Morning Report: Retail sales and consumer sentiment falls

Vital Statistics:

S&P futures4,13929.8
Oil (WTI)64.590.77
10 year government bond yield 1.63%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.20%

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

Retail Sales were flat in April after a big rise in March. Ex-autos they fell 0.8%. The control group, which excludes autos, gas and building products fell 1.5%.

In other economic data, industrial production fell 0.4% in April, while manufacturing production rose 0.4%. Capacity Utilization rose to 74.9%.

Consumer confidence fell in May, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence survey. Consumer sentiment came in well below expectations. Both current and expectations indices fell.

Home purchase applications decreased 9% MOM, but were up 31% YOY, according to the MBA. “Purchase applications for new homes, unadjusted for typical seasonal patterns, declined in April, but the average loan size increased to its highest level in MBA’s survey,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The purchase market remains strong overall, but low housing inventory and accelerating home prices have started to adversely impact purchase activity. Additionally, homebuilders have reported significantly higher input prices, which is contributing to the ongoing rise in sales prices and average loan sizes.” 

There are 17.8 million homes that have more than 50% equity, according to the latest ATTOM data. This is about a third of the 55.8 million mortgaged properties in the US. On the other side of the coin, about 2.6 million are seriously underwater which they take to mean a LTV of 125% or more.

28 Responses

  1. Goddamn, Trump is still that fucking powerful.


    • The comments are weird on that one. Every comment I read is like: “That’s stupid” or “that’s bullshit” or “yeah, it was Trump, not your own bad behavior”.

      Unusual for people to have reactions that seem reasonably grounded on Twitter.


      • Wait until you read the replies on the Tweet I just posted.


        • Interesting. Amazing how many experienced scientists and doctors there are on Twitter to knowledgeably pronounced on the evils of NON-SyMPTOMATIC COVID.

          They want us masked and locked down to prevent people from “catching” a positive test result, without any symptoms or any disease process.

          I’ve read several replies and nobody has discussed that vaccinated people testing positive may be more indicative of poor testing regimens than a pandemic of non-symptomatic COVID. Which again–if there is no disease process, why the fear?


  2. The replies to this tweet and mind boggling. I’m completely stupefied.

    I fundamentally don’t understand the need of people to believe the risk is exponentially higher than it actually is. Or, is it a desire to be able to readily “Karen” people?


    • The latter.


    • I like this one: That may be true, but you can bet that those that aren’t vaxxed won’t be wearing masks and they can infect others.

      So they will be spreading it to other people who also aren’t vaxxed. So whose responsibility is it? If they want to take that risk what business is it, really, of the Twitter Blue Checkmark crowd? It won’t be affecting people who got vaccinated and get their boosters, and it really shouldn’t impact those who are social distancing and avoiding large crowds and otherwise doing what their terror informs them they should do to avoid risk.

      My mom called me an anti-vaxxer the other day because I said I wasn’t taking the mRNA vaccine. Even though I said I was going to take the J&J probably, in my own time and when convenient. Youngest daughter wants to take the Pfizer vaccine since she can now . . . which I said was fine. I wouldn’t have forced her to if she didn’t want to and I won’t tell her she can’t, although I remain in favor of the attenuated virus vaccinations rather than the mRNA until many, many years have passed. 😉

      Given the actual risk matrix. If people had been dropping dead left and right all around me–if the fatality rate was more like 10% or 20%–I’d definitely be taking the mRNA vaccine (if it was first available) because the risk calculation would be entirely different.

      But I love that not wanting to take one experimental gene therapy they are now calling a “vaccine” makes me an anti-vaxxer. I get the frackin’ flu shot every year, and have since 1998. Or 1999. Don’t even remember now, but I’ve been getting it for 22 years at least.

      But . . . lefties. Whatcha gonna do?


      • I’d actually think that mRNA is safer based on my understanding of the technology. It will be interesting to see if it becomes the basis of the seasonal flu vaccine.


        • If it turns out to be safer (and, long term, I think it definitely will be–and might be already, just there’s always a “time will tell” element to the broad rollout of a new technology, particularly a medical technology, that makes my risk assessment suggest I stick with a more known quantity, even if in the long run in turns out the mRNA is actually safer).

          I 100% expect it will be flu shots and some point in the not too distant future, in no small part because they can deliver the vaccines faster–that is the advantage of mRNA–and chances are pipeline it so they can deliver them very, very fast. So they don’t have to try and guess what’s going to be the big flu strains for the year nearly as far in advance as they do now.

          Ultimately I expect mRNA vaccinations will be all for the good. I’m just not in a hurry to take my first one. Ten years of the early adopters being fine and ten years of the process being perfected . . . that would be my personal preference.


