Morning Report – A considerable time 3/20/14

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1848.1 -4.1 -0.22%
Eurostoxx Index 3053.4 -22.9 -0.75%
Oil (WTI) 99.67 -0.7 -0.70%
LIBOR 0.234 0.000 -0.11%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.26 0.268 0.34%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.78% 0.01%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104.7 0.0
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103.6 -0.1
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 200.7 -0.2
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.36
Markets are lower after yesterday’s FOMC meeting sent rates higher and stock lower. Initial Jobless Claims came in at 320k, lower than expected, but higher than last week.
In other economic indicators, the Philly Fed Business outlook rebounded in March, and the index of leading economic indicators rose. Existing Home sales were virtually flat at 4.6 million units. The median home price rose to $189,000, a 9% increase year-over-year. The NAR notes that most of the price appreciation is at the higher price points – the lower price points (sub $250k) are actually falling. In fact, most of the price appreciation is in the $1 million + bucket.
Stocks and bonds sold off on the FOMC statement as investors re-calibrated their estimates as to when rates will begin to rise. The 10 year bond sold off about 6 basis points, but the real action was in the 2 year where rates jumped from 34.7 basis points to close at 42 basis points. In the press conference, Yellen threw out the (probably offhand) comment that “a considerable time” could mean “six months” and that was the catalyst for the bond market sell-off. You can read some of the parsing here. As expected, the Fed cut asset purchases by $10 billion a month. They also got rid of the 6.5% unemployment target and went to more qualitative guidance, as expected.
The Fed released their latest economic forecasts – unemployment and GDP were lowered, while inflation was increased. The forecast for when rates would rise shortened a bit, while the expected rate increased. We will have to wait for the minutes to get a better read on what is behind that.
Homebuilder Lennar is up a couple of percent pre-open after reporting first quarter numbers that beat expectations. Orders increased 10% in units and 25% in dollar value. ASPs rose 18%. and gross margins increased 300 bps. This was the highest first quarter margin in the company’s history. The company felt it was still a little too early to predict the strength of the spring selling season, but hopefully they will give some color on the 11:00 am EST conference call. The big question will be whether they can still push through price increases or have we reached the point where it is depressing traffic.

58 Responses

  1. So after forcing banks to implement huge and massively expensive changes to their infrastructure in order to accommodate new D/F reporting requirements on derivatives, the CFTC finally admits that it has no understanding of the huge amounts of data that it is collecting, and will probably be changing the requirements in the future. Typical government operation…no f-ing clue and costing people money for no reason whatsoever.

    Oh yeah….frist.

    Like

  2. It’s a criminal enterprise.

    Like

  3. Maybe if they had consulted with the securities industry when drafting the legislation they wouldn’t have had these problems…

    Like

  4. “consulted with the securities industry”

    well, you’d have to talk to dirty lobbyists. and they were to busying issuing waivers to hire them to staff other part of the administration.

    Like

  5. I think I’ve come to the conclusion (again) that the only person on PL worth engaging at all is Shrink2.

    Like

    • jnc:

      I think I’ve come to the conclusion (again) that the only person on PL worth engaging at all is Shrink2.

      Is Bernie still around?

      Like

  6. she’s just angry is all. i still say it’s “oh, NoVA or JNC = copy and paste nonsense” regardless of what i say.

    “i like puppies.”

    “nova, it’s simplistic and childish ideology that has no bearing on the actual world.”

    Like

  7. not sure, scott

    Like

  8. Yes he is.

    Like

  9. JNC .. i think my original post here was a defense of Catholicism and libertarin politics. not that i want to get into it over there.

    Like

  10. sigh. http://gawker.com/woman-dies-after-attempting-to-give-herself-a-boob-job-1548029488

    I torn between just calling this a nominee for the Darwin’s, but you have just hate yourself to do this, right?

    Like

  11. “ScottC, on March 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm said:

    jnc:

    Yes he is.

    Does he engage you or just ignore you as a propagandist?”

    Ignore. And it’s pretty much mutual as I ignore most of what he writes too. He hasn’t posted very many substantive posts recently. His most frequent theme is to involve the old Richard Hofstadter “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” and other pseudo scientific tracts to “prove” that conservatives, et. al. are mentally ill, etc.

    I don’t even bother engaging with that.

    Like

  12. “novahockey, on March 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm said:

    JNC .. i think my original post here was a defense of Catholicism and libertarin politics. not that i want to get into it over there.”

    Like I said, I agree with Ayn Rand. Completely coherent and consistent objectivism requires atheism as a prerequisite.

    Like

    • jnc:

      Completely coherent and consistent objectivism requires atheism as a prerequisite.

