Morning Report: Initial jobless claims lowest since the 1960s.

Vital Statistics:


Last Change
S&P futures 2878 -0.75
Eurostoxx index 387.8 -1
Oil (WTI) 62.72 0.26
10 year government bond yield 2.50%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.20%


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


Mortgage Applications increased 18.6% last week as rates fell. The purchase index rose 3% while the refi index rose 39%. The refi share increased to 47% of total applications.  “There was a tremendous surge in overall applications activity, as mortgage rates fell for the fourth week in a row – with rates for some loan types reaching their lowest levels since January 2018. Refinance borrowers with larger loan balances continue to benefit, as we saw another sizeable increase in the average refinance loan size to $438,900 – a new survey record,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “We had expected factors such as the ongoing strong job market and favorable demographics to help lift purchase activity this year, and the further decline in rates is providing another tailwind. Purchase applications were almost 10 percent higher than a year ago.” Separately, Black Knight said that last week’s drop in rates increased the refinanceable mortgage pool by 50%.


The ISM non-manufacturing index slipped in March, although it is still quite strong. One of the comments from the report mentioned residential construction: “While we have a slowed down in residential service and install [area], we are still experiencing strength in the new commercial construction area.” (Construction) Another: “April is when our real busy season begins and it has arrived early this year, demand is quite strong.” (Real Estate, Rental & Leasing). Others mentioned that the labor market remains tight“Labor is tight and in short supply.” (Accommodation & Food Services)


Initial Jobless Claims fell to 202,000 last week, so despite the weak ADP print, the labor market still looks strong. For those keeping score at home, this was the lowest print in 50 years. To put that in perspective, the last time we had that few initial jobless claims, the population was 33% lower and we had a military draft.


Home prices are falling in the markets that led the way off the bottom. MSAs like the Bay Area, Nashville, Austin, and Florida are experiencing declines as listings surge. On the other hand, the lagging markets are finally having their day. Unloved markets like Milwaukee WI and Rochester N

14 Responses

  1. Peak Trump:

    “Trump plans to nominate Herman Cain to Fed board, aiming to add loyalist to independent central bank”

    Time for the 9-9-9 plan of monetary policy.

    Edit: I didn’t realize he had been chair of the Kansas City Fed. Not as crazy as I thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have zero problem with any of Trump’s nominations so far. Time may prove me wrong, but I don’t foresee a sudden eruption of runaway double-digit inflation because Moore and Cain are on the Fed board.

      I think the real problem (other than the rightward lean of Trump’s candidates) is that Cain and Moore (though elite in their own way) feel much more representative of the hoi-poloi and the high school GED side of the ledger, and the last thing anyone wants is people not clearly cultivated from the Ivy League elite to being doing Important Work in government.


    • This is why I hate the press:

      While Senate Republicans seemed largely amenable to Moore’s nomination, the prospect of Cain’s nomination unsettled some in the GOP. A Senate GOP leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the nominee’s prospects, predicted Cain would ultimately not have the support to be confirmed.

      Uh-huh. No indication what the objection is (sexual harassment, presumably). No indication who or how many have a problem.

      “It seems that President Trump has no respect for expertise. He is more interested in filling the Fed jobs with political allies than people well suited for the positions,” said Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, a top adviser to Mitt Romney and former president George W. Bush.

      Translation: Trump doesn’t seem to understand that Ivy League academics are superior to mouth-breathers and regular, fly-over country folks and should run all their lives for them. They should never be let in to the halls of power! That belongs to us!


      • Also why I hate the media: The Post reached out to three of the four women who in 2011 had accused Cain of sexual harassment but did not immediately hear back from any. A White House spokesperson declined to comment.


  2. FYI I just landed in DC. I’m here to see my daughter, but I’ll have a lot of open time over the next few days so if any of you DCers are around and want to grab a drink, I’m buying so drop me a note here or on my email.


  3. Delicious!

    People close to the former president say that he is standing behind Biden amid allegations from seven women that the former vice president made them uncomfortable by touching them inappropriately at public events.


    • This is outstanding.

      When I was younger orals were considered a surefire fun birth control activity.

      Who could have guessed the progress that was to cum?


    • If true, there’s a hormone or protein or combination involved that could be turned into a pill, and if true that’s exactly what will happen. So no one should get their hopes up.

      It would also be useful to look into how many of the researches wives were currently pregnant or trying to become so. Science is vulnerable to researcher bias.


  4. I just read a tweet thread in which George Papadopoulus said “…now that we know Mifsud was working with the FBI the entire time…” and also referred to the fact that Mifsud was not a Russian intelligence asset, but is instead known to be an Italian asset working with the FBI.

    Question: Is this really something that we “know”, and if so, how do we know it? Because if it is true, then it seems kinda obvious that the FBI itself created the circumstance which supposedly justified spying on the Trump campaign. Was Papadopoulus set up by people working for the Obama admin?


    • This has become the conclusion of many. I actually think my MILF, Mollie Hemingway, suspects this. I don’t think we’re there yet nor will we get there. That’s not to say it didn’t happen but we’re dealing with some pretty smart people.

      The alternative is that these very smart people believed Christopher Steele’s bullshit, hook line and sinker.

      Also, let’s say it’s true and Barr and Wray find evidence, do you think they’d be willing to burn down the departments they’ve spend their lives fetishizing? I don’t. Also, what would be done? I think back to the JFK assasination, what was Earl Warren to do with conspiracy evidence? Like the conspirators would have let him live? Also, what if Oswald was a Russian assassin, what would LBJ have done, nuke Russia?

      Shit happens, I guess.


      • McWing:

        I actually think my MILF, Mollie Hemingway,…

        LOL. For some reason I think she would appreciate that monicker.


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