Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Evolution

Time to understand the media's greatest lie.  Preliminary estimates.  

Here's the exercise.  Use a search engine and look for news "black friday results" and sort by most recent.  This is my google result .  Of course this will change over time but as of mid day Saturday the list looks like the Clinton Press Corps faced with a scandal.  Early reports include Walmart and Target releasing results on Friday.  

A mere 24 hours later an the reports are "tepid." 

I've been out 3-4 times.  I've never seen it so "tepid."  I blame the shutdown.  ;) 

Friday, November 29, 2013

EU Unemployment

Throwaway culture': Euro area youth unemployment soars amid 3-year overall low

Euro zone unemployment fell for the first time in three years in October to 12.1 percent, but youth unemployment hits another record-high, with nearly 6 million people between 18 and 25 with no work.
A total of 19.3 million people across the euro area were jobless in October, with the unemployment rate going slightly down to 12.1 percent from September's 12.2 percent, the European Union statistics office said in preliminary data Friday. 
Unemployment for the 28-nation euro zone stands at 10.9 percent, unchanged from September, with 26.654 million people out of work.


You watch.  The Happitalkers™  and lame street media will latch onto the 12.2% to 12.1% "decline."  Same thing happened here.  People are not being employed they are being thrown off the back of the bus. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Locarno Update

Readers, yes both of you, probably remember from last April:

Fourteen Year Old Tease

5471 Lorcano 92397

Back then it was noted there were strange things going on with asking price.  Good news.  It sold.  Bad news.  It sold for only $260,000. 

Despite the Government Shutdown...

Commerce Department Durable Goods report.

Capital Goods
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in October
decreased $3.2 billion or 3.9 percent to $77.9 billion.
Shipments increased slightly to $74.2 billion. Unfilled
orders increased $3.7 billion or 0.6 percent to $620.8
billion. Inventories increased $1.0 billion or 0.6 percent
to $174.2 billion. 
Defense new orders for capital goods in October
decreased $1.7 billion or 16.3 percent to $8.7 billion.
Shipments decreased $0.2 billion or 2.4 percent to $9.8
billion. Unfilled orders decreased $1.0 billion or 0.6
percent to $167.1 billion. Inventories decreased slightly 
or 0.2 percent to $23.0 billion. 


It actually does seem that the shutdown did affect capital purchases.  Sadly the lesson of the Federal government being so large it endangers the economy is lost on most. 

Initial Clams 27 Nov '13

As our good friend Karma Police over on Hoocoodanode so kindly reminded the commentariat this morning you have to come here to get the real analysis of the weekly initial unemployment claims data.  Good thing too because the week is a particularly suspicious report.  

From the report:

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 363,053 in the week ending November 23, an increase of 37,229 from the previous week. There were 358,869 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1 percent during the week ending November 16, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,684,088, an increase of 143,750 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.2 percent and the volume was 2,835,628.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending November 9 was 3,913,729, an increase of 38,437 from the previous week. There were 5,183,962 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2012.

 Okay.  363,053 resulted in a seasonally adjustment of -47,000 week over week. 

What about last year?  358,869 resulted in a seasonally adjustment of +31,000.

Enough said.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Road to HELOC is Not Paid with Good Intentions

From Business Insider:

(Reuters) - U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country's biggest banks.

The loans are a problem now because an increasing number are hitting their 10-year anniversary, at which point borrowers usually must start paying down the principal on the loans as well as the interest they had been paying all along.

More than $221 billion of these loans at the largest banks will hit this mark over the next four years, about 40 percent of the home equity lines of credit now outstanding.


Eh, what could happen?  Again. 

My Cancellation dot com
Mycancellation is a great resource for countering the know nothings who think ACA is no big deal for most already insured Americans. Click the big red button to go there. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Choo-Choo No-No

The CAHSR Authority has been dealt what is likely a fatal blow today.  Good. 
Judge blocks bond sale for high-speed rail project

Nov 25 (Reuters) - A California judge on Monday ruled against the state's plan to issue more than $8 billion in bonds to build a planned high-speed train system and rescinded the project's funding plan, estimated at $68 billion dollars.
"In this case, the Court can find no evidence in the record of proceedings submitted by plaintiffs that supports a determination that it was necessary or desirable to authorize the issuance of more than eight billion dollars in bonds under Proposition 1A as of March 18, 2013," he said in the ruling.


CAHSR has always been such a bad idea as designed that this is actually a good thing but the supporters won't ever see that. 

I would be all for a 220mph LA to SF system operational 2016-17 as was marketed in 2008.  I still am.  And there is the problem.  The proponents lie. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Get Your Excuses Ready

The impending holiday retail season bust has many legitimate reasons for falling short but it never hurts to have exogenous rationalizations handy.  From marketwatch we get this weather excuse:

Cold turkey? Forecast calls for chilliest Thanksgiving in nearly 60 years

  At least one meteorologist is predicting the coldest Thanksgiving week since the 1950s, driving a surge in energy demand and (attention shoppers!) perhaps even an early snowfall.

The cold snap would cover most of the eastern United States, led by a cold front sweeping down from Canada and a “double shot” of arctic air reinforcing the first front, said MDA Weather Services, a weather risk and commodities weather support company.
In the Midwest, temperatures will drop this weekend and moderate only slightly as the week wears on. Readings at least 10 degrees below normal are likely lasting through Thanksgiving Day, MDA said.
“Combined, the broad nature of the cold is set to produce the coldest Thanksgiving week since the 1950s...


