Morning Report: The Fed hikes rates as expected

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 2914 2.75
Eurostoxx index 385 0.05
Oil (WTI) 72.35 0.77
10 year government bond yield 3.06%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.79%

 

Stocks are higher after the Fed hiked rates yesterday. Bonds and MBS are flat.

 

As expected, the Fed raised the Fed Funds rate 25 basis points and removed the term “accomodative” from their statement. The decision was unanimous. The biggest change in the projection materials was an upward bump in GDP estimates for this year and next. The dot plot showed a slight uptick in forecasts (about 7 basis points for this year and next). The dot plot says we are probably looking at another hike in December, 2 more hikes in 2019, and one more in 2020. In other words, the heavy lifting of this tightening cycle has already been done. That said, monetary policy acts with a lag, so the 2018 hikes probably won’t be felt until mid-to-late 2019.  The 2s-10s spread fell to 22 basis points.

 

dot plot comparison jun vs. sep 2018

 

Bonds rallied (rates fell) on the FOMC announcement, which was probably attributable to the largely unchanged dot plot and the fact that rates rose so much leading into the FOMC announcement. Classic “buy the rumor, sell the fact” situation.

 

Durable goods increased 4.5%, driven by a big jump in aircraft orders. Ex-transportation, durable goods orders were roughly flat. Core Capital Goods (a proxy for business capital expenditures) fell 0.5%. Note the Fed mentioned strong business capital investment in the statement yesterday.

 

The final estimate for second quarter GDP was unchanged at 4.2%. The price index and consumption estimates were unchanged as well. This is the fastest pace in 4 years. Meanwhile, corporate profits for the second quarter were revised downward from 6.7% to 6.4%.

 

Initial Jobless claims inched up to 214k last week. Remember these are 50 year lows, and if you consider the fact that the population was 2/3 of current levels back then (along with a military draft) these numbers are astounding.

 

Pending Home Sales fell in August, according to NAR.  Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says that low inventory continues to contribute to the housing market slowdown. “Pending home sales continued a slow drip downward, with the fourth month over month decline in the past five months,” he said.

 

“Contract signings also fell backward again last month, as declines in the West negatively impacted overall activity,” he said. “The greatest decline occurred in the West region where prices have shot up significantly, which clearly indicates that affordability is hindering buyers and those affordability issues come from lack of inventory, particularly in moderate price points.”

75 Responses

  1. The media isn’t all-in on the hearings, are they?

    Like

  2. This is pretty much where I am on the subject:

    “Now a Kavanaugh FBI investigation is obligatory

    By Megan McArdle
    September 27 at 10:43 AM”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/09/27/now-a-kavanaugh-fbi-investigation-is-obligatory/

    Like

    • jnc:

      This is pretty much where I am on the subject:

      I can’t believe you and McArdle give any credence to Avanati’s fantastical claims at all. It’s like the McMartin Pre-School case revisited.

      If the self proclaimed Resistance lawyer’s client files a police report with the proper authorities, then they can and should conduct a thorough investigation. Until then, there is nothing to investigate.

      Like

      • Grassley has been a disaster and should lose the committee. With him as chair, no more judges are going to get through. The smart plan for McConnel is to get an up or down on Kavanaugh on the record and move on to how the Democrats are going to nuke Barrett.

        Like

      • I think bringing the FBI into it and getting everyone on the record and under oath is the right thing to do.

        Among other things, it raises the stakes for false accusations.

        Like

      • “I can’t believe you and McArdle give any credence to Avanati’s fantastical claims at all.”

        They weren’t a hoax like 4chan predicted. The only person whose claims have fallen apart is Ed Whelan’s.

        It would be different if there was any competence on the Republican side of the judiciary committee to address the claims themselves, but they keep making a mess of it.

        Like

        • You actually give even slight credence to these allegations?

          Really?

          Like

        • Yes actually. Ford’s are probably the most credible. Ramirez I really don’t care about even if it’s true. Swetnick is probably pile on BS (it’s interesting how male bonding gang rapes are the go to fantasy of the left to tar preppy white guys with. You’d have thought they would have learned that the stories are usually too good to be true after Duke lacrosse and Jackie at UVA, but they keep coming back because they want it to be true so badly).

          But more to the point, I care about whether they are actually true or not.

          If it was earlier in the process I’d say Kavanaugh should have withdrawn just avoid dragging all of his old friends into this and because he’s not essential to the Supreme Court. They can probably do better.

          At this point, I think it needs to be investigated regardless. It matters whether it was true or bullshit.

