U.S. Postal Service Denied Rate Increase

| September 30, 2010

The U.S. Postal Service was denied a proposed increase in rates after its regulator said the agency couldn’t justify the request. The decision left the price of first-class stamps unchanged at 44 cents. The Postal Regulatory Commission in Washington today said the service couldn’t support a proposal for an average increase of 5.6 percent when the inflation rate is […]

Terror Threats And Alerts In France

| September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010     The Eiffel Tower was evacuated Sept. 28 after an anonymous bomb threat against the symbolic Parisian tourist attraction was phoned in; no explosive device was found. The day before the Eiffel Tower threat, French authorities closed the Gare Saint-Lazare in central Paris after an abandoned package, later determined innocuous, was […]

21’st Sequential Weekly Money Outflow From Stock Market

| September 29, 2010

Money flows have shown limited effects on markets recently. The Government and trading robots are now in total control.  This unusual minimal negative effect would not have happened in the 1970-2000 markets.   ICI has just reported that in the week ended September 22, domestic equity mutual funds saw a 21st sequential outflow of $2.5 billion, bringing the total Year To Date […]

Credit Scores…How Important Are They?

| September 29, 2010

People with a credit score below 620 who want a loan were unlikely to receive even one quote, according to real-estate web site Zillow.com, even if they offered a down payment of 15%-25% for a home.  Zillow notes that 29% of Americans have a credit score this low, according to data provided by myFICO.com. “Today’s […]

Ever Wonder Why Stock Markets Tend To Dive In October Of Every Year

| September 29, 2010

Thoughts from Art Cashin on the floor of The New York Stock Exchange “The months of May and October have always broken hearts on Wall Street.  In fact when I studied under the Moose Head (at Eberlins) it was a frequent subject.  Prior to 1929 it was almost logical.  We were an agrarian society and […]

Harrisburg Hires Lawyers….Considers Bankruptcy Idea

| September 28, 2010

The City Council of Harrisburg, capital of Pennsylvania has voted to hire lawyers to explore bankruptcy protection. The City Council voted 5-2 tonight to seek professional advice on bankruptcy or state oversight. Harrisburg needed state aid to avoid default on $3.3 million of bond payments this month. The city, which has 47,000 residents, and has missed […]

47 House Democrats Want To Extend Investment Tax Cuts

| September 28, 2010

September 28,2010 Stephen Ohlemacher Associated Press      WASHINGTON – A group of 47 House Democrats are telling party leaders they want to continue Bush-era tax cuts on investment income, breaking ranks with President Barack Obama and exposing divisions among Democrats over their party’s pre-election message about taxes. The lawmakers, led by Rep. John Adler, D-N.J., have […]

Conference Board’s Sentiment Index Declined More Than Expected To 48.5

| September 28, 2010

The Conference Board’s sentiment index declined to 48.5 this month, lower than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the weakest level since February, according to figures from the New York-based private research group today. In another report home prices cooled, hurt by a slump in sales following the end of a […]

The Marrage Reversal

| September 28, 2010

For the first time in at least a century, the proportion of  U.S. adults between 25 and 34 who have never been married exceeded those who are married, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. In 2009, the proportion of adults 25 to 34 who had never been married was 46.3%, compared to 44.9% […]

CIA Says Terror Plot Planned On Europe And The West

| September 27, 2010

Heightened Terror Threats In Europe WASHINGTON….. In an effort to preempt a suspected terrorist plot(s) against European targets, the Central Intelligence Agency has targeted missile strikes against militants in Pakistan’s tribal regions, according to current and former officials. The strikes, launched from unmanned drone aircraft, represent a rare use of the CIA drones to preempt a possible […]

Los Angeles Breaks All Time Heat Record After Cool Summer

| September 27, 2010

Los Angeles breaks heat record……Monday was the hottest day ever recorded in downtown L.A. as the weather station at USC hit the 113-degree mark, breaking the old all-time high of 112 set on June 26, 1990. It makes Monday the hottest day ever since records in downtown L.A. started being kept in 1877, said Stuart […]

Paul Krugman’s New York Times Op-Ed

| September 27, 2010

It looks like we could have saved the U.S. tax payers a few trillion dollars if the government would have realized the basics of the problems a year and a half ago!  New World Thinking: The government can save everything.  Reality: The government can’t save anything but will try, in the process it will usually make things worse!   Paul Krugman […]

Computer Worm Stuxnet Locks On To Iran Nuclear Power Plant

| September 26, 2010

Let’s be careful what we wish for here, as this sets up a dangerous precedent of a new type of worldwide cyber warfare in the future.   TEHRAN, Iran—A complex computer worm capable of seizing control of industrial plants has affected the personal computers of staff working at Iran’s first nuclear-power station weeks before the facility is to […]

