Morning Report: GDP revised upward on inventory build 11/24/15

Markets are lower this morning after Turkey shot down a Russian plane in Syria and Brussels stays on lockdown. Bonds and MBS are up small.

The second revision to third quarter GDP came in at 2.1%, in line with estimates, and up from the initial 1.5% estimate. Personal consumption rose 3.0%, a little below expectations, while inflation was slightly higher. Inventory build accounted for a lot of the growth, which means the third quarter may have “borrowed” some growth from Q4.

Consumer Confidence took a big hit in November, falling from 97.6 to 90.4,

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index fall to -3 from -1 in November.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index rose .61% in September and is up 5.45% year-over-year.

The Allergan / Pfizer merger has brought out all the usual suspects jawboning about “corporate patriotism.” It is another inversion trade, where the larger Pfizer is getting bought by smaller Allergan in order for Pfizer to change its domicile to Ireland and lower its effective tax rate from 25% to 17-18%. The companies sure made themselves a target by doing this in an election year, however the reality remains: the US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and we double-tax foreign income, which most countries do not. Until corporate tax reform happens, these sorts of things will continue.

Apple Cranberry Currant Pie 11/24/15

My annual contrib to the meal is apple cranberry currant pie.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/2 hours, plus at least 1 hour to cool
MAKES: 8 [adult male or teenager] servings
1/4 cup Gran Marnier [or brandy, if you are short on the good stuff]
1/4 cup currants [look like tiny raisins – you could use raisins in a pinch but they are not the same]
1 cup fresh [or thawed frozen] cranberries [I find fresh make a tarter pie – I am OK with tart]
About 1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup tapioca flour [I never use cornstarch in a fruit pie]
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 oz 1/2+1/2
6 cups sliced/chopped Granny Smith apples [about 2 1/4 lb].  I like the skin on for this pie – it’s more “rustic”.
2×9-inch pie pastry shells  – I either make my own or buy really great shells at Central Market.  When I make my own it is in no way unusual.
1. In a small bowl, combine Gran Marnier and currants. Cover and let stand until currants are plump, at least 1 hour.  [Sometimes I cheat and do not soak this long.  No biggie.  The plumpness of currants is mainly a texture deal.  Also, pre-warming the Gran Marnier quickens the plumping]
2.  Chop/slice apples, skin on, using a mix of techniques for slices and chunks.  If there will be a delay between prep and oven, put the 6 cups of apples in a big bowl and add a little OJ to keep them from browning.  LATER YOU MUST THOROUGHLY DRAIN AND PAT DRY THE APPLES!  My grandmother taught me the OJ instead of lemon juice trick about 56 years ago. 
3. Sort cranberries and discard any that are bruised or decayed. Rinse and drain berries.
4. In a large bowl, mix sugar, tapioca flour, nutmeg, and salt. With a slotted spoon, lift currants from Gran Marnier ; reserve Gran Marnier. Add currants, cranberries, and chopped apples to fructose mixture and mix well. Taste and add more fructose if desired. Pour filling into unbaked pie pastry in pan.  Cut hole pattern in top crust.  Mix 1/2+1/2 with reserved Gran Marnier and cinnamon and brush liberally on pie crust.  Carefully braid foil around pie’s edge to keep pie from from crisping-burning on crust edge that overlaps the pan during baking.  [Later, pass off the tiny pieces of foil that some guest finds in the crust edge as “healthy mineral”. :-)]
5. Bake on the bottom rack of a 375° oven until juices bubble around edges and through top holes, 55 to 65 minutes. If pie browns too quickly – check after 30 minutes – cover loosely with foil.
6. Set pie, uncovered, on a rack until cool to touch, at least 1 hour.
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