Morning Report: Dour consumer sentiment

Vital Statistics:

S&P futures3,97140.25
Oil (WTI)109.313.19
10 year government bond yield 2.90%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 5.44%

Stocks are rebounding this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are down small.

Jerome Powell sounded hawkish yesterday when discussing inflation.

“We fully understand and appreciate how painful inflation is,” Powell said in an interview with the Marketplace national radio program, repeating his expectation that the Fed will raise interest rates by half a percentage point at each of its next two policy meetings while pledging that if data turn the wrong way “we’re prepared to do more. Nothing in the economy works, the economy doesn’t work for anybody without price stability…We went through periods in our history where inflation was quite high … The process of getting inflation down to 2% will also include some pain, but ultimately the most painful thing would be if we were to fail to deal with it and inflation were to get entrenched in the economy at high levels, and we know what that’s like. And that’s just people losing the value of their paycheck.”

Import prices were flat in April after rising steadily for months. The US dollar has been rallying on higher interest rates in the US, which is helping offset rising inflation overseas. On a year-over-year basis they were up 7.2%.

Consumer sentiment fell in May, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey. As you can see from the chart below, consumer sentiment is associated with lows that are generally associated with deep recessions (especially 2008 – 2010 and 1980 – 1982). Inflation is the driving force here.

Consumers’ assessment of their current financial situation relative to a year ago is at its lowest reading since 2013, with 36% of consumers attributing their negative assessment to inflation. Buying conditions for durables reached its lowest reading since the question began appearing on the monthly surveys in 1978, again primarily due to high prices. The median expected year-ahead inflation rate was 5.4%

Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu

The one bright spot in the report is that consumers believe longer-term inflation will drop to 3% or so, which is still above the Fed’s long-term rate but probably not high enough to materially change consumer behavior.

39 Responses

  1. Gaddamn.


    • While I find Jonah Goldberg’s smugness increasingly irritating in general (and Rob Long’s sometimes, too) in general I’m more on the side of the centrist right, the National Review editors right, etc. Even though many of them were sincerely anti-Trump (and not crypto-leftist-anti-American-globalist-asshats like Kristol).

      But I’m just always bewildered that they hate Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert so much. I tend to be centrist and even leftish on issues but one thing I do believe in is the big tent, and these mother fuckers only think the tent needs to be big enough to stretch leftwards. I think there is plenty of room for Greene, who has said some stupid shit but won the election is has some balls which is more than I can say for most elected Republicans.


  2. Interesting exchange w/Dinesh here.

    I don’t know how Alex and Dinesh communicated here re trailer but if Dinesh is being honest then it further reinforces my belief that ALL people in media have no concept of how people in the real world do business. If there is evidence contra Dinesh we’ll see it though.


  3. Trying to understand the Musk/Twitter acquisition pause. Is the problem that Musk thinks there are more than 5% bots or is it that he’s surprised it’s that high?


    • The stock always traded well below the bid price indicating that the market was assigning a pretty sizeable probability that this wasn’t going to happen.


    • Maybe he’s publicly suggesting he might back out to see the price tank as a threat to any Twitter folks trying to block him in ways maybe not so public—basically making the point that he pretty much has the power to destroy the company. Or could potentially.

      He may be trying to back out but he may also be playing his own 3 dimensional chess.


  4. Got ‘em by the balls now!


    • I don’t understand this. Why is this the case?


      • The entire entertainment complex for the last 40 years has been directed at insulting and denigration middle America while the political class has been celebrated as righteous and good. It’s bound to have an effect on the politics class.


        • Sure it started 40 years ago. But even 15 years ago we had Iron Man. Really that was 14 years ago. 13 years ago I think we had the first Captain America. I have a hard time seeing Disney producing movies like that today. Lord of the Rings trilogy? They wouldn’t fucking make that now. I don’t think they’d made The Hangover.

          I dunno. The last 10 years have been the worst—with the past 5 being the very very worst. So I hate to think what this next generation is going to end up like.


        • Wasn’t it 20 years ago we had Friends and Home Improvement? The original Roseanne was 30ish years ago? If they made Friends now one would have to be trans, one gay, I don’t think there could be any straight white males. Tim Allen and Roseanne Barr would be in prison for being domestic terrorists. Only way those shows would work.


