Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Baack!

The Family camping trip was very enjoyable. We spent a couple of days at Navajo Lake in UT which sits at an elevation of 9,200 feet, so while Vegas baked in 110 degree afternoon temps, we enjoyed cool nights in the 40's and afternoons in the 70's. No phone, TV or internet service to distract, so my days were spent 1) monitoring the beer supply -- ensuring it was ice cold and would last the trip and 2) determining what would be BBQ'd next... Really tough days indeed... Picture below:

Enough about my weekend and moving on to today's Economic News:

The DOW fought to stay in the green today but closed slightly in the red. With all the economic reports due later this week (Consumer Confidence, New Home sales, Durable Orders, Existing Home Sales, Initial Claims, Personal Income and Spending, etc) I imagine it's quite possible to see it fall below key support levels by end of week. Keep an eye on 11,650... If we break it, look out below!

With that said, Helicopter Ben also speaks this week. Markets will be on edge for what he says ("I'm an inflation fighter"), more than what he does (which is nothing). Though he will talk tough, unless he wants to crater the banking/financial/housing markets more than that seen thus far, I can't imagine that he will increase rates at any point later this year (remember I'm predicting a 1.5% FFR by EOY).

More Goldilocks Economic News Reports today:

EU puts severe restrictions on largest Iran bank

Iran's largest bank will today be subjected to an asset freeze and severe restrictions over its operations in the City of London after the European Union decided to impose fresh sanctions on Tehran.

In its latest attempt to put pressure on Iran over the development of its nuclear programme, the EU yesterday agreed to impose the restrictions on Bank Melli, which has branches in Paris and Hamburg and a unit in London called Melli Bank.

The EU also agreed to impose sanctions targeted on individuals and businesses, which the west alleges are linked to Iran's nuclear and ballistic programmes.

Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts

John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush's successor is sworn in.

Note: You may wonder why I talk about IRAN so much and question how it relates to our economy...

Well, If IRAN is bombed, expect a few Chinese Silkworm missiles to sink a couple of Oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and consequently, gas to spike to $10 within a week -- potentially causing fuel shortages, and delays/shortages/price hikes in everything brought to market (food, etc). This could potentially lead to social unrest in certain areas. The significance of this event can not be understated

GM Cuts Truck Production, Adds No-Interest Financing

General Motors Corp. reduced its North American truck production plan and added no-interest loans on many 2008 models after a consumer shift to cars contributed to a 16 percent drop in its U.S. sales through May.

``No one knows where the bottom is in this sales environment,'' David Healy, an analyst at Burnham Securities Inc. in Sierra Vista, Arizona, said in an interview. ``GM has plenty to be worried about since they derive so much of their sales from these large trucks.''

The company will idle 7 pickup and sport-utility vehicle plants in the U.S., Mexico and Canada for as long as 12 weeks this year under its latest production cut, Sapienza said. The reduction is in addition to a plan to close four North American factories and trim output by 500,000 units by 2010

United to Eliminate 950 Pilot Jobs

United Airlines said on Monday that it planned to reduce its fleet and eliminate about 950 pilot jobs beginning this summer, in addition to the 1,600 salaried positions it has already said it will cut.

United’s parent, UAL, which is based in Chicago, has made a series of moves in recent weeks to battle rising fuel costs, including grounding at least 70 planes.

UPS Reduces Profit Forecast on Fuel Costs, Economy

United Parcel Service Inc., the world's largest package-delivery company, lowered its second- quarter profit forecast because of rising fuel costs and a slowing U.S. economy.

``The weak U.S. economy, record high fuel costs and shippers trading down -- you combine all these things and it's a tough environment,'' said Craig Hutson, a bond analyst in Chicago at independent research firm Gimme Credit LLC.

Last week, FedEx Corp. posted its first quarterly loss in 11 years and projected earnings that fell short of analysts' estimates. The second-largest package-shipping company also blamed fuel costs and slowing demand for express shipments.

Citigroup Readies More Job Cuts Under Pandit's Plan

Citigroup Inc. may begin another round of job reductions as soon as this week under a plan drawn up in March to cut the trading and investment-banking workforce by 10 percent, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

The largest U.S. bank has eliminated about half of the 6,000 jobs targeted since then, said the person, who declined to be identified because Citigroup hasn't disclosed the plans publicly. Citigroup employs more than 300,000 people worldwide and has announced about 13,000 job reductions this year.

The world's largest banks and brokerage firms have slashed more than 80,000 jobs since subprime mortgage defaults infected credit markets and led to almost $400 billion of writedowns and losses.

``I see more downsizing to come,'' said Andy Mantel, managing director of Pacific Sun Investment Management Ltd. in Hong Kong. ``Banks need to take precautionary measures.''

If you haven't already seen this video, suggest you do -- it's quite fitting: Job Market 2009

Scuffles break out in line for Wis. food vouchers

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pushing and shoving broke out Monday among some of the 2,500 people hit hard by recent floods who lined up outside a county office in hopes of collecting free food vouchers.

Some residents told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they heard from friends or at food pantries that they could get free vouchers to replace food lost in recent floods and power outages. However, the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center was only taking names for a state voucher program.

Scuffles began breaking out around 7 a.m. with people shoving, pushing, and taking a door off its hinges, bringing police in dozens of cars, authorities said.

"The food crisis in Milwaukee — and throughout the United States — is worse than many of us have realized," Hines said in a statement. "We expect long lines for free food in Third World countries; we don't expect a line of 2,500 people waiting for food vouchers at the Marcia P. Coggs Center."

Have a great evening



Gary Near Death Valley said...

Welcome back, nice to get away but nice to return. In a previous note I had mentioned I had solar/wind but a year and a half ago disconnected it, due to the batteries after 7 years starting to go bad.

Pahrump is light years behind the rest of the world, but just this April they OK'd for home owners to connect their solar/wind system to the grid, like Nevada Power has done for some time. Anyway am getting it rewired and up to date and will be connected to the grid within a week or so. So much better then maintaining the batteries over and over and over.

Patrick said...

As Airlines Cut, Other Industries Feel the Pain

When an airline sneezes, does the entire travel business catch a cold? Maybe. Experts say that as airlines raise fares and cut routes, they'll squeeze other businesses who depend on a constant flow of passengers to keep the money rolling in.

Patrick said...

L.A. seeing more people living out of their cars

LOS ANGELES: Having lost her job and her three-bedroom house, Darlene Knoll has joined the legions of downwardly mobile who are four wheels away from homelessness.

She is living out of her shabby 1978 RV, and every night she has to look for a place to park where she won't get hassled by the cops or insulted by residents.

Justin_n_IL said...

WELCOME back Randy!!! Missed u, well your posts anywayz(hehe)