      Why do you think so? I know Rand was herself a pretty passionate atheist, and there are a lot of specific religious beliefs that Objectivism necessarily rejects, but I don’t think the mere belief in god sits in opposition to Objectivism.

      Like

  13. i’m out of the club.

    Like

  14. Don’t worry. Most of us aren’t completely coherent or consistent.

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  15. And just when I want to write off PL, it did reference a good blog with an excellent writer.

    “The Founding (and forgotten) Father Of The Pro-Choice Movement”
    http://thesterlingroad.com/2014/01/22/the-founding-and-forgotten-father-of-the-pro-choice-movement/

    “The Military Mindset Behind ‘Stop & Frisk’”
    http://thesterlingroad.com/2013/08/13/the-military-mindset-behind-stop-frisk/

    “The Sad Tale of Howard the Soldier”
    http://thesterlingroad.com/2013/11/11/the-sad-tale-of-howard-the-soldier/

    Like

  16. Scott, I agree with her point that once you accept reason and your individual happiness as your highest values, that precludes subordinating them to the precepts of a religion based on “God said so” as the ultimate authority.

    Now, that may get into hair splitting between being a pure atheist vs merely rejecting organized religion as a source of authority.

    Edit: I suppose that you could believe that God existed and set the universe in motion and then stepped back, ala the deist explanation that’s often ascribed to the founders, but any sort of argument based on getting into heaven or an afterlife due to adhering to a moral code that’s proscribed in the Bible or similar document is at odds with objectivism.

    Like

    • jnc:

      I suppose that you could believe that God existed and set the universe in motion and then stepped back, ala the deist explanation that’s often ascribed to the founders, but any sort of argument based on getting into heaven or an afterlife due to adhering to a moral code that’s proscribed in the Bible or similar document is at odds with objectivism.

      Yes, that is what I meant by specific religious beliefs being in opposition to Objectivism. But I don’t think it is really splitting hairs to distinguish between, say, specific Christian theology and a much more general (and morally neutral) belief in some kind of “prime mover”.

      nova:

      A good friend of mine has been toying with the idea of writing a book about the compatibility between Catholicism and libertarian politics. I think there is an interesting case to be made. In fact I sort of think that libertarian politics is not only compatible with, but in some ways necessary to, catholic morality. (BTW, for what it is worth, I left the church, and theism generally, many moons ago.)

      Like

  17. “reason and your individual happiness as your highest values”

    i’m not sure i’d frame my politics that way.

    Like

  18. This seems good enough for me:

    “Ayn Rand wrote volumes urging people to be selfish.

    What? Aren’t people already too selfish? Just do whatever you feel like, be a thoughtless jerk, and exploit people to get ahead. Easy, right? Except that acting thoughtlessly and victimizing others, Rand claims, is not in your self-interest.

    What Rand advocates is an approach to life that’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Selfishness, in her philosophy, means:

    Follow reason, not whims or faith.
    Work hard to achieve a life of purpose and productiveness.
    Earn genuine self-esteem.
    Pursue your own happiness as your highest moral aim.
    Prosper by treating others as individuals, trading value for value.”

    http://www.aynrand.org/ideas/overview

    Like

  19. Actually Nova, I don’t think I correctly addressed your point. You are right, you don’t need to frame your politics that way. Rand’s Objectivisim is a moral philosophy, not necessarily a political approach.

    The great thing about libertarianism is that none of us have to care about the other’s moral code for the most part as we eschew using the state to enforce it beyond preventing harm to others.

    Like

  20. “he great thing about libertarianism is that none of us have to care about the other’s moral code for the most part as we eschew using the state to enforce it beyond preventing harm to others.”

    which is why they are compatible, i think. we’re getting to the same place, just taking a different path.

    Scott, it’s a fascinating area. What really bugs me is seeing Church teaching as justification for socialism/marxism.

    on captial and labor. it might not be mini-archy, but the progressives will find no quarter here. see parapgarhs 32 and 33 edit [and 37, 38. ]

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html

    Like

    • nova:

      What really bugs me is seeing Church teaching as justification for socialism/marxism.

      Agreed! In fact that is partially what is driving my buddy. He and I were talking about it one night. When catholic doctrine implores you to feed the poor, it is an individual responsibility. It means take some of your own food and give it to a poor person, not vote for politicians who will take food from someone else and give it to a poor person. Paying taxes to support a welfare state is not a fulfillment of one’s catholic obligations to help the poor.

      Like

  21. I always thought that “render unto Caesar” nicely captured the division between church and state from the get go.

    Like

  22. They’re all complicit. Rate hike threat is just negotiating over how much taxpayer money is given to them next year.

    That must make progressives happy.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-03-19/obamacare-s-war-of-leaks

    Like

  23. “Paying taxes to support a welfare state is not a fulfillment of one’s catholic obligations to help the poor.”

