Morning Report: Incomes rise, spending falls

Vital Statistics:

S&P futures4,307-10.2
Oil (WTI)88.121.53
10 year government bond yield 1.83%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.77%

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

Personal incomes rose 0.3% in December, according to the BEA. Consumption fell by 0.6%. The PCE inflation index rose 5.8% on the headline number, and 4.9% if you exclude food and energy. On the spending side, goods increased while services fell. This is consistent with the increase in COVID cases.

The Fed has a difficult line to walk here, with weak spending going into a tightening cycle. FWIW, as the US population generally ages, spending is going to decline as boomers have bought their last TVs, their last sofas, etc.

The employment cost index rose 1% in the fourth quarter as salaries rose 1.1% and benefits rose 0.9%. For the year, employment costs increased 4.4%. Rising employment costs will be a big driver of any wage-price spiral we might get. It isn’t a given that we see one, but if the labor shortages continue, and cost of living adjustments get baked into people’s expectations we might.

Origination activity declined in December, according to Black Knight. That said, cash-out refis are up for the year, as borrowers tap home equity to refinance expensive credit card debt. The purchase / refi mix was almost 50-50 in December.

34 Responses

  1. Ironic:


  2. Worth noting:

    “Man Who Sold Pistol Used in Synagogue Hostage Crisis Federally Charged

    The man who sold Malik Faisal Akram the gun he used to kidnap hostages in a Texas synagogue earlier this month has been charged with a federal firearm crime, announced United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.

    Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, 32, was charged Tuesday via criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renée H. Toliver in the Northern District of Texas Wednesday afternoon. A detention hearing has been set for Monday, Jan. 31.”


  3. Scott, great article about shorting the meme stocks. Reminds me so much of the late 90s, when every POS stock was being bulled on IRC message boards.

    Jim Chanos almost got carried out on Enron, but he was right as rain and rode it to zero.

    I SO do not miss that business. Not one iota.


  4. You can observe it in real time:


    • That’s just shocking. It’s like watching the books get pulled out of the library after a glorious Revolution. Never seen such a weird stealth Revolution where the revolutionaries are so sure they’ve won but … it feels like they missed a step or three.


  5. Can’t they both lose?


  6. This made me laugh.

    Right now, even in Canada, dissent is not the highest form of patriotism.


  7. Is Jack Dorsey the most clueless, least self-aware person in the universe?


  8. This, to me, is an example of the Republican establishment being satisfied with losing rather than having the responsibility of leadership. It also explains we the establishment is so despised by the base.

    Lindsay et al, know this but are satisfied with the minority if it means getting rid of the Trump wing of the party.


  9. Lol


  10. The ADL redefines racism to exclude the possibility of white victims.

    We are genuinely witnessing the Orwellianization of society as we watch.


    • The way to fight back is to not use the left’s language. Or to note that the definitions are strictly the left’s take on things.


      • The problem is that this redefinition of terms makes it literally impossible to communicate with these people. They reject the language that makes a mutually understood conversation possible. They deliberately do not have a word for the objective idea of racism, so as to make it difficult, if not impossible, to investigate and demonstrate that their own ideology is grounded in it.


    • I posted the link to that above.


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