• 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
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...]

Sep
08

Good Growth

August’s employment report was strong. 1.4 million new jobs, a higher labor force participation rate, and a decline in the unemployment rate to 8.4% from 10.2%! Ignoring the hiring of 238,000 temporary Census workers, job growth is still down from 4.8 million in June, 1.7 in July. Permanent job … [Read more...]

Sep
04

Vacation Void

The Friday File: This Labor Day 67% of us will grill, 36% will watch a movie, 35% will enjoy quiet time, 27% will do an outdoor activity, 26% will attend a party, and 23% will go shopping. In the Before Days, we went to ball games, music & food festivals, county fairs, block and pool parties, … [Read more...]

Sep
03

Disturbing Debt

Prior to the Housing Bust, the US Debt-to-GDP ratio was 35%, and prior to Sars-Cov-2 the ratio was 82%. By the end of 20Q2, it was 105.5% of GDP, a staggering rise resulting from $2.8 trillion in new spending and a decline in GDP of 9%. The last time the ratio was this high - the end of WWII. Among … [Read more...]

Sep
02

Terrific Ticketing

After making $2.8 billion in airline ticket change fees in 2019, 15% of all revenue, the three legacy carriers have largely eliminated them (until they reimpose them). Carriers are desperate to encourage air travel, as the airline recovery stalled in early July. Worse, while cheap vacation travel … [Read more...]

Sep
01

Car Costs

Car Costs After essentially flatlining since 2014, used car prices collapsed by about 15% during the Great Lockdown of March/April 2020. Since then, they have staged a furious rally, making up all losses and some. Why? A sudden reluctance to take public transit, a strong desire to decamp to lower … [Read more...]

Aug
31

Richer Replacement

If Congress and the President fail to reinstitute a federal top-up to the expired $600/week in enhanced unemployment benefits, by January GDP will decline by 1.25%, one million jobs will be lost, and the unemployment rate will rise by 0.75 percentage points. If the top-up is $300/week as per Trump’s … [Read more...]

Aug
28

Missing Merchandise

The Friday File: Prior to Covid-19, the average percentage of out-of-stock items in stores and online at any given time was 6%. Today, 21% of household paper products are unavailable, 18% of household cleaners are not on the shelves, and 18% of canned vegetables are unobtainable. For carbonated … [Read more...]

Aug
27

Interest Implementation

Today, Fed Chairman Powell made two small but very significant policy changes. Historically, when the unemployment rate got too low, the Fed would preemptively raise rates to reduce potential inflationary pressures. Now, the Fed will let the rate fall until inflation becomes too high. Second, the 2% … [Read more...]

Aug
26

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...]