Morning Report: Markets closed on Wednesday

Vital Statistics:


Last Change
S&P futures 2798 40
Eurostoxx index 362.59 5.1
Oil (WTI) 52.94 2.02
10 year government bond yield 3.03%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.83%


Stocks are higher this morning after the US and China agreed to a 90 day trade truce. Bonds and MBS are down.


China and the US agreed to halt further tariffs against each other, and agreed to fresh talks to try and end the trade war. This has sent stocks up sharply in Europe and Asia, and emerging markets are especially strong. Whether this actually turns out to be the end is anyone’s guess, but at least dire trade warnings will be off the headlines for a while.


The stock markets will be closed in observance of a day of mourning for George H.W. Bush, who passed away over the weekend. SIFMA has recommended that the bond markets close on Wednesday as well.


We have a lot of data this week, which will probably be dominated by the Employment Situation Report on Friday. Jerome Powell will be speaking on Wednesday and we will get productivity as well as the ISM reports.


The typical mortgage originator made $480 on each loan (all-in) in the third quarter, a drop from $580 in the second quarter. Declining volumes are driving the drop, which is being offset somewhat from servicing income gains. “These are very challenging times for independent mortgage bankers, with the average pre-tax net production income per loan reaching its lowest level for any third quarter since inception of our report in 2008,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “Profitability continues to be hindered by high costs and low productivity. We expect fixed costs to remain elevated, and competitive pressures will continue to hamper production revenues in the winter months. Therefore, mortgage banker profitability will likely remain challenged.” It won’t get any better as we enter the seasonally slow period.


37 Responses

  1. What else did they expect? Wall Streeters, more than anyone else on the planet, understand the concept of risk and reward.


    • Finally, he landed on the solution: “Just try not to be an asshole.”

      That’s pretty much the bottom line, said Ron Biscardi, chief executive officer of Context Capital Partners. “It’s really not that hard.”


      • As we saw in the Kavanaugh hearings, women lie sometimes.

        In other words, “don’t be an asshole” is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to avoid trouble.

        Upside in taking these risks? Zero.
        Downside? Massive.


    • Damned if you do..


      • you can take the legal opinion of a Millennial Esquire writer straight to the bank…

        The sense of entitlement is palpable. Mentor Me! I demand it!

        of course I supposedly am the one who is entitled.

        Liked by 1 person

        • He’s actually quoting this guy from the Bloomberg article:

          “There’s a danger, too, for companies that fail to squash the isolating backlash and don’t take steps to have top managers be open about the issue and make it safe for everyone to discuss it, said Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison.

          “If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment,” he said, “those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.””

          But I think that will be a case where the company has general liability vs individual liability for the men.


        • I think that would be almost impossible to prove…

          Of course if you get a leftist judge proof isn’t needed


      • I think sex discrimination based on risk avoidance is a way more defensible position than any you can have against sexual harassment complaints.

        Although one could argue this is a form of triangulation, moving to the point where the only acceptable outcome is an all female workplace. Which will be discriminatory against transwomen, maybe, or gender fluid folks. So . . . eh, there’s no way to win. Doom! We’re all doomed!


    • BTW, I called this a long time ago…

      Liked by 1 person

    • “If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment,” he said, “those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”

      The second position is way more defensible. Sexual harassment complaints are very difficult to defend against, and there will tend to be a lot more support for a person saying “I don’t want to dine alone with this woman or stay on the same hotel floor or even in the same hotel.” At least it is now, until “refusing to go to dinner with a particular woman” becomes a new form of sexual assault.

      If the choice is between getting accused of rape or getting accused of avoiding women, I think the latter choice is much safer.

      Finally, he landed on the solution: “Just try not to be an asshole.”

      That’s pretty much the bottom line, said Ron Biscardi, chief executive officer of Context Capital Partners. “It’s really not that hard.”

      This assumes that all women are going to be good actors, and conduct themselves in good faith. Which is simply not the case.

      And unless you can read minds or see the future, you can’t know you’ve made a mistake in that arena until it’s too late.

      And if you’re setting company policy, you have liability issues to consider. Corporate policy may well be (and usually is) something like “don’t be an asshole”, but if individual assholes abuse their position in ways that leaves the entire company liable, tactical approaches that reduce or eliminate situations where harassment can occur make sense.


    • I don’t think the subsidy is a big deal, particularly. Might have put a few more people in electric cars that otherwise, but a lot of it was just to make electric cars more affordable for people who wanted them, right now, so they could be cool.

