Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Consumer confidence unexpectedly deteriorated in December, while prices of single-family homes fell almost double the expected pace in October, tempering growing optimism on the economy's recovery.
The regulators said one reason for the increase in foreclosures is that banks have "exhausted" options for keeping many delinquent borrowers in their homes through programs such as loan modifications.
Newly-initiated foreclosures increased to 382,000 in the third quarter, a 31.2 percent jump over the previous quarter and a 3.7 percent rise from the same quarter a year ago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) said in a quarterly mortgage report.
The number of foreclosures in process increased to 1.2 million, a 4.5 percent increase from the second quarter and a 10.1 percent increase from a year ago, according to the regulators.
A blizzard in the U.S. Northeast this weekend postponed about $1 billion in holiday retail sales by keeping shoppers out of stores in the days after Christmas, research firm ShopperTrak said on Wednesday.
The snowstorm shut roads and canceled flights in New York City and created havoc across the Northeast, where shopper traffic was 11.2 percent below ShopperTrak's expectations for Sunday December 26 and off 13.9 percent on Monday December 27.
The total, based on an analysis of third-quarter financial results by The Wall Street Journal, is up from 86 in the second quarter, reflecting eroding capital levels, a pileup of bad loans and warnings from regulators. The 98 banks in shaky condition got more than $4.2 billion in infusions from the Treasury Department under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The United States is stepping up security at “soft targets” like hotels and shopping malls, as well as trains and ports, as it counters the evolving Al-Qaeda threat, a top official said Sunday.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
It takes a level of 90 to indicate a healthy economy, which hasn't been approached since the recession began in December 2007.
Employers added a net total of only 39,000 jobs last month, a sharp decline from the 172,000 created in October, the Labor Department said Friday. The weakness was widespread. Retailers, factories, construction companies, financial firms and the government all cut jobs.
The disappointing figures caught economists off guard. They had predicted the addition of 150,000 jobs, based on a raft of positive reports that showed busier factories, rising auto sales and a good start to the holiday shopping season in November. Yet all that failed to translate into mass hiring.
One of the big surprises was the loss of 28,100 retail jobs last month despite signs of a busy holiday shopping season.
These numbers show an economy in stagnation, with no real momentum in any direction.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Excluding food and energy costs, prices were flat for a third straight month and the increase from a year ago of 0.6 percent was the smallest since records started in 1957.
US housing starts plunged to a near-record low in October while building permits were flat amid a depressed real-estate market, official data showed Wednesday.
Construction on new homes dropped nearly 12 percent from September, to an annual rate of 519,000 units, the Commerce Department reported.
The pace of construction was the weakest since April 2009, when a record low of 477,000 was reported in the data series that began in 1959.
The list of ObamaCare exemptions grows:
A few weeks later, McDonald's finagled its own Obamacare waiver after warning federal regulators that it could be forced to drop its affordable health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 restaurant workers unless it got a pass.
In early October, the Obama administration announced it had granted waivers not only to McDonald’s, but also to several other firms and labor unions.
Now comes word that Torquemada HHS Secretay Kathleen Sebelius has approved a whopping 111 waivers for businesses of all sizes, along with more unions and other providers of health insurance.
This doesn't include the growing list of companies that are already planning to drop healthcare coverage all together, since they figured out it's cheaper to pay Uncle Sam the per-employee fine than to continue proving health insurance.
Friday, November 12, 2010
The new round of cash the Federal Reserve is pumping into the U.S. economy to spur job growth could create bubbles that do the very opposite, some Fed officials are warning.
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher suggested this week that a bubble is already forming in private equity, with cheap debt fueling high-priced deals in an echo of the torrid days of leveraged buyouts before the subprime credit crisis cut off financing in 2007.
Fisher, who argued against the U.S. central bank's decision earlier this month to buy $600 billion in Treasuries to boost the recovery, told a San Antonio audience on Monday he is concerned about signs of "speculative activity" in buyouts, along with stocks, bonds and commodities.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2."
"We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."
Thursday, October 21, 2010
"So Juan Williams is fired for saying something the liberals at NPR find controversial?... One more piece of evidence that liberals have forgotten how to be liberal."...
