Morning Report – Bond market continues to rally 8/8/14

Markets are higher this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are higher on international tensions. The 10 year bond yield is sporting a 2.3 handle this am.

Nonfarm Productivity rebounded to +2.5% in the second quarter. The first quarter was revised downward to – 4.5%. Unit Labor Costs rose .6%, while the prior quarter was revised upward from +5.7% to + 11.8%. BLS attributes the increase in costs to the downward revision in productivity and and a big upward revision in compensation from .4% to 4.8%. Not sure why BLS’s initial numbers were so far off.

Gutsy call on the bond market: Komal Sri-Kumar is predicting the 10 year will be trading with a 1 handle in six months. He thinks international tensions will be a drag on consumer confidence and he even suggests the Fed could re-start QE in 2015.

FWIW, economists are predicting 2.9% GDP growth in Q3 and 2.6% growth in Q4.

Wholesale sales and Wholesale inventories both came in lower than expected.

57 Responses

  1. KDW strokes Rand Paul a little. I tend to align him (Williamson) (well, Rand Paul as well) so It was interesting to me.

    Question, does Rand Paul scare anybody here? If so, can you explain why?

    “At the same time, Paul is not particularly enthusiastic about the glad-handing niceties that come with the job. ‘Good to see you,’ he mumbled, then flopped down into a chair in his office’s conference room and fixed me with an impatient stare.” Perhaps Senator Paul was pondering a question that often has puzzled me: What possible good can come from a Republican sitting down with the New York Times?”

    Ya think?

    Also, I’d like to believe this, and of all the potential candidates out there, I believe *he* believes it. The power of the office though, and those invested in that power are not going to give up easily or ever.

    Likewise, it is difficult to imagine him unilaterally arrogating power to the Oval Office simply because Congress is not behaving to his liking or the Supreme Court is standing in his way.

    http://m.nationalreview.com/article/384935/man-who-wouldnt-be-king-kevin-d-williamson

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  2. Brent, does trading with a “1 handle” mean bond interest rates will go down to 1.x %?

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  3. Lotta this going around.

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0G72KY20140807?irpc=932

    Hi hum, another non-scandal pushed by the wingnuts.

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  4. Mark, yes.

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  5. everyone makes mistake, bagger!

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  6. Hunh. Go figure. Another central planning failure.

    http://www.vox.com/2014/8/8/5980005/this-big-obamacare-hospital-reform-failed-in-year-one

    Prolly just didn’t make it big enough.

    Like

  7. To borrow a meme from Bad Santa, after reading this, Hack Sargent ain’t gonna shit right for a month.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelcannon/2014/08/07/halbig-critics-struggle-with-the-acas-legislative-history/

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  8. This is rich coming from President Obama:

    “”At the end of the day, the president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us. We have so many things going for us right now as a country — from new energy resources to innovation to a growing economy — but, he said, we will never realize our full potential unless our two parties adopt the same outlook that we’re asking of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians: No victor, no vanquished and work together.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html?ref=opinion

    As opposed to :

    “Obama to GOP: ‘I Won’”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/01/23/obama-to-gop-i-won/

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  9. Nope J, it’s the same outlook, his. That’s the only valid one. It’s as if irreconcilable differences are due to others intransigence.

    It’s similar to his “some say” horseshit that is much parodied. As in, some say we should nuke the entire world to rid ourselves of the ISIS menace, others say we should surrender to them and turn over our country to their leaders. I say there is a middle path.”

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  10. To all you middle aged guys who aren’t getting any younger, eat fish now!

    “There wasn’t one type of fish that was the best,” Raji told me by phone, probably while eating fish. “All that mattered was the method of preparation.” Fried fish had a unique dearth of benefits to the human brain.

    “If you eat fish just once a week, your hippocampus—the big memory and learning center—is 14 percent larger than in people who don’t eat fish that frequently. 14 percent. That has implications for reducing Alzheimer’s risk,” Raji said. “If you have a stronger hippocampus, your risk of Alzheimer’s is going to go down.”