          Like McArdle said, Fiat justitia ruat cælum: Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

          Like

        • jnc:

          Swetnick is probably pile on BS…

          But it was Swetnick that apparently makes McArdle think an FBI investigation is warranted.

          It matters whether it was true or bullshit.

          With regard to Ford especially, the deceit here is that you could ever actually know whether it is true or bullshit. You can’t. Short of a confession by Kavanaugh (or maybe Judge), whatever you come to personally believe either way will have no sensible or reasonable degree of certainty. You won’t actually “know” any more than you do now. But what you certainly will have done is enable and credit the tactics of the D’s.

          Like

        • Thank you for the response, though it stuns me.

          Like

        • jnc:

          They weren’t a hoax like 4chan predicted

          I think they were hoaxing that they had played a hoax, not making a prediction.

          It would be different if there was any competence on the Republican side of the judiciary committee to address the claims themselves…

          I’m not going to defend the competence of the R’s on the committee, but in this case I’m not sure what you think they could have done differently.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Stop saying things like they weren’t going to hold a hearing, or it had to be Monday and then just caving and doing what Ford requested from the beginning.

          Had they simply said yes the first time without all the foot dragging they would come off better.

          Also, they should have subpoenaed Judge and everyone else she named as a witness.

          The moment she came forward, they should have scheduled the hearing and sent out committee staff to interview everyone under oath ahead of time.

          Like

        • jnc:

          Stop saying things like they weren’t going to hold a hearing, or it had to be Monday and then just caving and doing what Ford requested from the beginning.

          We were talking about the Swetnik allegations. Those were the ones that were the subject of Mcardle’s article.

          Like

        • But BTW, I agree that they should have handled the Ford business differently. They should have told Feinstein that if she wanted the allegations to have been considered, she should not have kept them secret until after the interviews and hearings had already occurred, and they weren’t going to allow the Dems to play these kinds of games with the process. Since the truth of the charges cannot be established to any reasonable degree of certainty, and since the actions of 17 year old are themselves irrelevant to a 53 yr old’s qualifications to be a judge in any event, they should have held the original vote as scheduled.

          Liked by 1 person

        • If the rest of the Republicans on the committee keep Grassley as chair it’s a huge mistake.

          Liked by 1 person

        • My mistake. I read her piece as arguing that the cumulative effect of all the allegations made the case for getting the FBI involved.

          With regards to Swetnick herself, I think that having her under oath could be clarifying. Presumably lying to the FBI would cause her to lose her security clearances and impact her livelihood, so it should act as motivation to tell the truth.

          Like

        • jnc:

          With regards to Swetnick herself, I think that having her under oath could be clarifying.

          It might be clarifying to her, in the sense of clarifying whether or not she really wants to make these claims, but I don’t see why it would clarify anything for anyone else. Whether she swears an oath or not, her charges are simply beyond the pale and not believable. The idea that gang rape parties were a regular occurrence for a bunch of well-to-do high schoolers, but that their existence remained a completely unreported secret that literally no one – perpetrators, bystanders, or victims – ever mentioned to anyone not just during the 3 years they were happening, but over the next 35 years and throughout numerous FBI background checks into people who were involved in them, is beyond rational belief. Literally.

          Like

        • “though it stuns me.”

          Despite my pretensions to cynicism, I’m probably being too idealistic and naive here in believing that the truth matters.

          Like

        • m, I’m probably being too idealistic and naive here in believing that the truth matters,

          Yes, because obviously I was saying truth is irrelevant versus the probability, given the timing and coordination, that they are lying.

          Like

        • jnc:

          I’m probably being too idealistic and naive here in believing that the truth matters.

          I asked you the other day why you think it matters, and the reason you gave is that it matters for determining whether Kavanaugh has lied, in which case he has disqualified himself. The implication of that is that the truth of this particular claim does not actually matter for itself. If you think it does matter in itself, then my question to you remains….why?

          Like

        • “But it was Swetnick that apparently makes McArdle think an FBI investigation is warranted.”

          I think an FBI investigation raises the stakes for the accusers as well.

          Keep in mind that the alternative to an FBI investigation isn’t that they go away quietly. It’s 60 Minutes.

          Like

        • At this point, I think it needs to be investigated regardless. It matters whether it was true or bullshit.

          I’ve got no dog in this race, per se. Kavanaugh would not have been my first choice, and I still think Garland should have gotten a vote and probably appointed to SCOTUS.

          That being said, I’m having difficulty imagining a scenario in which these charges are anything but utter bullshit at every level. It may be a limitation on my imagination, but everything screams, at best, “false memory” or just “thinking I remember way better than I actually do” and at worst and probably more likely “intentional, utter fabrication”.

