70 Words

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...]


Inescapable Inflation

CPI inflation rose a whopping 1% in May and is up 8.6% Y-o-Y, it’s fastest pace since 12/81! Worse, inflation is increasingly broad-based. Y-o-Y, groceries are up 11.9%, their fastest rise since 1979. Services, 45% of GDP, are rising at 5.7% Y-o-Y, their fastest pace since 3/91 and have risen … [Read more...]


Consumer Credit

Since 2012, consumer credit has risen $15-20 billion/month. Non-revolving credit, which includes student and auto loans, accounts for two-thirds of the monthly rise and revolving credit, which consists of credit-card accounts, comprises the rest. Since 11/21, consumer credit growth has averaged over … [Read more...]


Hockey Hero

The Friday File: Today, Guy LaFleur died. He was the first hockey player to score 50 goals and 100 points in six straight seasons, won five Stanley Cups with my Montreal Canadiens, is in the Hall of Fame, and was sublime to watch. He was the greatest player of the 1970s and was my childhood hero. He … [Read more...]


Record Resignations

In September, the latest month for which data exists, a staggering 3% or 4.4 million US employees quit their jobs. At the bottom of the wage-scale it’s due to a desire to avoid face-to-face contact. That should dissipate as jobs are reengineered and Covid hopefully fades. At the top end, … [Read more...]


GDP Guesstimate

One day before being announced, the Blue-Chip consensus of top business economists predicted 21Q3 GDP growth of 4%. The Atlanta Fed GDPNow model anticipated 0%. To prove all wrong, 21Q3 GDP was 2%! The future, even when a day away, is unknowable. GDP fell from 6.7% in 21Q2 due to the rise of the … [Read more...]