What Kind of EconoTroll Are You?

Noah Smith of Noahpinion has published a taxonomy of commenters found on economics oriented blogs. It struck me that a lot of them sounded awfully familiar but I couldn’t quite put types to aliases. So I invite ATiMers to self-diagnose and pick what arbitrary ill-fitting bin they belong in. Feel free to mix and match. Choices include:

Post Keynesian
Market Monetarist
Modern Monetary Theorist
New Classical

As for myself, I have to classify myself as a Krugmanite, a type mentioned in the comments, since Krugman is the only economist I actually ever agree with even if I can’t understand anything labeled ‘wonkish’.

Morning Report 9/27/12

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1434.2 7.3 0.51%
Eurostoxx Index 2507.7 9.2 0.37%
Oil (WTI) 91.23 1.3 1.39%
LIBOR 0.36 -0.002 -0.55%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 79.74 -0.141 -0.18%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.64% 0.03%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 194.5 0.1  


Markets are higher this morning on speculation of further stimulus measures out of China, in spite of some lousy economic data. Bonds and MBS are down.

2Q GDP was revised down to +1.3% from +1.7%. Big revision downward. Durable goods slumped 13% on a decline in aircraft orders.  Revisions were down across the board. About the only bright spot was a drop in initial jobless claims to 359k.  While some might dismiss the drop in durables as just normal volatility, I would point out that Caterpillar has already warned.  Speaking of which, we are getting pretty close to pre-announcement season, when companies that are going to miss their quarter fess up to the Street.  

Yesterday’s report from the Commerce Department noted that sales of new single-family houses in August were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 373k, up 28% from Aug 11.  The shocking statistic from the report was that the median sales price of a new home was 257k, up 17% from a year ago. The homebuilders aren’t reporting price increases like that –  KB Homes said sales prices were up 5% YOY in their 3Q results, while Lennar reported a 4% price increase.  Is it perhaps that bigger houses are being sold now and that accounts for the increase?  Nope – McMansion builder Toll Brothers reported prices increased only 1%, and we all know that the remaining problems in the real estate market are at the high end, where it is cheaper to buy than build. And if prices really were increasing 17% YOY, housing starts wouldn’t be 750k, half of the 1959-2002 average run rate.  So something fishy is going on – perhaps Commerce is trying to put out good statistics to help Obama’s campaign and intends to quietly revise the numbers downward once he gets elected.

The first time homebuyer is still struggling to get involved in the real estate market.  The latest NAR Confidence Index Report showed that first time homebuyers were only 31% of all sales, much lower than their typical 40% share.  Tight credit and cash buyers account for the drop. Buyer traffic has jumped considerably over the past year, while seller traffic has remained flat. 


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