"These are the kind of people who brag about how open-minded they are -- as long as you agree with them. And here's the dirty little secret: lots and lots of liberals feel the same way Juan does when they get on an airplane. And a lot of those liberals work at NPR. Juan's 'crime' was saying it out loud."
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Banks foreclosed on 102,134 properties in September, the first single month above the century mark, RealtyTrac said. There were 347,420 total foreclosure filings in September, 3 percent higher than August and 1 percent higher than a year earlier...For the quarter, there were 930,437 foreclosure filings, an increase of 4 percent over the prior three months... The firm said foreclosures could spike after a brief lull if lenders are able to quickly resolve the paperwork questions."However, if the documentation issue cannot be quickly resolved and expands to more lenders we could see a chilling effect on the overall housing market as sales of pre-foreclosure and foreclosed properties, which account for nearly one-third of all sales, dry up and the shadow inventory of distressed properties grows - causing more uncertainty about home prices," [James] Saccacio said.
The Treasury Department has relied heavily on private companies and troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to manage the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, a report released on Thursday said.
The report by the congressional panel overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), said that the $437 million in Treasury contracts to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and private companies to manage critical aspects of the bailout program raised a number of concerns about public oversight and conflicts of interest.
More people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the first rise in three weeks and evidence that companies are reluctant to hire in a slow economy.
Initial claims for unemployment aid rose by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 462,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was only the second rise in two months.
Jobless claims have been stuck near 450,000 all year. Few employers see much reason to create many jobs, and some are still laying off workers.
The number of people continuing to receive benefits fell by 112,000 to just under 4.4 million, the department said. But that doesn't include several million people who are receiving benefits under extended programs approved by Congress.
The number of people on extended benefits dropped by about 340,000 to about 4.8 million in the week ending Sept. 25, the latest data available. All told, about 8.6 million people received unemployment aid that week.
...the U6 unemployment rate, which includes the unemployed, those marginally attached to the labor force (discouraged), and those working part time for economic reasons, at 17.1%. That is the highest point over the past year, and probably since the Great Depression......the average recession since World War II has been 10 months, with the longest previously being 16 months. The recession began in December, 2007, 34 months ago by now...Based on the long standing history and rhythms of the American economy, we should have had a booming recovery by now. Even more so, since the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. Real economic growth in the first 4 quarters of Reagan's recovery from the deep 1981-82 recession was a whopping 7.7%. Even the recovery under President Ford from the deep 1973-74 recession sported real economic growth of 6.2%.
No president of the United States can create either a budget deficit or a budget surplus. All spending bills originate in the House of Representatives, and all taxes are voted into law by Congress. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress before Barack Obama became President. The deficit he inherited was created by the Congressional Democrats, including Sen. Barack Obama, who did absolutely nothing to oppose the runaway spending. He was one of the biggest spenders.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
The economy turns out to be weaker than we thought, and the outlook for the rest of the year is now looking dimmer.
New figures issued Friday show the economy struggled this spring, growing at a meager 1.6 percent annual pace. The initial estimate was 2.4 percent, and even that was anemic. Analysts say the summer should be disappointing, too.
Shortly after the government's revision, Federal reserve chief Ben Bernanke said the Fed was ready to take additional steps to prevent a second recession, if the economy deteriorates further. But he stopped short of promising any action.
The Fed "will do all that it can to ensure continuation of the economic recovery," he said.
Umm.... okay... what?!... another "stimulus" bailout?... print more paper money?... drop interest rates close to zero like Japan did in the late 80s?... *sigh*
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The Dow Jows closed under 10,000 today.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"Sales of previously occupied homes plunged last month to the lowest level in 15 years, despite the lowest mortgage rates in decades and bargain prices in many areas.
July's sales fell by more than 27 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. It was the largest monthly drop on records dating back to 1968, and sharp declines were recorded in all regions of the country.
The plunge in home sales also magnified fears about the broader economy.
"The housing market is undermining the already faltering wider economic recovery," said Paul Dales, U.S. economist with Capital Economics. "With the increasingly inevitable double-dip in prices yet to come, things could yet get a lot worse."
Sales were particularly weak among homes in the lower- to mid-priced ranges. For example, in the Midwest, homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 tumbled nearly 47 percent.