  3. Like

    • I think the key phrase was, “bigger threat.”

      is right: 9-11 was a horror and a shock, but bin Laden was never an actual threat to our democracy, as are the Republicans that ousted Cheney for not kowtowing to the lie that Trump won.

      Just mystified.

      The 9/11 hijackers did not undermine democracy in America like Republicans are doing.

      Yeah okay.


      • Like

  4. Like

    • I just read that. And looked up the Tweet after I read the article.

      Good for him. I hope he takes Apple to task. Not sure if a lawsuit is justified but I think there’s an argument Apple has handled this situation in a defamatory way.

      Taibbi’s story ends with him referring to an incident I don’t recall where he apologized for things he had written a long time before–because he genuinely regretted them. But now he’s sorry he did that. And I think this is where this is headed: nobody can afford to apologize to the cancel crowd, even if you genuinely regret having said or done something. This isn’t Hugh Grant showing up on Leno. Or Aresnio. Wherever Grant did is mea culpa.

      There can be no more mea culpas. I think that’s what all this points to.


      • “And I think this is where this is headed: nobody can afford to apologize to the cancel crowd, even if you genuinely regret having said or done something.”

        For all his faults, Trump did understand this central insight and the nature of his opposition.

        His best line ever was:

        “In reality they’re not after me. They’re after you. I’m just in the way.”

        That was always his strongest argument.


      • Taibbi got attacked for some of his old writings from Russia:


      • This was great:

        I’m a fan of Dr. Dre’s music and have been since the N.W.A. days. It’s not any of my business if he wants to make $3 billion selling Beats by Dre to Apple, earning himself a place on the board in the process. But if 2,000 Apple employees are going to insist that they feel literally unsafe working alongside a man who wrote a love letter to a woman who towers over him in heels, I’d like to hear their take on serving under, and massively profiting from, partnership with the author of such classics as “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and “Lyrical Gangbang,” who is also the subject of such articles as “Here’s What’s Missing from Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up.”


        • It was. But it doesn’t surprise me at all. Garcia-Martinez was easily disposable and, presumably, no threat to Apple, so it was very easy for them to virtue signal with his firing. I’m hoping it ends up costing them but I’m not holding my breath.

          My preference would be–rather than Dre getting called and the carpet–that the cancelations stop, that corporations begin to resist and ignore them, and that some strategy is developed to push back against them so that stuff–which is not about anything other than enforcing conformity through fear–stops.



    This is interesting. Colonial Pipeline ransomware was through an affiliate organizations that basically retails ransomware attacks. I didn’t know there were such things and seems particularly vulnerable to law enforcement. Retailing ransomware attacks does not seem like a good business model. The retail outlet that enabled the Colonial attack is shutting its doors but another one remains open—but has put new rules in place. They have to approve the target and it can’t be a government entity or a provider of social services like healthcare or education.

    Interesting. We got hit with a ransomware attack several months ago—we did the hard labor of restoring everything manually and taking the hit of two weeks or so of lost data.


  6. Just reading some NRO. Even now so many articles with asides in them about how Jan. 6th was DEFINITELY AND UNQUESTIONABLY a failed coup attempt and totally not a riot like George Floyd so infinitely worse …. that I get the feeling that’s in the NRO style book now, or is native advertising.

    I don’t see a logical argument at all for the Capitol riot having been a coup attempt. Nobody went in armed. Some of the more enthusiastic actors were Trump opposition trying to stir the pot and produce viral videos. There were no military plans, no predetermined folks to assume positions in the new government, and no discernible organization between the participants other than “Trump really won! The election was stolen!”

    Not sure why organs like NRO feel they have to keep hammering that narrative. Going the “it was an awful riot caused by Trump’s intentional incitement” seems like a much better and more believable narrative, to me.


    • One of the funniest Facebook memes I saw was

      “The US spends $x billions on Homeland Security and can’t stop a shirtless guy with horns on his head and a flag from taking down the government”.


    • I think if you expect to work as a political writer, you have to toe the ideological line


  7. Good read.


  8. They’re in trouble if they faked their vaccination papers.


  9. Great article:

    “Mounting Violence Casts Doubt Over the Project of Progressive “Reform” Prosecutors

    As a spate of progressive district attorneys takes office throughout the country, violent recidivism has some Philadelphians second-guessing their reformist district attorney.

    Ralph Cipriano”


  10. This will end well.


    • I don’t know why the Republicans are going along with this.


    • Presumably the GOP thinks it will accomplish something for them. Make them look cooperative or give them an opportunity to grandstand or maybe show the Democrats as being a party intent on persecuting political enemies?

      Well I guess we will see.


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