Pushing On A String By John Mauldin

| September 26, 2010

Thoughts from the Frontline Weekly Newsletter  Pushing on a String    by John Mauldin September 24, 2010 In this issue: Pushing on a String Let’s Shift the Focus An Invitation to an Inflation Party Ten Years and Counting This week the Fed altered their end-of-meeting statement by just a few words, but those words have […]

U.S. Saves Major Credit Unions

| September 24, 2010

Two years after the financial crisis, the federal government has stepped in to stabilize a crucial part of the credit-union sector knocked down by losses on subprime mortgages. A summary of an article from the Wall Street Journal is reviewed below. Regulators announced Friday a rescue of the nation’s wholesale credit unions, underpinned by a federal guarantee valued at $30 billion […]

Forbes Ranking of 400 Wealthiest Americans

| September 23, 2010

The cutoff for the Forbes 400 wealthiest americans list is back up to $1 billion after falling to $950 million last year, and on average they are down about 13% from the high mark a few years ago. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp., remains the richest American with estimated assets of $54 billion, according […]

Interesting Tid Bits

| September 23, 2010

Three out of every five Americans are overweight. One in five are obese. Indeed, there are only two areas (one state, Colorado, and Washington DC) where obesity rates are under 20%. Nearly three in four of us don’t get enough sleep.  Almost one third of us report having trouble falling asleep EVERY night. And almost […]

So, How Do We Stand Since The Economic Peak Several Years Ago?

| September 23, 2010

According to David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff: Wages & salaries are still down 3.7% from the prior peak; Corporate profits are still down 20% from the peak; Real GDP is still down 1.3% from the peak; Industrial production is still down 7.2% from the peak; Employment is still down 5.5% from the peak; Retail sales […]

House Republicans Seek To Repeal The Costly Cumbersome Health Law, Cut Spending, And Extend Expiring Tax Cuts

| September 23, 2010

Is there a message to Congress in this! House Republicans announced a governing agenda today that would cut federal spending, extend expiring tax cuts and repeal the Democrats’ health-care law. The program was released by party leaders at a hardware store in Sterling, Virginia, as Republicans make their case to voters to retake the House […]

Goldman Sachs Says Tax-Cut Expiration Would Erase First-Half U.S. Growth

| September 23, 2010

Even a temporary lapse in the tax provisions “would essentially wipe out most of the modest growth we expect in the first half of 2011,”  Goldman Sachs Letting all of the roughly $270 billion in tax cuts lapse would subtract almost 10 percentage points from annualized disposable income growth in the first quarter of 2011. […]

Consequences Every Place In The New World Normal

| September 23, 2010

Sorry, But The Answer Of Too Much Debt Is Not More Debt In Price Is Knowledge If you told Rip van Bondtrader that gold had risen to a record during his decade-long slumber, he’d want to know what the inflation outlook was, and how badly he’d gotten killed on his bond investments. He’d be astonished to […]

Worldwide Slow Down Is Starting (Again)

| September 23, 2010

This May Be Just The Begining As The Entire World Slows!  It’s A Process…..And It Will Likely Take Time To Totally Unfold.   U.S. Jobless Claims Jump The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose by 12,000 to 465,000 last week, as labor weakness persists. Ireland  GDP Drops Unexpectedly Ireland had a surprise decline in its second-quarter […]

20’th Consecutive Outflow From Domestic And Mutual Equity Funds

| September 22, 2010

The stock market is now virtually unchanged in 2010, even as almost $80 billion in equity-capital has been withdrawn.   So here is the question: How is this possible?  Well….it’s a deep subject and we don’t know! 20’th Consecutive Week Of Outflows Beginning on May 5, there have been 20 consecutive outflows from domestic mutual equity funds. […]

The Worst Of All Worlds….Spending On The Rise, And Assets In Demise

| September 22, 2010

Next up….Currency evolved hyper inflation caused by the Fed’s actions to save the world, as the dollar becomes worth much less and commodities without debt attached go vertical (such as food, gold, silver, farm land etc.).   The only real question seems to be when, not if.  In the U.S. we are trying to work through the legacy of accumulating lots […]

How Tough Is It Out There…..Just Ask Walmart

| September 22, 2010

Talk about tough times out there, this shopping habit says it all. Bloomberg:  Wal-Mart CEO “I don’t need to tell you that our cus­tomer remains challenged…You need not go farther than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it’s real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m. customers start to come […]

China Real Estate

| September 21, 2010

From Art Cashin on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange………. China– Getting solid data out of China is never an easy task.  The problem raises constant questioning of the validity of any data.  That having been said, there are stunning numbers circulating on the real estate situation in China. There are said to […]

