Morning Report – Small Business Optimism still has a ways to go 8/12/14

Markets are lower this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are flat

Job openings increased slightly to 4.7 million in June, up about 100k from the May number. The hires rate was 3.5%, and the separations rate was 3.3%. Quits were 1.8% and layoffs were 1.2%. The best industries for hiring: manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and professional / business services. Construction was actually down a little over the year. FWIW, the home builders have all been lamenting the lack of skilled labor.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index slipped in July from 96.4 to 95.7. We are still well below any semblance of “normalcy” in the small business arena. Small business added .01 workers per firm in July, the 10th consecutive positive month. That said, capital expenditures remain low, and sales are deteriorating. It is hard to reconcile a relatively glum NFIB survey with the idea that the S&P 500 is just off record highs. Does small business need to catch up with the big multinationals, or is the stock market being levitated by the Fed and thus vulnerable once the Fed takes the punch bowl away? IMO the answer is “yes.”


Of course the Fed may not be in any rush to raise interest rates. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer was warning about slow growth in the future. Bottom line: until you start to see wage inflation, you shouldn’t worry too much about the Fed.

FHA head Carol Galante is stepping down as FHA Commissioner at the end of the year and returning to academia. Biniam Gebre, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing will take over the role as Acting Commissioner.

Bill Gross has been selling Treasuries and MBS in the PIMCO Total Return Fund. He rotated into non-US developed debt and held emerging market debt steady. Good trade as Euro sovereigns have been on a tear lately.

As if the first time homebuyer didn’t have enough issues with student loan debt and tight credit, they face another challenge: limited inventory at the low end of the price range. The number of US homes for sale in the bottom third of the market – below $198,000 – fell 17% in June compared to a year earlier, according to Redfin. The supply rose 3% in the middle market and 15% in the top third. Blame professional investors who are snapping up low-priced properties to turn into rentals. Prices are rising too, with the low end jumping 15%, the middle increasing 13% and the top end increasing 9%.

27 Responses

  1. Does this mean shit has turned to fuck?

    Not as dire as one might think but he did receive the magic juice but it didn’t take. One advantage the US evac people might have had is reduced viral loads which would make infecting others harder. Did the priest experience that?


  2. Brent – it is so difficult to see these national trends when they are counter to local ones. Small biz is doing very well in centex.
    Austin at 4% unemployment, and with the new Apple and Oracle facilities within a mile of my home my neighborhood home prices are blooming, if not booming.

    All: do we take HRC’s hawkish critique of BHO’s FP to be purely political or partly driven by policy views or purely as policy? Certainly not the last.

    I continue to oppose large scale family reunification and seek immigration reform based on American needs, if they can be readily identified from time to time.

    The FP is finally coming my way on Iraq. We are shipping arms directly to the Kurds and bypassing the corruption of Bagdad. We could have done this since 2007, but nooo, we had to build a freaking nation. Out of three group of folks who really don’t like each other and two who don’t like us. We are finally supporting the one group of those folks who not only have oil, but who do not discriminate against Christians and Jews and who do not have ties to Muslim fundamentalism, and who like us. these were the people who welcomed Petraeus. Could have saved a bunch just backing them since 2007.

    Clear to me but not to GWB or BHO. Why? Because we were committed to a “unified” Iraq. Western pipedream.

    Also, yesterday was my 71st birthday and I have have had family visiting – still do. Friday I am taking wife, daughter, and twin 5.5 YO granddaughters 430 mi. west to the Davis Mountains and the McDonald Observatory for the weekend.
    Milky Way
    McDonald Observatory

    So I might not be around much.


    • Mark:

      All: do we take HRC’s hawkish critique of BHO’s FP to be purely political or partly driven by policy views or purely as policy?

      Impossible to say, but I suspect that everything she says/does is done out of political calculation, even if in the absence of such calculations she would say/do it anyway.


  3. Happy birthday, Mark. enjoy the time with your family.


  4. Thanx, NoVA.


  5. They’re getting ready to turn our power off so I snuck in just in time to wish you a Happy Birthday Mark. I swear I thought you were only 69………………………again.

    Sounds like you’re having a grand time with family and all those girls.

    Have guys climbing all over our roof this week and then we’re heading down to the beach for a few days. I have another mile and a half swim planned on Friday as long as the surf doesn’t get too big on me. I’m not stupid!