  5. It still fascinated me that Trump drives both the left and right media. That tells me that the country as a whole is very invested in Trump. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a political figure that so drives a country’s social and political discourse.


    • Trump remains much more compelling media than most politicians. And there’s a lot of emotions going on so folks on Twitter—who operate primarily on feelz—are going to be invested.

      I’m general I don’t think relitigating the 2020 election is going to be a successful campaign strategy with inflation, supply chains, immigration, future elections, CRT, Ukraine, Afghanistan, abortion and just profound democratic incompetence on the table.

      Relitigating 2020 when all my costs are going up and the current pols in power couldn’t give two-shits about the supply chain or increasing energy production will not make me want to vote for you.


  6. Interesting new 9th Circuit case; Rosenow

    I would have trouble drawing the lines on this issue. It seems to me that open and open ended access by the state to our voyages on line becomes an unreasonable search when exercised without a warrant. But do we expect “privacy” on the internet? I surely don’t.


    • I wouldn’t expect privacy but preservation of all data that travels through any Internet account in this cloud era can be complicated. Let’s say I have a friend who wants to transfer a terabyte of data and I help him him by temporarily dropping his drive contents on my Dropbox and then share it with him so he can pick it up from another location. I have no idea what’s in it but I am now legally culpable for his data? Months or years after it has been removed from my Dropbox?

      In the era of huge data capacity and so much data stored (and stealth 3rd party actors who may seamlessly inject data into yours) .., I’m not sure the quality of such data from a legal standpoint saying that you, Mark, are culpable for some forgotten zip file with a legal briefing you shouldn’t have had a copy of on a personal account that was emailed to you and misdirected to a spam folder and copied over when you did a backup of your email one day … in a sense the ruling implies anything known or unknown that ever made its way to your computer that ever transfers off your computer can now be permanently preserved for future liability and investigation. Seems likely to lead to a lot of confusing messes at best.


      • I agree with everything you wrote, Kev, and am struggling with drawing the line at what the police power can look at without a warant. I agree with Kerr that warrantless searches of your stored content should usually be considered unreasonable. But is that always the case? IDK.

        For instance, using your example, could the age of the communication have a bearing? If old, and remote, it seems it must take a warrant, even as it is stored on someone else’s server. The idea that what we have put on a server somewhere is always and forever fair game for government intrusion does seem wrong.


        • With big data there is an everyday problem of quality. How reliable is the data? When was it collected? Meta data is often absent or inaccurate. Running a bunch of files through a conversion process could attach meta data that makes you the “creator” when you never even looked at it.

          I can see it as being part of a bigger picture but the problem is what’s being looked at is not necessarily telling the story it appears to be (and even experts can talk them into a narrative that is as much based in bias as the facts).

          I don’t know what the answer is but … it’s problematic. What if I get your AppleID long enough to load some crap onto a file on your iCloud Drive and you don’t really pay that much attention to it and it sits there for a year and suddenly your being asked about this folder of illegal content you uploaded a year okay and it wasn’t you but you have no idea how it got there and no deniability? Maybe eventually a forensic audit of IP addresses that logged into you your account can prove something but maybe it can’t.

          Eh, a long messy future ahead of us, IMO.


  7. Uh, why is that?


    • I feel like they are trying to obfuscate their meaning but I’m left to conclude Hispanic communities must be protected from information that might lead them to vote for Republicans.


  8. You know the alternate reality will show HRC achieving spectacular things sans Bill.

    What does that say about HRC’s success with Bill?


  9. Left blames Tucker Carlson even though the dude admitted he’s “Left Authoritarian” and into “Green Nationalism” like the mosque shooter in New Zealand.

    And he was known to police.

    I bet money the FBI investigated him as well.


  10. I’m unreasonably excited about the Top Gun sequel.


    • It looks good. Reviews sound good. Return to form. Very low on the woke-scale. Lots of action. Cruise reportedly brings his A game, zero B or C game, and appears in person for all discussion and phones nothing in.


  11. It’s Replacement Theory day for the KosKidz.


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