The Shadow Knows!

| September 20, 2010

“An incredible 14% of the nearly 54 million first liens in the country are now either delinquent or in default” the Real Estate Channel’s Keith Jurow, observes. “To come up with a total for the shadow inventory, let’s first add the total number of loans in default to those delinquent 90 days or more since […]

Household Wealth Chart

| September 20, 2010

According to calculations from the Federal Reserve, household wealth tumbled a whopping $17 trillion during the crisis – or about 27%. Since the depths of the crisis, however, Americans have recovered about $5 trillion of household wealth. Only $12 trillion to go! For perspective, $12 trillion is nearly equal to one year’s US GDP. It’s […]

Hard To Believe, But Russia Is Largest By Land Size By A Huge Margin And Brazil Is Almost As Large As The United States

| September 18, 2010

The New Normal: Social Security As We Know It Will Have To Change

| September 18, 2010

The End of Social Security As We Know It By Ian Mathias Baltimore, Maryland On September 30, America will quietly begin a generational shift. This will be the final day of the government’s fiscal year 2010, and consequentially, a very notable day for Social Security. September 30 will be the last day – maybe for […]

Personal Consumption Expenditures Are Still To High

| September 18, 2010

Gary Shilling In terms of spending and saving, note that whatever has been going on in the consumer arena has been supported by massive federal stimuli. Those stimuli may persist at near current levels in future years due to chronic high unemployment, as noted in earlier Insights, but seems unlikely to rise at the rates […]

The Consumer Goes On Strike

| September 18, 2010

By Gary Shilling Consumers Go On Strike It wasn’t until late 2008 that we had the collapse in home equity as house prices nosedived (Chart 2), rising layoffs (Chart 3) and the drying up of consumer lending drove consumers into retrenchment. But they suddenly went on a buyers strike in the last four months of 2008, […]

Pension Problems Growing Larger By The Year

| September 17, 2010

The median expected investment return for more than 100 U.S. public pension plans surveyed by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators remains 8%, the same level as in 2001   “It’s unrealistic,”  according to John Bogle, founder of mutual fund giant Vanguard.  He says the return assumptions in place at most pension plans can’t be meet. […]

Best Commodity Bet? Goldman Sees A Clear Winner

| September 17, 2010

By Bloomberg News September 17, 2010 The best returns in commodities over the next 12 months will probably be in energy and the biggest losses in agriculture, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said. The bank is forecasting a 27 percent advance in energy over 12 months, a 17 percent jump in precious metals and a 15 […]

California Jobless Rate Climbed To 12.4% In August

| September 17, 2010

What happened to the recovery everyone was talking about a few months ago?  Inquiring minds want to know! California’s unemployment rate rose to a three-month high of 12.4 percent in August as non-farm payrolls lost 33,500 jobs, the California Employment Development Department said. The jobless rate increased from 12.3 percent in July, the department said […]

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index Declines Unexpectedly

| September 17, 2010

Maybe the government isn’t reading the room, how can anyone say the consumer sentiment drop was unexpected! Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly dropped to a one-year low in September, indicating the biggest part of the economy is being held back by a struggling labor market. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment fell to […]

Household Net Worth Statistics

| September 17, 2010

Key words here: Households managed to pare down their debts for the ninth-straight quarter, largely by defaulting on mortgages and credit-card debts. The Federal Reserve reported Friday that household net worth—stocks, bonds, homes and other assets, minus mortgages and other debts—fell 2.8% to $53.5 trillion in the second quarter, driven by a sharp decline in […]

Income Distribution…..50% Of Our Population Lives On $46,326 Or Less

| September 16, 2010

The median household income in the United States is $46,326.  That means 50 percent of our population lives on $46,326 or less a year.  Dual earner households have a higher median income at $67,348. To highlight this discrepancy, here is a chart showing how the household income is distributed: More at: http://www.mybudget360.com/how-much-does-the-average-american-make-breaking-down-the-us-household-income-numbers/

Baseline Blue Emissions Chart

| September 16, 2010

While the world is expected to reduce emissions to 50% by 2050 in the BLUE scenario, it is the OECD that will bear the real burden. Non- OECD countries can get away with just a 50% reduction; OECD countries are looking at cutting 70-80% of their 2007 emissions. This would mean that the electricity sector for […]

Poverty Rate Increases To 43.6 Million Americans Or 14.3% Up From 13.2% In 2008

| September 16, 2010

Incomes for the average U.S. household fell slightly last year after  substantial government aid and actions of families doubling up and young adults moving in with their parents muted the impact of the worst recession since the 1930s, the Census Bureau said Thursday. The bureau’s annual snapshot of American living standards also found that the fraction of Americans […]

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