    We are shipping arms directly to the Kurds and bypassing the corruption of Bagdad

    As you say…………..finally. And I’m pretty sure HRC’s critique is largely political calculation. I’m not sure who she’s trying to impress though. I really wish she wouldn’t run.


  6. Speaking of HRC, Megan McArdle had a thought on if she’da won in aught eight.

    Still think we’d of all lost regardless.


  7. NoVa, kinda of like the ‘nic of “Palin’s buttplug.” He’s a tenacious little bugger.

    I’ll bet $10 no one ever loses a potential tax refund or risks a clawback on overpaid subsidies.

    Any takers?


    • McWing:

      Any takers?

      Sure, I’ll take that bet. Some politically inspired group will eventually be publicly outspoken about evading the mandate, and the IRS will target them.


  8. Hey, we all agree!

    Scott, QB, looks like you’re gonna have to move to Jesusland!

    NoVa, J, it’s up to you guys about immigration since I ain’t gonna accept Jesusland with VA!


  9. Sure, I’ll take that bet. Some politically inspired group will eventually be publicly outspoken about evading the mandate, and the IRS will target them.

    Shit! Forgot about the IRS non-scandal. Check’s in the mail.


  10. Love this quote from above link.

    According to Saperstein, civil rights victories “would not be lost for any blacks willing to relocate and the ones who relocated would do much better in their new environments.”



  11. Photos from yesterday and this afternoon. They got 20 of the 33 panels up and upgraded our electric panel to 250.

    First photo is yesterday after most of the rails were up.

    This afternoon.

    Balcony I took the pics from. Our view from there is north looking towards the house and the panels are on our south and slightly west facing roof.


  12. That looks fascinating Lms. When I was a kid my dad put a solar panel on the roof (in Tucson) for hot water and it worked pretty well. This would have been in the early ’80’s.

    You might have mentioned it already but are y’all expecting to return power to the grid? If so, do they (the utility) have to pay you for it?


  13. It’s always fun to me watching construction type projects. We’ll be over producing as long as we’re still living here, hopefully another 10 years or so. You can either have them pay you back or keep a balance of power on your account for future use. We set it up to settle up at the end of the year with a payment from Edison. They don’t pay the going rate though, considerably less. We’ll do that unless we buy an electric car in the next few years or add some sort of equipment here that uses more energy.

    We already have solar on our rental house but a much smaller system and we didn’t watch the installation.. We also had solar on the motor home we used to own.


  14. I’d love a geothermal unit like Bush had at his ranch.


  15. All we need is a big water tank or a nice well and we’ll be self sufficient…………..sort of……. lol. I really wanted a windmill but the city won’t let us do that. The warehouse was almost a bridge too far as it was.


  16. I think you’re in Riverside? Probably wrong but are there rain capture ordinance where you live? I know in some places in CA you cannot collect rainwater.


  17. We’re in Riverside County but Norco is a bit of a unique town water wise. Most of our water is actually well water. I don’t know about collecting rainwater though……….I was mostly just kidding. We keep talking about our compound here so I told Walter all we need is an independent source of water and we’d be set. Also, we get so little rain most years we’d die of thirst trying to collect it.


    • I read recently again how we are overdue for a solar event that could fry the power grid (and electronics generally). An alternative power source is an attractive idea. But I wonder whether a CME or EMP will fry your solar system.


  18. Doesn’t it fry in shielded circuitry?


  19. QB, we wondered about that too. It’s a little weird knowing we essentially have a power grid on our roof.

    To protect your own electrical equipment from solar flares, first tune-in to the reports from places like “” that have accurate reports and timing of solar flares. If there is an X-class flare or CME coming our way, turn-off the main breaker at your electrical distribution panel at least a couple of hours before contact, and if there is nothing else involved in your system, then just review the precautions outlined on the next page. If you have solar equipment, turn-off also the solar panel breakers as well as, the disconnect (switch) at the junction box where the battery wires and solar panel wires terminate.

    [Also keep in mind that solar flares are not 5 second, sun bursts. The M-class flare (a 10 fold decrease from X-class type) unleashed Feb 24, 2011 that just missed us, lasted 90 minutes. With any flare, its light (photons) takes about 8 minutes to reach earth. This has little effect on an electrical system. It’s the stuff that comes afterwards (from 6 hours to 3 days) that may deliver a crippling blow.]

    Turn the breakers on, after the major thrust of the event is over.


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