          Taking this all too seriously is going to ruin the nomination process from here on out, I expect, in a way that Bork and Thomas could only have dreamed of doing.

          Like

        • KW:

          Taking this all too seriously is going to ruin the nomination process from here on out, I expect, in a way that Bork and Thomas could only have dreamed of doing.

          The nomination process has already been ruined, as far as I can tell. It was inevitable once the court became a politicized, policy making body. The Dems realized this in 1987. Took the R’s a decade to catch up, but every nomination is now a partisan political battle. The old standards – termperment, knowledge of the law, etc – will still matter, but the deciding factor has now become 1) will this judge support legal abortion (among other progressive policies) from the bench and 2) what needs to be done to get enough votes to either confirm or prevent confirmation, depending on the answer to number 1. And, as in any other election, nothing will be out of bounds when answering number 2.

          Like

        • KW:

          …and I still think Garland should have gotten a vote and probably appointed to SCOTUS.

          I think he should have gotten a vote and been rejected.

          Like

        • Either way, I think he should have gotten a vote.

          But though I found the Republicans tactics inappropriate and lying about them eye-rolling, what the Democrats are doing here is just mind-boggling to me. Next time the Republicans hold the senate with an incumbent Dem, I’ll expect them to refuse to bring a nomination to the floor even if it’s 3.5 years until the next election. Just because. And I’m just going to shrug, because what’s the point in worrying about it if nobody is going to play by the rules?

          Concur on SCOTUS becoming a legislative body. How it became that they could never be checked or balanced by any other branch of government kind of mystifies me. Should have been possible for the president to do a SCOTUS veto that required a 2/3rd majority of SCOTUS votes to overrule. 😉

          Like

        • Despite my pretensions to cynicism, I’m probably being too idealistic and naive here in believing that the truth matters.

          A: I don’t think there’s any way to know the truth, at least about these accusations. You might get enough verbal corroboration against verbal disagreement, and do a spreadsheet counting the incidents, but even that won’t get you much closer to knowing the truth. It’s entirely possible Ford doesn’t even known the truth. What the FBI can add to a 30 year old allegation (only recently made, but all available evidence, though some testimony suggests she did mention it earlier) I have no idea. But I expect absolutely nothing.

          B: I’d be more sanguine about “has to be investigated” if the timing wasn’t an obvious delaying tactic.

          C: Unless there’s actual evidence that doesn’t rely on human memory, I’m very dubious of what anybody has to say and don’t believe there’s any circumstance in which an objective truth can be distilled from it. And, again, given that it’s an obvious tactic . . . I think the best thing to do would be to go ahead, have a vote, and then have him not get in, which I expect would be the outcome. Given the success of this particular tactic thus far.

          Truth matters, but it also matters if the truth is knowable (in this case, I don’t think it is) and exactly what the truth is (in this case what Kavanaugh might have done 30 years ago that involved, by all appearances, wrestling with a girl who didn’t want to be wrestled with). I don’t see this truth as particular relevant to his appointment, except to the degree cynical politicians and activists have successfully manipulated the narrative to make something that, rationally, should not be relevant . . . into something decisive.

          Eh, humans are nuts. And a good witch trial requires the admission of spectral evidence. And so here we are.

          Like

        • “the timing and coordination”

          I don’t see the coordination. I see one accusation leaking and then other people being emboldened and jumping on the bandwagon independently.

          Had The Intercept not published the original story based on the leaks from Feinstein’s staff (or someone else with knowledge), then the committee would have voted last week.

          Like

        • Feinstein apparently sat on it until the 11th hour so there was some kind of timing. Coordination might have been more a matter of opportunity than planning, the folks jumping on the bandwagon seem to have a similar background and intent (and, if I’m not mistaken, share the same legal advisers).

          Like

        • Had The Intercept not published the original story based on the leaks from Feinstein’s staff (or someone else with knowledge), then the committee would have voted last week.

          That’s not coordination in your mind? If not, is it your position that Feinstein was sabotaged?

          Like

      • It’s like the McMartin Pre-School case revisited.

        And that’s exactly what it’s like. Exactly. People got swept up in the accusations and believed things rational human beings should not have, and a sort of mass hysteria gripped the proceedings.

        Fortunately, this is only screwing up the life of a guy who doesn’t deserve it (and perhaps the entire nomination process for the future), rather than ruining the lives of a bunch of innocent children and sending completely innocent people to jail for insane, evidence-free charges.

        Like

    • From McArdle:

      You do not risk putting a gang rapist on the Supreme Court to “own the libs” or even for the sake of overturning Roe v. Wade.