    No, but the Church does say the state has a responsibility in that regard. you just can’t take other people’s stuff to do it. i think the confiscatory taxes or outright taking of property is out.

    Like

    • nova:

      No, but the Church does say the state has a responsibility in that regard. you just can’t take other people’s stuff to do it.

      Trouble is, the state can’t do anything without taking other people’s stuff.

      Like

  24. I think I’ve come to the conclusion (again) that the only person on PL worth engaging at all is Shrink2.

    I’m personally offended.

    Like

  25. well, there’s that. but i think there’s a world of difference between provided for the common good through taxes and paying off varies interest groups by decrying “the rich” or some other target.

    Like

    • provided for the common good through taxes

      The sticking point being what is the common good. I happen to think free and universal education is a common good. I’m increasingly thinking health care is as well. Not having starving masses rocking your limousine on the way to the bank to collect your dividends can be seen as a common good as well.

      Even the ancient Romans recognized the value of bread and circuses. Although perhaps they are more of cautionary tale than an example to follow.

      Like

      • yello:

        The sticking point being what is the common good.

        Ah yes…the conversation destroying defining of terms.

        Like

      • yello:

        Not having starving masses rocking your limousine on the way to the bank to collect your dividends can be seen as a common good as well.

        A common occurrence in the hell-on-earth days prior to Obamacare.

        Like

    • noav:

      but i think there’s a world of difference between provided for the common good through taxes and paying off varies interest groups by decrying “the rich” or some other target.

      Agreed.

      Like

  26. The key is it has to be local to the extent possible and the program has to respect the dignity of the beneficiary. I think most programs fail to meet such a requirement. and i’d include public schools in that.

    Like

    • nova:

      The key is it has to be local to the extent possible and the program has to respect the dignity of the beneficiary.

      Again, agreed. Keeping things local makes it possible for different visions of what constitutes the common good to co-exist. To me, lots of things might redound in some vague way to the benefit of a wider number of people than the immediate beneficiary, but that doesn’t make that thing a “common good”. Public education or government paid-for health care is, first and foremost, an individual good. It may (or may not) end up providing ancillary benefits to a wider community, but at inception it is an individual good provided to a given person on the public’s dime. It is nothing remotely like roads, or national defense, or a police force, which are of a totally different nature.

      Like

  27. ” limousine on the way to the bank”

    is that what that was? tough to see from the helicopter.

    Like

    • nova:

      is that what that was? tough to see from the helicopter.

      It’s amusing to see new government spending policies promoted as solutions to problems that don’t actually exist.

      Like

  28. No wonder the roads feel bumpy when I’m being driven around.

    Is there no cake for these miscreants!

    Like

  29. To: The Motherfucker
    From: Reason
    Re: Gadsden Flag

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/03/21/gadsden-flag-too-racist-for-government-b

    Like

    • NoVA,
      Saw a Gadsen Flag license tag on a Mercedes the other day and thought of you.

      My beef with the Gadsen Flag as a political symbol is its implicit threat of armed insurrection. But I’m a First Amendment Absolutist so fly it proudly next to your rainbow flag. That should confuse everybody.

      Like

  30. Son of A Bitch! Now we’ll have to go back to cross burnings! Could some one link to a site for current dog whistles?

    Like

  31. yellojkt, on March 21, 2014 at 8:23 am said:

    I think I’ve come to the conclusion (again) that the only person on PL worth engaging at all is Shrink2.

    I’m personally offended.”

    Should have clarified that I meant people who only post on PL without also posting here. Otherwise that would have meant that I didn’t think NovA was worth engaging either or Mark.

    Like

  32. Yellow, I presume you’ve seen the official Virginia Tea Party license plates.

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Virginia-Bill-Asks-For-Tea-Party-License-Plate-107289168.html

    Like

    • Yup, that was the plate. The car was heading northbound on I-95 near Laurel, MD, so I have no idea what it was doing that deep in occupied liberal territory without being set on fire.

      Like

  33. “My beef with the Gadsen Flag as a political symbol is its implicit threat of armed insurrection.”

    Just like when the country was founded.

    Like

  34. Nuke the gay baby whales!

    For Jesus.

    Like

  35. Why shouldn’t a government be forced to tread lightly for fear of armed insurrection?

    Like

  36. Nuke the gay baby unborn whales!

    My favorite rallying cry of all time.

    Like

  37. Speaking of political correctness, I just got back from SeaWorld where their new mantra which is plastered everywhere is “SeaWorld Cares!” presumably to counter the bad publicity from the recent documentary condemning their practice of keeping marine mammals in captivity.

    Like

  38. still my favorite: Kids

    Like

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