Morning Report: Red October ends

Vital Statistics:


Last Change
S&P futures 2704 19.25
Eurostoxx index 361.06 5.53
Oil (WTI) 66.46 0.28
10 year government bond yield 3.14%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.89%


Stocks are recovering as we end the worst month for stocks in a while. Bonds and MBS are down.


Facebook reported last night and rose despite a revenue miss. GM is up 10% pre-open on blowout earnings, while GE cut its dividend to a penny. Earnings are generally good this quarter, although if you focused only on the indices you would figure they were terrible.


Home prices rose 5.8% in August, according to the Case-Shiller home price index. Las Vegas led the way with 14% growth. San Francisco and Seattle were the other big winners. Underneath the headline number, we are starting to see some month-over-month declines if you look at the seasonally adjusted indices. Ultimately wages need to catch up with the new reality of higher interest rates and higher home prices.


Despite what is going on in housing, consumer confidence remains strong, with the consumer sentiment indices just off multi-decade highs. Historically this index has reflected gasoline prices (gas prices up, consumer confidence down), but that has broken down over the past couple of years. This confidence has allowed companies to raise prices for the first time in a decade, with a laundry list of firms from consumer staples to airlines increasing prices in reaction to increased costs, particularly fuel. Some companies are not raising prices, but cutting sizes. Wages are picking up, but they are generally lagging some of these increases in the inflation indices.


Freddie Mac sees home sales improving in 2019 despite an uptick in mortgage rates. Originations are expected to be flat at $1.65T while home price appreciation and GDP growth are expected to moderate. The 30 year fixed rate mortgage is expected to average around 5.1% for the year, and then jump an additional 50 basis points in 2020.


freddie mac mortgage rates


Janet Yellen told a conference that the current deficit track is unsustainable, and that if she had a magic wand, she would raise taxes and cut retirement spending.


Part of the inflation puzzle has always been healthcare inflation, especially in prescription drugs. Amazon looks to be entering the Rx business, and CVS is piloting a free delivery subscription program. Health care is a big part of the inflation picture and perhaps these big can take a bite out of inflation via their market strength.

27 Responses

    • Oh bullshit. The news media is liberal because they want to straighten the crooked timber of society. if it was just about making money, they wouldn’t have ceded half the market to one outlet.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “People should trust reporters.”

      Now that’s bullshit. Also, the goal here seems to be “I’m Chomsky’s rightful heir!”

      And he’s still peddling the idea that some vague unseen force is orchestrating all the media to manipulate us, not that we’re watching one natural manifestation of human nature. We’re just tribal creatures. Not that complicated.


    • I’d read the entire series before passing judgement. I think he’s right on how the commercial considerations also play into it.


      • I think commercial considerations *do* play into it, and from the commercial standpoint, they have to pick a side. CNN and MSNBC pick variations of the left, Fox picks the right.

        Appealing to a “broad audience”, to the degree that any news outlet ever truly did so, was a product of the oligopoly of broadcast television before cable. Now, a broad, fact-based, largely opinion-free, rigorously-checked-for-bias news network would flop when tribalist have much more emotionally satisfying choices that cater to them, be it Fox, or Rush Limbaugh, or CNN, or Democracy Now.

        At the same time, there are stories that a modern network could cover, and some people at a given network might want to cover in a given way, that they don’t because they don’t see the ratings angle, or it might offend advertisers (I find it hard to believe that the billions the big pharmacy companies pump into news programs and networks does not effect the nature of some of the coverage).

        Taibbi’s larger argument that it’s all bullshit (which I readily grant) because of some sort of malevolent force or gentleman’s agreement not to discuss the Real Truth of American genocide seems a little cliche to me. I believe the reality is humans work from narratives that generally only vaguely resemble real life, so almost anyone could make a hundred different cases for “the real truth” the media doesn’t cover.

        And if they did cover Taibbi’s or Chomsky’s Real Truth’s and Big Things, they’d leave out those things for a ton of other people.

        …. but by definition commercial considerations are always going to play a role, same as individual and institutional biases. Flawed people have to report the news and run the organization; every part of getting the “news” out costs money. And getting that money means compromises (and always a primary bias of “getting the money” and “keeping our jobs”).


  1. Jon Stewart is right again:

    “AMANPOUR: So, do you think — because, obviously, we are all caught up in this sort of daily Trump fest. I mean, every single newspaper, every radio station, every bit of social media —

    STEWART: You got to make money, too.

    AMANPOUR: Well, it’s dissecting —

    STEWART: You have bills to pay. Man, you got electric bills, you got food. You know, this guy is — he’s giving you all cash. The cash flow in the Trump era for these TV stations and for these news —

    AMANPOUR: Can I say, that might have been an issue and maybe it still is an issue for the people who are the bean counters.