    “In the orbital frontal cortex, which controls executive function, it’s a solid 4 percent,” Raji said. “I don’t know of any drug or supplement that’s been shown to do that.”

    Speaking of supplements, the researchers initially looked to omega-3 fatty acids as the driver of these benefits. But when they looked at the levels of omega-3s in people’s blood, it didn’t correlate with better brain volumes.

    https://trove.com/me/content/yAXKc?chid=168689&_p=trending&utm_source=wp&utm_medium=Widgets&utm_campaign=wpsrTrendingExternal-1-opt

    Like

  11. Friday night is barbecue night at our place. We have replaced the burger / potato salad menu with grilled fish, grilled veggies and wild rice. I make a little extra so leftovers can make lunch on Saturday.

    Grilled fish can be just as satisfying to a carnivore as a burger or steak if done right..

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  12. No reason to be forced to choose: Eat fish and steak.

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  13. Try cooking the fish over mesquite charcoal…………….especially good with any kind of bass, tuna or swordfish…………….Yummy, yummy.

    Good for you guys Brent! The less red meat the better afaic, but I don’t eat anything but fish anymore and the occasional chicken, and only if I cook the chicken myself, never at a restaurant.

    I thought the article was interesting on the benefits of fish, if true.

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  14. No reason to be forced to choose

    Agreed, I even cooked red meat for my husband for years…………….he’s done with it now though.

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  15. Perfect timing for ATiM.

    On Sunday, the New York Times Magazine will be running a 7,100-word puff piece that portrays the Libertarian Party as today’s hot, new, sexy political trend that is enthralling rebellious Americans of all ages and is finally having its day in the sun.

    The best-known Libertarians, such as U.S. Senator and 2016 presidential candidate, Rand Paul, are compared to dead and living rock stars. Serious, stilted and uptight mainstream Republicans sneer and snicker, and don’t quite get what’s depicted as Paul’s seemingly mystical appeal——who, we are told, dazzles even when evading simple questions.

    Reason magazine editor “Nick Gillespie is to libertarianism what Lou Reed is to rock ‘n’ roll, the quintessence of its outlaw spirit,” a typical passage reads.

    In 2014, we have the Sunday magazine of America’s most influential newspaper touting these anti-authoritarians, who claim to be the political purists that the country is calling for. It’s a ridiculous profile that amazingly overlooks the defining feature of the libertarian cause, which has almost entirely been bankrolled by the Koch brothers since the 1980s. That cause is to attack government at every level, because corporate America can make more money when government’s oversight shrinks.

    So we are brought to Washington, D.C. dinners where hosts blare, “Are you hungry for more liberty,” where the definition of liberty is freedom to do with your property as you please. Draper says Libertarians are hip, if not prescient, for supporting legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage, which are two of America’s leading change movements. He doesn’t mention that’s a happy coincidence, as these movement’s activists have labored for a long time under arduous conditions.

    Another set of data points not mentioned in the Times was the results of mid-July poll commissioned by Reason magazine of millennials’ political leanings. Guess who got 53 percent of the vote from under-30 year olds from across the country when asked about 15 possible presidential candidates, including Rand Paul?

    The Reason poll’s winner was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    LOL, LOL.

    http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/nyt-sunday-magazine-falls-hook-line-and-sinker-libertarians-big-propaganda-lie?page=0%2C0

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  16. Do you believe that the Koch brothers are only interested in reducing government regulation for their own selfish interest in their companies making more profits? That they don’t actually, sincerely hold Libertarian beliefs?

    No wrong answer, in fact I won’t even respond, I’m just curious.

    Thanks!

    Like

  17. Both

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  18. Not sure what to think McWing, but I tend to believe they’re more interested in their bottom line than anything else. I could be wrong of course. They’re entitled to look after their own self interest, as we all are.

    I’m not afraid of you responding, btw.