The weakness follows a strong spring, when now-expired government tax credits sparked sales, especially among first-time buyers of lower-priced homes.
The tax credits caused many of those buyers to speed up their home purchases. Sales have weakened since the credits expired on April 30.
As sales have slowed, the inventory of unsold homes on the market grew to nearly 4 million in July. That's a 12.5 month supply at the current sales pace, the highest level in more than a decade. It compares with a healthy level of about six months.
One reason the market is hurting is that buyers and sellers are in a standoff over prices. Many sellers are reluctant to lower their prices. And buyers are hesitating because they think home prices haven't bottomed out." [bold emphasis mine]
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In the first of a series on Journolist, Daily Caller reporter Jonathan Strong lays out a strategy plotted by Journolist members to kill the Jeremiah Wright story during the 2008 primaries — and to smear Barack Obama’s critics as racists.
If I told you that the president had a list of people that he could assassinate and it was a list of people that were on the battlefield and off the battlefield, your friends wouldn't believe me. If I told you that these were American citizens, that the president who campaigned against scooping Arabs off the street without due process had a list of people that he deemed a danger and a terrorist threat, American citizens that without due process would be assassinated, your friends wouldn't believe me.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
More than 1 million American households are likely to lose their homes to foreclosure this year, as lenders work their way through a huge backlog of borrowers who have fallen behind on their loans.
Nearly 528,000 homes were taken over by lenders in the first six months of the year, a rate that is on track to eclipse the more than 900,000 homes repossessed in 2009, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing service.
"That would be unprecedented," said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac.
By comparison, lenders have historically taken over about 100,000 homes a year, Sharga said.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
New razors have been fodder for parody for more than a quarter century. In 1975, the inaugural episode of "Saturday Night Live" included a mock commercial for a three-blade razor with the slogan, "Because you'll believe anything."
The introduction of Gillette's Fusion razor, kept secret until its debut in 2005, was eerily predicted the year before by the satirical Onion newspaper, which ran a fake memo from a shaving executive bragging about besting a competitor's four-blade razor by making one with five...
The companies know they're pushing the bounds of credulity. "When we talk to guys, we hear them say, 'It's all a bunch of hype,'" says Gillette spokesman Damon Jones. "Our strategy was to tackle the skeptics head on," giving away hundreds of thousands of free ProGlide razors around the launch last month.
"As we enter into any innovation, obviously there's a level of skepticism," says Dan Kinton, senior brand manager for Schick's Hydro...
Brian Crowell says he has driven up to 20 miles to find a store that stocks two-bladed Gillette Good News disposable razors, introduced in 1976.
"If these disappear one day, I will be devastated," says Mr. Crowell, a 44-year-old professional golfer in Bedford Hills, N.Y.
He, too, keeps a stash at home. But he keeps it secret, lest his wife or daughters snag one. "I'm uncomfortable revealing my hiding spot," he says...
Mr. Meyers is considering investing in a supply of Gillette's two-blade Sensor Excel, introduced in the U.S. in 1994, which he used years ago. "Frankly, that gives a beautiful shave," he says.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, July 02, 2010
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Stocks began the third quarter with more selling after disappointing reports on jobs, housing and manufacturing deepened concerns about the economy... The government said initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 13,000 last week to 472,000. Economists had forecast a drop. The report comes a day after payroll company ADP said private employers didn't ramp up hiring as much as expected last month.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
U.S. consumer confidence was rocked in June as Americans fretted about the weak jobs picture and more turbulence in the financial markets, a new report showed on Tuesday.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dropped to 52.9 in June, sharply below a reading of 62.7 in May and not even close to the 62.8 reading economists had forecasted. The 9.8 point drop in June marked the steepest decline since February.
A darkening view of the economy sent bond market interest rates to their lowest level in 14 months and kept many investors out of the stock market.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, considered a benchmark because it's used to set rates on consumer loans including mortgages, fell to 3.03 percent Monday, its lowest point since late April 2009.
"... government needs to, “Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending!”
Home prices in April rose for the first time in seven months as government tax credits bolstered the housing market. But the rebound may be short-lived now that the incentives have expired [ummm, yeah, 'cause it expired on April 30].