Morning Report: Home Prices Continue to rise 2/25/16

Stocks are flat this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are up.

Initial Jobless Claims came in at 272k, an increase of 10k from last week.

Durable Goods orders rebounded smartly after a terrible December. They were up 4.9%, way better than the Street expectations.

Capital Goods orders rose 3.9% as well. Capital Goods orders are a proxy for business capital investment, so whatever turmoil is happening in the financial markets doesn’t seem to be affecting Main Street, at least not yet.

House prices rose 1.4% in the fourth quarter, according to the FHFA House Price Index. Home prices have now surpassed their bubble peaks and are making new highs. Note that this index is a sub-index of the real estate market – it only looks at homes with conforming mortgages, so it excludes all cash distressed sales and the jumbo market.

In other economic data, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell slightly last week to 44.2. Consumer comfort is crawling back to the bubble days, but still is lower than the Big 90s when the stock market bubble was raging.

One thing that is apparent in this election cycle is that it is hip to bash big business. Why won’t they fight back and tell their side of it? In essence, they dismiss the current populism as so much heated campaign rhetoric and believe that when the election is over, it is back to business as usual. FWIW, they have scored some big victories with the Ex-Im bank and the TPP trade deal. Wall Street, for some inexplicable reason, continues to be content with being a punching bag.

Realtor.com lays out the 20 hottest real estate markets in February. Cliff Note version: mainly California. The Northeast is deader than Elvis.

The Atlanta Fed lowered their Q1 GDP estimate to 2.5% from 2.6%.

40 Responses

  1. Clearly Trump is devoid of substance:

    “He talks, for instance, about the anti-trust exemption enjoyed by insurance companies, an atrocity dating back more than half a century, to the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945. This law, sponsored by one of the most notorious legislators in our history (Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran was thought to be the inspiration for the corrupt Sen. Pat Geary in The Godfather II), allows insurance companies to share information and collude to divvy up markets.

    Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats made a serious effort to overturn this indefensible loophole during the debate over the Affordable Care Act.

    Trump pounds home this theme in his speeches, explaining things from his perspective as an employer. “The insurance companies,” he says, “they’d rather have monopolies in each state than hundreds of companies going all over the place bidding …  It’s so hard for me to make deals  … because I can’t get bids.”

    He goes on to explain that prices would go down if the state-by-state insurance fiefdoms were eliminated, but that’s impossible because of the influence of the industry. “I’m the only one that’s self-funding …  Everyone else is taking money from, I call them the bloodsuckers.”

    Trump isn’t lying about any of this.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-unstoppable-20160224?page=8

    Liked by 1 person

      • “Among South Carolina Republicans who preferred above all else a candidate “who tells it like it is,” 77 percent voted for Donald J. Trump. That is astonishing, given that Donald Trump’s entire life has been an extended exercise in deception.”

        Way to miss the point. He may prevaricate with the best of them, but he’s not a shill for the same establishment moaks who promise this and that and deliver superficial stunts. He may be thin-skinned, but he also doesn’t crumble and apologize every time someone accuses him of being racist or not politically correct enough. And so on. His appeal is not his wealth or his truthfulness but the fact he has a big swinging set of balls. And most of his opponents on both sides of the aisles are craven political cronies who are entirely about their own political fiefdoms.

        Like

        • KW:

          Way to miss the point.

          Seems to me all you are saying is that voters who say they like Trump because he tells it like it is shouldn’t be believed because what they actually like about him is something totally different.

          And most of his opponents on both sides of the aisles are craven political cronies who are entirely about their own political fiefdoms.

          Which distinguishes them from Trump….how exactly?

          It makes no sense to me to cheer for Trump simply because he is poking the R establishment, which has treated voters with contempt, in the eye. Trump’s contempt for the average voter towers over that of the R establishment. You think the establishment promises things to voters that it never intends to do in order to get elected? Trump is utterly shameless. A wall paid to keep Mexicans out? Paid for by Mexico? What?!? I feel like Trump is saying to the establishment “You think you can treat he average Republican voters like their stupid? You have no idea….just watch this.”

