But first-time claims for unemployment remain stubbornly high and permanent job losses are rising as the service sector necessarily shrinks. Congress and the White House can’t agree on the size of another stimulus … [Read more...]

Sep
16

Dismal Deduction

Taxes paid to state and local governments are currently deductible up to a maximum of $10,000/year. There is now talk of eliminating the cap. Why? 96% of the benefits of repeal would go to the top 20% of income earners, reducing their taxes by $2,640/year, 57% of benefits would benefit the top 1%, a … [Read more...]

Sep
15

Irrelevant Inflation

While the CPI rose by 1.3% Y-o-Y and core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy, is up 1.7% Y-o-Y, their highest levels since Sars-Cov-2 arrived, inflation will not be a concern for years. Inventory shortages, which have been a meaningful contributor will soon dissipate, and high … [Read more...]

Sep
14

Millennial Migration

In 7/20, 52% or 26.6 million adults ages 18-29 lived with at least one parent, up from 47% or 24 million in 2/20. This is the highest percentage since at least 1940 when it was 48%. This percentage bottomed at 29% in 1960 and has steadily risen since. Importantly, unmarried college students living … [Read more...]

Sep
11

Drink Data

The Friday File: In 20Q2, liquor imports totaled $1.8 billion, down from $2.5 billion in 19Q2. The decline has been severe for whisky and cognac/brandy; vodka and gin sales haven’t budged. With bars/restaurants closed, demand for high-end cocktail hooch is on ice. Trump’s tariffs imposed on European … [Read more...]

Sep
10

Carbon Contraction

In 2013, Exxon’s market capitalization was $415 billion, and it was the most valuable firm in the world. Today, it’s worth $180 billion. In 2008, energy comprised 13.3% of the S&P 500, today, it’s 2.5%. Recently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average bid adieu to Exxon, the longest tenured firm in … [Read more...]

Sep
09

Awesome Automobiles

Despite new auto sales being down but rebounding nicely, car prices are regularly setting price records. In August, the average new vehicle went for $35,420, up 6.1% Y-o-Y. The combination of limited inventory, cheap money, longer-term auto loans, inexpensive gas, and a desire to avoid public … [Read more...]