      But I’m feeling like this is bad news for Elon Musk.



    report on improving competition in health care.
    1. scaling back CON laws
    2. addressing scope of practice turf wars
    3. reducing barrier to entry by increasing number slots in GME
    4. addressing the distoring featurs of 3rd party coverage.

    pdf at the link.


    • what do you think will be the impact of the CVS / Aetna merger?


      • on competition? not much. pretty sure optum (aka) united is going to rule the world soon.

        re: this, the more we can integrate pharmacy the better.


        • Is the game plan to eventually offer on-site visits at a CVS (or CVS-owned clinic)? The already do things like flu shots. Squeeze the costs out of the primary care loop…

          Liked by 1 person

        • it’s about the data and population health.

          edit — meaning, if they can capture some of that primary care, sure, but the real issue is keeping you out of the hospital at all cost.
          the big buzzword is Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) — and basically, they want to be able to predict who in their panel is at risk for chronic disease and figure out how address it. stuff like owning the pharmacy helps with medication adherence, etc.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. the language police are at it again…


    • Good luck with that. Normal humans will always eat bacon, and if humanity abandons the wonders of bacon, it will soon go extinct. Then no one will be saying anything.

      Also, it’s very hard to bend the language to your narrow agenda on purpose.


  4. I’m enjoying Trump dunking on Macron.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 3rd and 4th sentences are interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oh well, this started way before Weinstein the the MeToo craze, and is going to become normal outside of Wall Street.

      Like i said, zero upside, hellacious downside. Some man trying to be an ally or a hero is going to find out the hard way. Ain’t gonna be me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zero upside. The narcissism of modern “victims” is revealed when the keep insisting that other people do things that have zero upside for the other person, because they want them too. As if only their desires matter.


        • The victimhood totem pole says that we must do these things that have zero upside cause fairness. or something.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Were are the economists? This fantasy world that incentives don’t matter–this folks need to be disabused of this notion. You change incentives, you change behaviors.

          They know this at one level, as making the price of harassment high and painful is an incentive that will and does reduce sexual harassment. On the other hand, that’s not going to be the only effect. And increasing the scale and scope of the incentives are going to provide plenty of negative incentives, especially as alternatives to suffering through a one-sided, oppressive relationship that paints you as exploiter-and-rapist flourish.


        • it’s the “zero upside” that is hanging people up.
          what do you mean zero upside!


        • Zero upside is more like very little upside. Risk/reward and cost/benefit. What’s the benefit of mentoring a person who has a moderate risk of deciding you did something bad to her? What’s the benefit of going to a one-on-one lunch with a female client or employee, in most circumstances? Upside is very low. If I have two qualified people for a position and one is a woman and one is a man, what’s the upside for me if I decide to go diverse? Then weigh that against the apparent potential downside.


        • These people think I have some obligation to topple over their imagined white male hegemony.

          I don’t.

          Liked by 1 person

    • But the implication is that those in a position of power are the ones who need protection, and that’s just not true.

      Exactly how are individual, average men in a position of power in the new relationships/hook-up culture? Even “low-ley famous” men, or perhaps especially low-key famous men, do not strike me as the one’s on top of the totem pole when it comes to power and accusation.

      Trump, a possible-billionaire that is super-well connected and is now president is a position of power. Brett Kavanaugh had a lot of resources to draw on, and would have even if he hadn’t gotten on to the court. The guy who asked the author to record a consent video has what power exactly? Billions of dollars? Friends with a dozen high-power attorneys?

      The “born a victim” culture seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of power. White dudes can be completely and utterly powerless in a given situation, just like anybody else, if they lack the resources (internal or external) to defend themselves.

      Was he really so paranoid that I might go on to accuse him of something he didn’t do?

      Said as if this is bizarrely unthinkable and unimaginable.

      For me, digitally recording consent is a misunderstanding of the concept.

      It seems to me to be a realistic contemporary understanding of the concept, very well.

      The Crown Prosecution Service has strict new guidelines relating to the disclosure of communications material. This follows the collapse of a number of high-profile cases where material that undermined the prosecution’s case was not disclosed to the defence.

      That seems to kind of support the argument that the accusers in these situations have a significant amount of power, if the practice of the prosecution is to routinely attempt to convict people they have good reason to believe are innocent. Not saying this doesn’t happen in all sorts of other situation, but it belies to argument that all the power somehow rests with the accused.

      A “yes”, pre-recorded or not, can be just as ambiguous as some men suggest a “no” is.

      So, no means no, but yes doesn’t mean yes. It can also mean no, apparently.

      A young man would be entirely rational if they decided to embrace lifelong bachelorhood and avoided romantic relationships like the plague. IMO.


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