    STEWART: Yes.

    AMANPOUR: But we the journalists, we, I think, believe that our job is to navigate the truth and to do the fact checking and all the rest of it. So, I think that’s what most —

    STEWART: But I think the journalists have taken it personally.

    AMANPOUR: OK. That’s interesting.

    STEWART: They are personally wounded and offended by this man. He baits them. And they dive in. And what he’s done well, I thought, is appeal to their own narcissism, to their own ego. Because what he says is these are the — and the journalists stand up and say, “We are noble. We are honorable. How dare you, sir?” And they take it personally and now he has changed the conversation to not that his policies are silly or not working or any of those other things, it’s all about the fight. He is able to tune out everything else and get people just focused on the fight. And he’s going to win that fight.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like Stewart. And this was a very nice way to say journalists are entitled, gullible and easily manipulated.


    • Joe, see how Kev got Stewart to agree with him? I first noticed that DJT was suckering the press during the campaign when Kev explained it. Let’s give credit where credit is due.


      • Did I explain that? I’ll take your word for it.

        Trump was kind of operating on a theory that, for him, maximizing press coverage irrespective of content would work for him. And that was clearly true every where but California, but it was still a risk.

        I think it’s also likely that if Jon Stewart had been responsible for a newsroom and ratings and dozens of jobs in that newsroom, he would have been covering every Trump outrage exactly the same. He gets to be objective (as do we) because nobody’s job depends on whether we think the press should have covered the election with more balance.


      • Taibbi was the one who first brought my attention to it back in 2015.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Maybe you brought that here before Kev expanded it. My apologies, if so.

          Just to be clear, my “Cheney” remark was sarcastic, aimed at the very folks Kev just pointed to as lefty conspiracy theorists. Not actually aimed at that wing nut Brent.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. The irony could break the internet.


    • aside from bush did 9/11 to help halliburton?


    • I presently have no reason to think Soros is funding the caravan, or would want to. Some money he gives to some group might be providing aid, but ultimately I would consider that a non-issue.

      That being said, there are going to be collectives of people, amplified by the internet and the modern media, that are bristling with conspiracy theories. People are pattern-finders and pattern-seekers–of course we come up with conspiracy theories. And like colds, nobody is innately immune to them because they are Democrat or Republican or on the left or right.

      The only difference is that in the mainstream media, there is more tolerance for left wing conspiracy theories. I don’t detect much difference in the caravan theory and the idea, seriously promulgated as fact by a lot of lefties, that the Tea Party phenomenon was entirely astroturfed, funded by the Koch brothers.

      Some percentage of people of all stripes will deeply believe or casually agree with a wide variety of conspiracy theories. And people who feel themselves free of all conspiratorial thinking will routinely think that it’s all morons in other tribes that subscribe to such superstitious nonsense, and nobody also smart enough to agree with them on politics would ever subscribe to any kind of conspiracy theory.

      As pointed out: how many center-to-center-left people would characterize the Russian collusion story–a conspiracy theory by definition–a liberal conspiracy theory or a leftwing conspiracy theory?


      • Progressive High Command has issued a directive that all criticism of Soros must be categorized as anti-semitism. It went out a day or two ago..


        • The Koch’s are still evil personified, right?

          Liked by 1 person

        • What about criticism of Sheldon Adelson? Anti-Semitic? I need a call here.


        • What about criticism of Sheldon Adelson? Anti-Semitic? I need a call here.

          Some criticism of Adelson is Anti-Semitic. Some criticism of Soros is anti-Semitic. Some criticism of Israel is anti-semitic. It’s like porn – I know it when I see it.

          I can criticize Adelson, Soros, and Israel and not be anti-semitic, just like rappers can use the “n” word.

          Also, Miller’s family gets a free pass to criticize Miller.

          I cannot criticize the Pope. I think Scott can. Noting that Supreme Court Justices are only Catholic or Jewish could be nativist, anti-papist and anti-semitic, at the same time, although it is an apparent fact.

          It’s very nuanced.


        • Anti-Semitism in New York is very nuanced, indeed, according to the NYT.


        • I cannot criticize the Pope. I think Scott can.

          The Pope sucks.


        • It depends on the uniform you are wearing. Which is why you are permitted to level Brock Osweiler, but if you even frown at Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers out comes the yellow laundry…


        • all criticism of Soros must be categorized as anti-semitism

          All criticism of Trump needs to be categorized as fat-shaming. Or ageist.

          Certainly, any criticism of Candace Owens or Kanye West is racist, right?

          When everything is a dog whistle, then nothing is.


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