    Like

    • lms:

      I tend to believe they’re more interested in their bottom line than anything else.

      Do you also believe all the people voting to, for example, keep those SS checks coming are more concerned with their bottom line than anything else?

      Like

  19. Sure, most of them need the money. Not sure it’s exacty the same in degree though.

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    • lms:

      Not sure it’s exacty the same in degree though.

      Agreed. I suspect those SS voters are much more interested in their “bottom line” than are the Kochs.

      Like

  20. The Kochs have much more power via their billions to influence the political process though. As I said the Kochs are entitled to their influence, I just enjoy knowing what they’re doing exactly and where. I doubt most conservatives who receive SS would be willing to give that up either, much the same way they didn’t want anyone messing with their Medicare during the HC debate.

    Weren’t any of you surprised by the Hillary vote?

    Like

    • lms:

      The Kochs have much more power via their billions to influence the political process though.

      If that is true, then why is libertarianism an essentially fringe element of our politics while SS remains an essentially untouchable program? 100 million votes are way more influential in the political process than is $100 million.

      I doubt most conservatives who receive SS would be willing to give that up either

      Undoubtedly that is true, again demonstrating that votes are more powerful than money.

      Weren’t any of you surprised by the Hillary vote?

      Not at all. I think young people by nature tend to be liberal, and the education system has been coopted by the left to reinforce that tendency.

      Like

  21. Off to the gym but I’ll leave you guys with this tidbit of news.

    Much has been made of the use, misuse and overuse of the word “literally.”

    Literally, of course, means something that is actually true: “Literally every pair of shoes I own was ruined when my apartment flooded.”

    When we use words not in their normal literal meaning but in a way that makes a description more impressive or interesting, the correct word, of course, is “figuratively.”

    But people increasingly use “literally” to give extreme emphasis to a statement that cannot be true, as in: “My head literally exploded when I read Merriam-Webster, among others, is now sanctioning the use of literally to mean just the opposite.”

    ……..Webster, Macmillan Dictionary and Google have added this latter informal use of “literally” as part of the word’s official definition. The Cambridge Dictionary has also jumped on board.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/08/22/according_to_the_dictionary_literally_now_also_means_figuratively_newscred/

    Like

    • lms:

      Off to the gym but I’ll leave you guys with this tidbit of news.

      Having pointed it out to her several times when she uses the term improperly, my wife gleefully sent me a link to that news the other day. Incredibly irritating.

      Like

  22. Joe Biden’s contribution to the English language will not resonate like Shakespeare’s.
    Literally.

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  23. I’d happily give it up for a phase out.

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  24. I’d happily give it up for a phase out.

    Abuse of the word “literally”? That’s fair.

    Can we phase out Biden too?

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  25. Scott

    If that is true, then why is libertarianism an essentially fringe element of our politics

    Oh I think libertarianism is becoming less fringy every day and I’m pretty sure the Koch brothers are just getting started.

    http://investigativereportingworkshop.org/investigations/the_koch_club/story/Koch_millions_spread_influence_through_nonprofits/

    again demonstrating that votes are more powerful than money.

    Not sure states like KS or WI would agree with you but okay.

    and the education system has been coopted by the left to reinforce that tendency

    If half of what that report I linked above uncovered is true I doubt that will last into the next generation of voters.

    Incredibly irritating

    Hah, I can only imagine. I like her!

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    • lms:

      Oh I think libertarianism is becoming less fringy every day…

      We can only hope, but I am highly skeptical. I see very little in the way of policy that indicates libertarianism is gaining traction. The regulatory state continues to grow, the fed continues to spend at unprecedented levels, and power continues to be pushed up towards the fed.

      If half of what that report I linked above uncovered is true I doubt that will last into the next generation of voters

      Again, we can only hope.

      Like

    • lms:

      The Federalist agrees with me on the supposed rise of libertarianism.

      I liked this, too, which is something jnc and I have talked about in the past:

      Agreeing with a libertarian on occasion doesn’t make you a libertarian.

      A libertarian – according to the dictionary, at least – is a person who “upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action.” And there is simply no evidence that Americans are any more inclined to support policy that furthers individual freedom or shrinks government.

      Take two of the most frequently cited issues that herald the libertarian renaissance: legalized pot and gay marriage. Both of them, I would argue, are only inadvertently aligned with libertarian values. These are victories in a culture war. Both issues have rapidly gained acceptance in the United States, but support for them does not equate to any newfound longing to “uphold the principles of individual liberty.”

      Many supporters of pot legalization are, for example, probably just as sympathetic to nanny-state prohibitions on products they find insalubrious or environmentally unfriendly. More seriously, many of the most passionate proponents of same-sex marriage are also the most passionate proponents of the government forcing Christian bakers and florists to participate in gay marriages and impelling religious business owners to subsidize contraception for their employees.

      Beating back people who stand in the way of gay marriage to make room for people who stand in the way of religious freedom and free association doesn’t exactly feel like a victory on the liberty front.

      Like

      • I don’t entirely agree with that analysis of libertarianism. The author is using a sort of sociological approach to defining libertarianism. I think that is incorrect. Pot legalization has a real libertarian pedigree. The fact that many proponents don’t have a consistent philosophy isn’t very relevant to that. I don’t think legal recognition of ssm has anything to do with libertarianism.

        Like

        • qb:

          I don’t think legal recognition of ssm has anything to do with libertarianism.

          I agree with you. I think the proper libertarian position would be that the state should not be involved in recognizing any marriages.

          Like

        • There is a sound argument for that position (libertarianism would eliminate government involvement in marriage). It would probably be preferable to ssm from my perspective, but I don’t think it is a practical possibility or wise objective. I see marriage as an organic and intrinsic aspect of society that government can’t ignore, for what are probably innumerable reasons.

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        • qb:

          It would probably be preferable to ssm from my perspective, but I don’t think it is a practical possibility or wise objective.

          This is why I am probably better described as a libertarian conservative rather than full-on libertarian. While ideologically I am inclined to think the state should stay out of the marriage business, the ubiquity of legally recognized marriage in societies throughout history suggests to me some value that I am hesitant to cavalierly toss away.

          Like

  26. Dang, the Angels beat the Red Sox in 19 innings last night. I made it to the 14th when they tied the game for the second time………………lol

    Like

    • Kevin Williamson continues to be one of the most interesting writers out there.

      It generally is taken as a given that the United States must become more Hispanic and less Anglo as a matter of demographic inevitability, but that assumption rests largely on the continuation of current patterns of immigration, which itself is predicated on ignoring the question: Does greater diversity serve the greater good? Glenn Loury once observed that the essence of conservatism is the belief that “human nature has no history.” Even as we hope to live up to the best of our natures rather than down to the worst of them, the evidence counsels a measure of pessimism on the subject — and not only for Republicans concerned that the demographic deck is stacked against them in the long term. Progressives who dream of a Nordic-style welfare state will find themselves challenged by the costs of greater diversity, as will those of us who hope, perhaps naïvely, for a politics and a culture that is more humane and individualistic, and less regimented along racial lines. We’ve been told that diversity is our strength, but the unhappy truth may be something closer to the opposite.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/385035/homogeneity-their-strength-kevin-d-williamson

      Like

      • Hmmm.

        “We’ve never really thought about it like that,” insisted Young, who said letters in the company’s name are designed to look like a rooster. “Our designer created a d and b for ‘dirty bird’ then pushed them together to make a cockerel.”

        Yeah, right.

        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/british-food-company-new-logo-phallus-article-1.1896374

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      • I was going to link the same Williamson column. I don’t know of anyone writing commentary and analysis close to his consistent quality. Early in the Obama administration, Krauthamer wrote at a stellar level for several years. Right now, it is Williamson who is off the hook. This column is not, however, going to appeal much to proponents if free immigration. This is admittedly crude, but I think he makes an important point here against the argument that we need more immigration to pay for the welfare state. It is a loser’s game, particularly when the immigration flow is feeding social and political Balkanization.

        Like

  27. Yeah, right.

    Honestly, that wasn’t my first impression. It looked like a chicken with wings to me. I see it now but I wouldn’t have if someone hadn’t pointed it out, and this is coming from someone who sees an unintentional phallic symbol in the architecture of one of our favorite hotels…..LOL

    Like

  28. If we’re talking about immigration from Mexico I think we’re finding, at least in CA, that Hispanics are assimilating much more quickly now. There used to be a continuous migration back and forth across the border. They would come here and work and then take their money home where their hearts and families were.

    With the unstable society and lawlessness in their home country now most of our Hispanic friends and neighbors have very little ambition of returning to Mexico. I think we’ll all find that the desire to stay here will speed up the assimilation process and some of the problems that a lot of people worry about will be inconsequential.

    Just an opinion from a native Californian with lots of Mexican friends, and extended family members, who has spent a lot of time over the years in Mexico.

    Like

    • I don’t think more widespread resolve to stay here rather than return home is any sort of remedy for what Williamson describes. Immigration used to mean coming to a decentralized land of opportunity with a common culture. It is now coming to a centralized welfare state that doles out benefits among competing identity and interest groups in exchange for votes.

      Like

  29. I’m just saying that in CA, where assimilation is taking root, our Hispanic population is changing. Whether that bodes well for Republicans is up to Republicans I guess, but I do think it negates some of Williams’ points. The rest of you are still struggling with a poorer and more recent group of immigrants.

    His story illustrates a reality for California Hispanics: With the immigrant boom ending long ago, they are older and more settled than elsewhere. As a result, they have relatively high rates of home ownership, rising incomes and are better educated.

    http://www.dailynews.com/social-affairs/20131221/californias-hispanic-population-will-rank-no-1-in-2014

    Like

  30. Scott

    Agreeing with a libertarian on occasion doesn’t make you a libertarian.

    Obviously. And they’re probably correct re the rise of libertarianism. I just think there is a compromise position available on some issues if libertarians would accept it. Unfortunately, it’s an all or nothing political philosophy which I don’t think really works in such a diverse population with so many different needs. Some of those needs may just be legitimate and can’t be solved by a total hands off approach.

    Like

    • lms:

      Unfortunately, it’s an all or nothing political philosophy…

      All political philosophies are, necessarily. The very point of a political philosophy is that it sets out principles which can be applied to situations as they arise, guiding policy advocacy. That doesn’t mean that “compromise” is not possible, but compromise can only take place in the context of two opposing political philosophies which, in principle, dictate opposing policies for a given situation. Compromise is not, in and of itself, a political philosophy. Nor, I might add, is advocacy based on how one “feels” about this or that issue.

      …which I don’t think really works in such a diverse population with so many different needs.

      This is just begging the question, because what "works" is necessarily a function of the political philosophy one adopts. I could just as easily say that leftist political philosophy doesn't "work" because it requires the violation, rather than protection, of individual rights.

      If one believes that government exists to protect rights, rather than catering to individual "needs", then libertarianism "works" just fine. But if one adopts a political philosophy that holds the purpose of government is to provide for the financial needs of all citizens, then libertarianism definitely will not "work".

      Like

  31. We have a busy week here so I’ll probably be scarce…………………….solar installation begins this morning……………….YAY! Our electric bill last month was almost $500, in part because we’re paying for the bad winter the rest of y’all had.

    Like

  32. I would think Fed recognition of marriage is anti-Libertarian.

    Like

  33. What I said ain’t it?

    Like

  34. @quarterback: “… It is now coming to a centralized welfare state that doles out benefits among competing identity and interest groups in exchange for votes.”

    Just like the Founding Fathers wanted it. It’s in the constitution!

    Like

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