      This is beyond absurd. Every time you put a man on the court, you’ve “risked” the chance that he is as gang rapist. You can never know with ontological certainty that someone doesn’t hold some deep dark secret that has not yet been revealed. It’s always a “risk”. The relevant question is quite how much of a risk is it? And anyone who thinks that the risk that Kavanaugh is a gang rapist is materially higher today than it was last week or after any of the last 6 FBI background checks he’s been through simply because a fantastical accusation has suddenly been raised in the midst of a transparently political eleventh hour attempt to delay and ultimately prevent his appointment to the Court is delusional.

      Here’s a question for McArdle….if the FBI managed to miss the fact that Kavanaugh was a serial rapist during his high school days in the previous 6 background checks it did on him, what in the world makes her think the FBI is even competent enough to provide a meaningful investigation into these latest charges?

      And, of course, her characterization of what might be motivating the R’s is facile.

      Like

  3. Another piece of heresy on my part, I agree with this too:

    “What Mark Judge’s Absence Reveals

    The conspicuous absence of the only other witness to an alleged assault committed by Brett Kavanaugh reveals a Senate hearing held in bad faith.
    12:51 PM ET
    Adam Serwer”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/kavanaugh-ford-mark-judge/571540/

    If the politics were reversed, every Republican would ask what’s being covered up.

    Like

    • Feinstein would have rejected out of hand a Grassley late hit and the nominee would have been confired two weeks ago.

      Like

    • jnc:

      …reveals a Senate hearing held in bad faith.

      Of course the hearing is being held in bad faith! As I have said repeatedly, not one single Senator actually cares about the truth of these allegations, not least because, again, the truth is literally impossible to establish to any reasonable degree. The hearings are entirely about politics, for both sides. They are not, and were never intended by anyone to be, a truth-seeking event.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure how long representative government can go on once it becomes entirely an exercise of bad faith.

        Like

        • Well, the timeline can be established by SCOTUS appointments over the years.

          There has historically been a bit of a pendulum. So we’ll see if it swings back, if we live long enough.

          Like

        • jnc:

          I’m not sure how long representative government can go on once it becomes entirely an exercise of bad faith.

          31 years and counting.

          Like

    • “If the politics were reversed, every Republican would ask what’s being covered up.”

      Of course they would. Wouldn’t mean they were right, but of course they would.

      But I see absolutely no reason to bring in a guy Kavanaugh used to know 30 years ago and subject him to public interrogation because he made the wrong friend in high school. That’s not an attempt and fact-finding, that’s an attempt to spread the pain to send the message that everyone you ever loved will be crucified unless you do what we want.

      Like

      • Judge wrote a book about his and Kavanaugh’s party days. They can at least depose him privately under oath.

        Like

        • I suppose. Still kind of feels like when the press went through Palin’s garbage, to me, but a private deposition would at least minimize the damage. One hopes.

          That being said, I still don’t see how it’s going to actually move the needle even a fraction towards an objective truth. But it is what it is.

          Like

  4. On an unrelated subject:

    “The Government Wants Airlines to Delay Your Flight So They Can Scan Your Face

    Sam Biddle
    September 26 2018, 2:57 p.m.”

    https://theintercept.com/2018/09/26/airport-facial-recognition-flight-delay/

    Like

  5. Kavanaugh ripping into the Dems. I think he’s taking the right approach. Fuck it.

    Like

  6. I missed this morning. But I’m in a cab listening now. I assume he’s giving them the finger.

    Like

  7. They pissed off Lyndsey Graham.

    Like

  8. Apparently Feinstein is now blaming “Ford’s friends” for leaking her letter to the press. I guess that means that Feinstein thinks Ford perjured herself, since she testified that she gave the letter to only her lawyer and DiFi.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That Democrats on the committee seemed so butthurt over being accused by Kavanaugh of obvious coordination to smear him with trumped up accusations was particularly delicious.

    Also, that was GREAT FUCKING TELEVISION!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So, what do we know today that we didn’t know yesterday morning? Thank goodness Grassley scheduled that hearing. Very edifying!

    Like

    • When know that Lindsay Graham actually has a spine, that’s new. Characterized by the left as a meltdown, the same way Kavanaugh’s response was characterized as making him look like a raging alcoholic. Because why would someone be angry about being falsely accused of being a serial gang rapist?

      It was another example of the kabuki theater that seems to dominate in Washington, and another example of how worthless these public senate hearings are. But that was nothing new.

      Like

Be kind, show respect, and all will be right with the world.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: