Morning Report: The NFIB report shows the bifurcated economy

Vital Statistics:

S&P futures3,86918.25
Oil (WTI)99.31-4.74
10 year government bond yield 2.91%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 5.81%

Stocks are up this morning as oil prices fall. Bonds and MBS are up.

Small Business Optimism declined again, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “As inflation continues to dominate business decisions, small business owners’ expectations for better business conditions have reached a new low,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “On top of the immediate challenges facing small business owners including inflation and worker shortages, the outlook for economic policy is not encouraging either as policy talks have shifted to tax increases and more regulations.”

The report is interesting in that it captures the divergence in the economy right now. If you look at things like sales, profits and economic sentiment, the situation is pretty negative. If you look at the employment picture, it is the exact opposite.

That said, the chart for economic optimism is getting pretty dire and approaching Great Recession levels.

The Atlanta Fed GDP Now Index has improved somewhat, but we are looking at negative growth still with the index showing a -1.2% estimate. This would make two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, however the media / government is pushing back against calling this a recession. Ultimately, the official recession call is ultimately subjective and the administration / media will be working the refs pretty hard.

Loan Depot is doing a massive restructuring to get its costs in line. Headcount is going to decline 43% between the end of 2021 and 2022. Their outlook is quite dire. We are executing our Vision 2025 plan on a foundation of a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity, with a current cash position of approximately $1 billion. We anticipate continued challenging market conditions, with mortgage originations projected to decline by roughly half in 2022 from 2021, including an accelerated decline in the second half of 2022, followed by a further decline in 2023. We continued to reduce our costs significantly in the second quarter. Over the next two quarters, we expect to accelerate these efforts and aggressively drive down our costs in line with our previously stated goal of exiting this year with a profitable operating run rate. After two years of substantial headcount and expense growth that was necessary to support unprecedented origination volumes we are returning to previous levels of staffing and expense.”

Loan Depot stock has been a disaster this year, falling 70% year-to-date. The current dividend of $0.08 a share clearly ain’t happening – that 19% yield is not real. Surprised they didn’t just rip the band aid off and cut the dividend to $0.02 a quarter.

Mortgage credit availability fell in June, according to the MBA. “Mortgage credit availability decreased slightly in June, as significantly higher mortgage rates compared to a year ago slowed refinance activity and impacted the overall mortgage credit landscape,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “While there was reduced supply of lower credit score, high LTV rate-term refinance programs, the decline was offset by increased offerings for conventional ARM and high balance loans. With higher rates and elevated home prices, more prospective buyers are applying for ARMs, but activity remains below historical averages.”

I am guessing this doesn’t take into account the NQM market, which will be affected by the exit of Sprout and FGMC. Mortgage credit is getting close to the levels seen in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

7 Responses

  1. The WHO has now declared that “sex is not limited to male and female”.

    Remember that, at the beginning of the whole gender ideology mania, we were consistently told that sex and gender were two different things, and that, unlike sex, gender was not a binary. I said at the time that the very point of creating and focusing on this mythical concept of “gender” was to blur and then ultimate erase from our consciousness the reality of sex distinctions. We now see this concept creep taking place in real time.

    Mark, if you are out there, recall that at the time of the “bathroom wars” several years ago, you dismissed all this gender nonsense as “small shit” unworthy of any serious attention or opposition. Perhaps you can now start to see why some of us took it so seriously, and were so opposed to letting it gain even an inch of political ground.


    • I admit that I was alright with the gender distinction initially but you are right, it’s quickly transitioned to the obliteration of biological sex and a whole host of post-fact assertions.

      And what is basically gaslighting. There’s no biological sex except for that of men when we discuss their oppression of women and gay people and transmen who are real men in every way except they can also be oppressed whereas straight men are only oppressors except black men can also be oppressed unless they are conservative in which case they are white supremacists.

      And so on. Turns out it *is* a complete deconstruction of truth and facts!

      My mistake.


      • So i have been trying to figure out the left’s angle on this shit. I guess it is the standard 1984 playbook to get people to not trust anything they see?


        • I think there are two aspects of it…the hardcore theorists who generate this nonsense, and the majority of the soft left that are essentially what Lenin would have characterized as useful idiots, who go along with it out of emotionalism.

          To thoroughly understand the motives of the hardcore theorists, I think you need to go deep into the weeds of the history of Marxist theory, but my big picture take is that at root it is all about trying to destroy existing hierarchies of power, which within the framework of the ideology are ingrained in and perpetuated by western culture and enlightenment values. Hence the need to (surreptitiously) destroy both of those things.

          I have found James Lindsey to be really informative on this stuff. You can find hours of him diving deep into the theoretical weeds on YouTube, but this is a very brief, high level explanation of his take.


        • The sad thing is that 95% of the people who buy into this shit are useful idiots who just think they are being nice.


        • I think you are 100% correct.


        • Some may have an angle but I think a lot of it is the momentum of the culture, the incentives created by the MSM and within academia and government at first, the intentional and unintentional propaganda of Hollywood (an environment with its own perverse incentives) and now days social media leads to a lot if Woker Than Thou competition.

          That and the ever-present human desire to be superior to and have power over others with minimum effort. To achieve respect without earning it.


Be kind, show respect, and all will be right with the world.

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