          Like

        • I’m guessing that Vicente Fox helped Trump considerably.

          What about fucking with remittances to Mexico? That might motivate Mexico to control their northern border.

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        • “I’m guessing that Vicente Fox helped Trump considerably.”

          Coincidence? I think not!

          Like

        • @scottc1: “Seems to me all you are saying is that voters who say they like Trump because he tells it like it is shouldn’t be believed because what they actually like about him is something totally different.”

          No, I’m saying they (the author and those like the author) are missing the point which is not that Trump does or does not tell it like it is, but that the media and pundits are neither revered nor respective and the alternatives are all uniformly terrible. That’s the lesson to draw from what’s going on, not that people are stupid and don’t understand that Trump doesn’t “tell it like it is”. Another point, salient to my mind, is both the Democrats and the GOP have brought Trumpmania upon themselves in a million different ways. Not that the American people are just too stupid to know how smart our elite rulers are, and how we should all just sit down and shut up because look what happens when we let you actually participate in the political process. We get a Trump! You morons.

          “It makes no sense to me to cheer for Trump simply because he is poking the R establishment, which has treated voters with contempt, in the eye. Trump’s contempt for the average voter towers over that of the R establishment.”

          Well, there is something to be said for style. But it’s less cheering for Trump (lack of hostility and hate is not synonymous with cheering) than enjoying the schadenfreude of the Democrats and the establishment GOP getting exactly what they deserve, reaping what they’ve sown and STILL CONTINUING TO SOW THE SAME SEEDS (Trump is the fault of you rubes! You bitter clingers! You Tea-Partiers! Yada yada).

          “Trump is utterly shameless.”

          He’s a Huey Long type, no doubt about it. But I kinda like his shamelessness. He’s got moxie. And I don’t think I’m the only person out there who likes Trump and believes he’d likely be a better president than anybody else currently running while still thinking he’s totally full of shit. But maybe I am a special snowflake.

          Like

        • KW:

          No, I’m saying they (the author and those like the author) are missing the point which is not that Trump does or does not tell it like it is, but that the media and pundits are neither revered nor respective and the alternatives are all uniformly terrible.

          Who’s point?

          If a bunch of people say they like Trump because he “tells it like it is”, it seems to me perfectly on point to show that Trump routinely does the exact opposite. Perhaps you think that they actually like him for other reasons, and so pointing out that Trump doesn’t “tell it like it is” isn’t going to have any effect, and maybe you are right. But, then, the correct response to people who say they are voting for Trump because he tells it like it is “They are so stupid they don’t even understand why they like Trump.”

          That’s the lesson to draw from what’s going on, not that people are stupid and don’t understand that Trump doesn’t “tell it like it is”.

          I don’t see that they are mutually exclusive. I mean, sure, if you want to win elections you need to know what does and does not appeal to people, but it is also useful to know just how stupid people really are.

          Another point, salient to my mind, is both the Democrats and the GOP have brought Trumpmania upon themselves in a million different ways. Not that the American people are just too stupid to know how smart our elite rulers are, and how we should all just sit down and shut up because look what happens when we let you actually participate in the political process. We get a Trump! You morons.

          I am no defender of the establishment status quo, but I just don’t understand what you are talking about here. In what way is the “establishment” telling people to sit down and shut up? In what way is the process different this year such that you characterize it as letting the American people “actually participate in the political process”? As opposed to what, when they were somehow disallowed from participating and got stuck with Bush and McCain and Romney? What are you even talking about?

          But it’s less cheering for Trump (lack of hostility and hate is not synonymous with cheering) than enjoying the schadenfreude of the Democrats and the establishment GOP getting exactly what they deserve…

          I understand the schadenfreude, believe me. But this is a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. The government doesn’t exist to provide or withold stature from political parties, so it doesn’t make sense to me to select a government based on whether or not it gives the parties what they “deserve”.

          And I don’t think I’m the only person out there who likes Trump and believes he’d likely be a better president than anybody else currently running while still thinking he’s totally full of shit.

          Clearly you are not the only person who likes him (although you may be one of the few who knows why you do.) But let’s assume for the sake of argument that all of the candidates are equally full of shit. (I think it is crazy to think that…I think some candidates are clearly more substantive than others, and Trump isn’t one of them, but for the sake of argument…) What is it about Trump that you think would make him a “better” president than, say, Cruz or Rubio?

          Like

        • @scottc1: If a bunch of people say they like Trump because he “tells it like it is”, it seems to me perfectly on point to show that Trump routinely does the exact opposite. Perhaps you think that they actually like him for other reasons, and so pointing out that Trump doesn’t “tell it like it is” isn’t going to have any effect, and maybe you are right.

          Reasonable, yes, but I think there’s much too much made (in the article and elsewhere) of Trump “telling it like it is” (which seems to be to be a misnomer for “unafraid to speak his mind”) … and speaking of speaking his mind, I’m becoming aware through a series of text message I need to go home and tell it like it is and speak my mind to a certain teenage daughter who I think is going to end the conversation with a grounding.

          Like

        • KW:

          Reasonable, yes, but I think there’s much too much made (in the article and elsewhere) of Trump “telling it like it is” (which seems to be to be a misnomer for “unafraid to speak his mind”)

          I doubt that Trump “speaks his mind” any more than he “tells it like it is”. He is playing a character. Telling people what they want to hear is not the same as speaking one’s mind or telling it like it is.

          I find it so peculiar that people who loathe “establishment” politicians are attracted to Trump. Every loathesome characteristic that politicians as a class tend to exhibit (eg the arrogance, the shameless ease with which they lie, the hypocrisy) is super-sized in Trump. And he’s even managed to invent a few more.

          Like

    • jnc:

      Trump isn’t lying about any of this.

      Not that he wouldn’t if it happened to suit his purposes.

      Like

    • “The triumvirate of big media, big donors and big political parties has until now successfully excluded every challenge to its authority. But like every aristocracy, it eventually got lazy and profligate, too sure it was loved by the people. It’s now shocked that voters in depressed ex-factory towns won’t keep pulling the lever for “conservative principles,” or that union members bitten a dozen times over by a trade deal won’t just keep voting Democratic on cue.”

      I’m going to laugh for 4 years at cons frapped when Trump just destroys clinton. both of them.

      Like

      • It really is a great article.

        “Trump will surely argue that the Clintons are the other half of the dissolute-conspiracy story he’s been selling, representing a workers’ party that abandoned workers and turned the presidency into a vast cash-for-access enterprise, avoiding scrutiny by making Washington into Hollywood East and turning labor leaders and journalists alike into starstruck courtiers. As with everything else, Trump personalizes this, making his stories of buying Hillary’s presence at his wedding a part of his stump speech. A race against Hillary Clinton in the general, if it happens, will be a pitch right in Trump’s wheelhouse – and if Bill Clinton is complaining about the “vicious” attacks by the campaign of pathological nice guy Bernie Sanders, it’s hard to imagine what will happen once they get hit by the Trumpdozer.”

        I do think that the progressives/liberals/Democrats really do believe their own BS about Trump being unelectable due to demographics.

        They are just measuring the size of HRC’s coattails. They are convinced that they have the Senate locked up and are figuring out how many Republican +10 districts are going to flip in the House.

        They refuse to recognize that this is the actual American voter:

        “Cheryl Donlon says she heard the tariff message loud and clear and she’s fine with it, despite the fact that it clashes with traditional conservatism.

        “We need someone who is just going to look at what’s best for us,” she says.

        I mention that Trump’s plan is virtually identical to Dick Gephardt’s idea from way back in the 1988 Democratic presidential race, to fight the Korean Hyundai import wave with retaliatory tariffs.

        Donlon says she didn’t like that idea then.

        Why not?

        “I didn’t like him,” she says.

        Trump, though, she likes.”

        Like

        • “It really is a great article. And I do think that the progressives/liberals/Democrats really do believe their own BS about Trump being unelectable due to demographics.”

          Of course they do. And I don’t think we will know until November, but I’m already positive “unelectable” doesn’t mean what they think it means. I think it means, to them, the Democrat will win. What I think it means is that, whoever wins, it’s going to be such a close election that calling either candidate unelectable is an exercise in self-deception.

          I also think dyed-in-the-wool partisans over-estimate the general voters concern over things like pausing immigration of Muslims or share a belief that building a border wall to prevent *illegal* immigrants from coming in is the same as Hitlernazi. I think most of the folks who support Trump or are on the fence don’t wring their hands over the idea that Muslims might not be able to get into the country the minute they want to. I think there are more people who might vote for Trump who are not particularly xenophobic who simply don’t care about the xenophobia because it’s a non-issue either way. But they may have specific reasons they don’t like Bernie or Hillary, but many on the left have no idea that’s a significant amount of people because they only conservatives they ever talk to are the “trolls” on message boards that they assume are all just one person using multiple accounts, because clearly conservatives a vanishing minority of scared old white men who barely exist in the real world . . . the real world being whatever bohemian neighborhood they live most of their lives in, and the predominantly liberal Democrat message boards they communicate on. Telling each other what a surprise conservatives and Republicans are going to be in for, since they only expose themselves to the Faux News echo chamber.

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        • “They are just measuring the size of HRC’s coattails. ”

          that’s the thing. she’s not doing to have any. if she wins, which is entirely possible and even likely, she squeaks it out. maybe not electoral college # but vote totals. it’s hard to knock out an incumbent. they’re all toomey is toast — but they probably couldn’t even tell you who he is running against and how much money the D has on hand. i can. and it’s like 10 million to 1 million. and Clinton is not going to invest in PA.

          but you know, you go full Cef and you ignore those little realities. and that’s how you get wiped out the state and local levels. but Fuck those guys.

          Like

        • “share a belief that building a border wall to prevent *illegal* immigrants from coming in is the same as Hitlernazi.”

          Trump’s wife is going to be his best spokesman on that and all he has to do is say that the media left out the part about the big, wide gate and that just shows that they are lying about him.

          And we all know what a well respected institution the media is currently.

          Like

        • @jnc4p: “And we all know what a well respected institution the media is currently.”

          I dunno if I can judge fairly. I really dislike the media. The best news outlets seem to be Al Jazeera America and Russia Today. Even Democracy Now makes an effort at covering stories and reporting. Fox, MSNBC, and the Big Three are almost exclusively punditry circle-jerks, and highly-produced-half-fictional “human interest” stories. The vast majority of the news media secretly aspires to become “The View”.

          Like

        • Trump’s wife

          [applies for job in East Wing]

          Like

        • Cruz and Rubio followed National Review’s script almost to a tee.

          Like

        • Because slavishly adhering to the establishment line is what’s really going to take Trump down!

          Eh, good luck to ’em. I really don’t care much for either of them. You know, for all the complaints about Trump’s shameless exaggerations and prevarication and re-writing history, he *still* seems more genuine to me than either Cruz or Rubio. Or Hillary. Maybe Sanders is more genuine than all the rest, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing when it comes to writing the check for his many, many promises.

          Like

      • “I’m going to laugh for 4 years at cons frapped when Trump just destroys clinton. both of them.”

        Then it will all just be about how Trump stole the election or how you must be so proud when are you joining the brownshirts and so on. When the world ends, it will be your fault, because capitalism. And so forth.

        I admit, I’d enjoy the schadenfreude. If it’s a Hillary vs. Trump show down, I’m totally pulling for Trump. Not so much because he’d be a better president (although I think there’s a better chance of him being a good president than Hillary, just because Hillaryism/cronyism and party loyalty and history is a known quantity, and Trump is a firecracker) but because I think there would be a lot of crow being eaten (even if they all pretend that they aren’t eating crow, it’s filet mignon!) by Cons and the rest of them . . . as well as the folks at NRO and the rest of the GOP establishment who think it’s their job to anoint the nominee and get invited to the right cocktail parties while imparting wisdom to the hoipoloi in a way that is suspiciously similar to much the liberal intelligentsia.

        Like

    • @markinaustin: “Trump knows the public sees through all of this, grasps the press’s role in it and rightly hates us all. When so many Trump supporters point to his stomping of the carpetbagging snobs in the national media as the main reason they’re going to vote for him, it should tell us in the press something profound about how much people think we suck.”

      Self-awareness from a Rolling Stone writer! This truly is the year of miracles. 😉

      Like

  2. Also like this about Cruz:

    This absurd Swiss Army cliché perfectly encapsulates the predicament of the modern GOP. In one second, Cruz is against “redistributionism,” which in the Obama years was code for “government spending on minorities.” In the next second, he’s against corporations and special interests, the villains du jour in the age of Bernie Sanders and Trump, respectively.

    He’s against everything all at once. Welfare! Corporations! Special Interests! Government! The Establishment! He’s that escort who’ll be into whatever you want, for an hour.

    Ah, so. If he only he were a lot more attractive.

    Like

  3. Every four years, some Democrat who’s been a lifelong friend of labor runs for president. And every four years, that Democrat gets thrown over by national labor bosses in favor of some party lifer with his signature on a half-dozen job-exporting free-trade agreements.

    It’s called “transactional politics,” and the operating idea is that workers should back the winner, rather than the most union-friendly candidate.

    This year, national leaders of several prominent unions went with Hillary Clinton – who, among other things, supported her husband’s efforts to pass NAFTA – over Bernie Sanders. Pissed, the rank and file in many locals revolted. In New Hampshire, for instance, a Service Employees International Union local backed Sanders despite the national union’s endorsement of Clinton, as did an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers chapter.

    Cons is right. And the rest of them. There’s just no way Trump could beat a seasoned, friend-of-the-workers-and-minorities like Hillary.

    Like

    • During the same response, Garza gave her take on what she believes would end racism, “It’s gonna take white people, who benefit from this system of white supremacy, to stand up and say, ‘We’re not gonna take it anymore.

      I decline.

      #YouBoreMe

      Like

      • I’m still thinking about this one,

        tated that while she does indeed believe that all lives matter, that is not the world we live in. She said that it was not possible in a world where “the average life expectancy of a black trans woman is 35.”

        Like

        • ““the average life expectancy of a black trans woman is 35.””

          There are only two possible explanations for this. A: the sample is far too small to produce a meaningful piece of data. B: It’s a lie.

          Like

        • KW:

          There are only two possible explanations for this. A: the sample is far too small to produce a meaningful piece of data. B: It’s a lie.

          Another possibility is that a large number of them commit suicide. My understanding is that the suicide rate among people who are confused about their sex is very high.

          Like

        • I don’t know the stats, but if that’s the case, then it’s a stat about transexuals, not African-American transexuals. The assertion is there’s something unique to being blank that makes being the average age of death of transexuals to be 35.

          Here’s the data:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/addison-rose-vincent/the-state-of-emergency-co_b_7981580.html

          While not offering a clear indication of sample size, my argument remains the same: the sample size is too small to be meaningful. By my math, they are averaging the ages of murdered African-Amerian transexuals and then using that to arrive *at the average lifespan of black transexuals*. The average lifespan of anybody isn’t that good if you only include murder victims in your sample.

          Like

        • Now you and Michi hate black trannies.

          Like

        • We are bad people. I admit it for myself.

          Like

        • FWIW, I can’t find a source for that statistic anywhere. I suspect it’s fabricated.

          Like

        • Why do you hate black trannies?

          Like

        • It feels truthy.

          If you challenge it then you are just victim shaming.

          Like

        • @kjmmurphy: “FWIW, I can’t find a source for that statistic anywhere. I suspect it’s fabricated.”

          I suspect a great deal of activist data and statistics are fabricated, or sourced exclusively from memes on Facebook, which are fabricated.

          Or in some way almost without meaning, like Reagan on trees and pollution. Sure, if you count leaves, twigs, and dead trees as “pollution”.

          Like

  4. Like

    • “”If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, no one would convict you.” — Lindsey Graham (R-SC)”

      Sure they would. They’d convict you of having forgotten to kill Lindsey Graham.

      Entitled punk.

      Like

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