• First-Time Financing

    With mortgage rates dipping last week by 24bps to 6.9%, the largest decline since July 2022, and home prices trending down since peaking in June, first-time mortgage applications spiked a pleasant 4.4% W-o-W for the week ending 11/11/22. Still, they remain down 39.9% Y-o-Y. As for refinancing, … [Read More...]

  • Deficit Decline

    While last year’s budget deficit (FY21) was $2.8 trillion, the preliminary estimate of the FY22 deficit, which ended 9/30/22, is $1.4 trillion, a decline of 50%. This total includes $426 billion for student-loan debt relief but excludes income-driven repayment relief, as those plans have not been … [Read More...]

  • Contract Cancellations

    Last month, new home contract cancellations hit 14.5%, their highest level in years outside of 4/20’s Covid-tainted peak of 16.5% and are 30% above their seasonally adjusted pre-Covid rate. Similarly, the percentage of pending-home sales that fell out of contract in June hit 14.9%, their highest … [Read More...]

  • Fuel Foolishness

    Reducing the federal gas and diesel taxes from 18.4 cents/gallon and 24.4 cents/gallon, respectively, to zero for three months, would cost the Treasury $10 billion, and probably not much help consumers. That’s because the slightly lower price would boost demand but won’t boost refining capacity, the … [Read More...]

  • Bear Behavior

    Since the start of the Great Depression, there have been 22 bear markets, defined as a stock market decline of more than 20%. The average duration of those bear markets is 11 months. The median duration is eight months. The shortest bear market was in 2020, just a month; the longest was the dotcom … [Read More...]

Nov
18

Soccer Scoring

The Friday File: With the World Cup beginning Sunday, here are my odds of victory for the top nations. Brazil 5/1, Argentina 6/1, France 7/1, England 9/1, Spain 9/1, and Germany at 11/1, and the US at 100/1. As for the tournament’s top goal scorer, Harry Kane of England is my pick at 8/1 followed by … [Read more...]

Nov
17

Super Sales

While October retail sales rose 1.3% M-o-M and 8.3% Y-o-Y, these numbers are not inflation-adjusted. After inflation, retail sales have completely flat-lined since 3/21. What is much more interesting is that during 3/21 retail sales were $28 billion/month or 13% above their pre-Covid trend and at … [Read more...]

Nov
16

Diesel Dearth

Strong demand for ultra-low sulfur diesel, combined with reduced global production, has resulted in U.S. diesel inventories, measured in days of supply, being at their lowest level since 2008. Moreover, U.S. refiners have increased diesel exports from 25% to 30% of domestic production to take … [Read more...]

Nov
15

Export Excellence

In 22Q3, net export growth contributed 2.8 percentage points to GDP. Since overall GDP grew 2.6%, absent strong net export growth GDP would have been slightly negative. Real exports increased 14.4% during 22Q3 while real imports declined 6.9%. However, with the U.S. dollar surging in value, the U.S. … [Read more...]

Nov
14

Crypto Collapse

Once the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, FTX recently declared bankruptcy. It’s hard for an honest exchange to fail, FTX wasn’t. It lent billions of its customers’ crypto to a sister firm who used the borrowed crypto to make failed bets. Once this was discovered, the crypto involved, as it … [Read more...]

Nov
11

Valorous Veterans

The Friday File: Veterans Day was first celebrated as Armistice Day on 11/11/19, the first anniversary of the end of WWI, and in 1938 it became an official holiday. In 1954, President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day to honor all those who have served our nation. Today there are 17.4 … [Read more...]

Nov
10

Improving Inflation

Slightly lower October inflation lets the Fed reduce the upcoming December rate hike from 75bps to 50bps. That said, October inflation was 7.7% Y-o-Y, and while down from 8.2% in September, there’s way more ground to cover. Core also declined, to 6.3% Y-o-Y from September’s 6.6%, the highest rate … [Read more...]

Nov
09

Minimal Multiples

A year ago, 52% of existing homes for sale received multiple offers. That percentage slowly declined to 47% by 11/21 but then quickly peaked at 72% in 3/22, shortly after the Omicron surge. The percentage of homes receiving multiple offers has since declined for six straight months and is now 21%. … [Read more...]

Nov
08

Political Process

When the President and Senate are Republican, and the House Democratic, the S&P 500 averages a 13.7% return. When everything is reversed, which may happen at this midterm, returns average 13.6%. When the President is a Democrat and the Capitol Republican, the S&P 500 averages 13%. When D.C. … [Read more...]

Nov
07

Loving Labor

October net job growth was a strong 261,000, although this is the weakest number since 12/20 and job growth has been slipping since its 2022 peak of 714,000 in 2/22. While unemployment ticked up to 3.7% it remains very low. The labor force participation rate slipped to 62.2%, and wage growth remains … [Read more...]