 These turkeys deserve an award. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

DataQuick Las Vegas

DQNews Nov 22 2013:

There are two main reasons for the sharp annual gains in the median. First, prices have risen as stronger housing demand, fueled in large part by low mortgage rates, has met a relatively low supply of homes for sale. Second, the median has been tugged up by changes in market mix: Fewer homes re-selling now are low-cost distressed properties, while more are mid- to high-end move-up homes. 

 The data are interesting for several reasons.  Above DQ mentions interest rates and supply without going into why supply is low.  What I find interesting is the "mix" argument.  What if there really isn't a "move up" client but merely the purchase to rent contingent filling out their portfolio after having distorted the low end beyond profitability? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Science in 61 Seconds

Now you know why economics is not a science. 

Re-listed the New Pending

One of the early signs of the first lobe of the credit/monetary seizure back in 2006 was the failure to close real estate deals.  At the time it was a perfect storm; lack of qualified buyers, standards that couldn't get any lower, velocity of money, you all know the litany.  That's why when I start seeing routine sales cancelled and the property getting relisted I pay attention.

There are two types so it is important to be careful.  The first type is bank greed in an era of lax regulation.  Used to be the banks needed to get off the books any repossessed physical asset before the close of quarter.  That rule is dead and buried so these days a "short sale" like linked below is not a short sale but a bank trolling for BPOs (Best Price Opinions) before settling on a real price.

1471 IRENE St, Wrightwood, CA 92397
$166,000 3Beds 2Baths  1,428 Sq. Ft. $116 / Sq. Ft.

Nota bene.  Never trust square footage or price per square foot. 

$166k would cash flow for a private investor.  Certainly fully price but like I said, it cash flows.  Problem being, the $166,000 is not a price, it is an opening bid by a bank with negative incentive to deal. 

These distractions are just part of the new real estate scene. 

Then there are the transactions worth following.  These are the on market for days or weeks with no condition issues and market pricing.  When those start relisitng pay attention. 

646 MOUNTAIN VIEW Ave, Wrightwood, CA 92397
$169,900 1Beds  1Baths  850 Sq. Ft. $200 / Sq. Ft.

Come to the mountains.  See into the future. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Younger Dryas (Warning Climate Denial)

[Click for larger graphic] 
The last dozen pixels on the right hand size is the current out of control climate. 

Tech Minute

There's a new criminal in town.  The cryptolocker.

Here's a basic article with a vendor frosting of self serving sugar:


The easiest thing is a Windows rollback provided you have a decent setpoint. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dismal Xmas Season

First off. "Xmas." Horrid. It is the Christmas Season. At worst the Holiday Season. Good, that's out of the way. We aren't talking about anything but raw marketing and consumerism.

Holiday Spending Seen Rising 11 Percent, Accenture Estimates - 07 Oct 2013 02:58 PM U.S. consumers will spend 11 percent more this holiday season, starting with a jump in shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving, while looking for discounts in stores and online, according to a study by consulting firm Accenture Plc. During the seasonal crunch, U.S. shoppers are forecast to spend an average of $646 on gifts, compared with $582 they planned to spend on average last year, according to a study released by Dublin-based Accenture. Of those surveyed, 20 percent said they planned to spend more than last year while 62 percent said they will spend the same.
Holiday Spending Plans Plummet, Signaling Dismal Retail Season - Nov. 19, 2008 ANALYSIS by GARY LANGER Americans plan to cut back drastically on holiday spending this year, a dismal prospect for retailers in their most critical season. Fifty-one percent in this ABC News poll say they'll spend less this year than last on holiday gifts, matching the sharpest consumer retreat in polls dating back 23 years -- last seen ahead of the dreadful Christmas retail performance just after the 1990-91 recession. More, 68 percent, say they'll wait for sales before buying holiday items, even if that means missing out on things they really want -- 26 points higher than in a 1990 poll. And Americans on average say they'll spend $716 on holiday gifts, the least in polls since 1989 and more than 40 percent below its level three years ago.
Gallup: Holiday spending to dive Paul Ausick, 24/7 Wall St. 12 p.m. EST November 17, 2013 There's hope 2013 will be like last year, when consumers spent more than they planned. In 2012, consumers spent an average of $786 on holiday gifts, but if the latest poll from Gallup is correct they'll be sitting on the wallets this year. Americans say they plan to spend an average of just $704 on holiday giving in 2013. Of course, American consumers last year said they planned to spend $770 and ended up spending more. Retailers can only hope that the pattern repeats itself this year. When asked to compare planned spending for this year with last year, 57% of those surveyed said they planned to spend about the same amount as last year, while 26% said they planned to spend less and 15% said they planned to spend more.
Somebody is going to be correct. The truth is freaking easy. There are 6 fewer days this season including one entire less weekend.

Reactivating the Blog

Looks like another economic inflection point is forming and unfortunately the blogs I had expected to follow events are remiss. Worse the blogs I expected to be able to go to This blog is a bit of work but with no alternatives I'm up for it. More on why HCN is broken and more important why we need to keep blogging but for now leave suggestions in the comments. Next: Ghosts of Xmas Past.