Posts Tagged ‘businesses’

Large Companies Hiring, Small Companies Not; Federal Hiring Strong, States Cutting Back; Proposed Solutions; Bright Side of Fed Policies

Unfortunately, after reading Mish’s article "Large Companies Hiring, Small Companies Not; Federal Hiring Strong, States Cutting Back; Proposed Solutions; Bright Side of Fed Policies," most of us are not going to be happy about what Mish calls the bright side. – Ilene

Courtesy of Mish

A recent Gallup survey suggests Larger U.S. Companies Are Hiring; Smallest Are Not

Gallup finds that larger companies are hiring more workers while the smallest businesses are shedding jobs. More than 4 in 10 employees (42%) at workplaces with at least 1,000 employees reported during the week ending Nov. 14 that their company was hiring, while 22% said their employer was letting people go. At the other extreme, 9% of workers in businesses with fewer than 10 employees said their employer was hiring, and 16% said their employer was letting people go.

This Gallup question about company size is new, so it is unclear whether this pattern is a continuation of, or a change from, the past.

Hiring Also Much Higher at the Federal Government

The federal government is hiring more employees than it is letting go, while the opposite is true for state and local governments. More than 4 in 10 federal employees (42%) say their organizations are adding people and 21% say they are letting workers go. In contrast, state and local government employees report a net loss of workers.

Pitfalls, Flaws, Observations 

There are huge flaws in the survey as well as a potential for additional flaws in analyzing the survey results. Nonetheless there are some important observations that can be made.

For starters, it is nice to see large corporations hiring, but there is no indication of by how much. Is the total headcount hiring 1 or hiring 2,000? Is the number up or down from last month?

Compounding that lack of information, we have seasonal flaws. Many retailers are now ramping up hiring for the Christmas season. So… is the hiring temporary or permanent?

The survey does not say. Moreover it does not say why they are hiring. Is business expanding or is this a short-term need?

That aside, the survey is not useless by any means. If this expansion was getting stronger, the number of companies hiring would be going up. It is not. Worse yet, small businesses which are the lifeblood of job creation, have not participated in the hiring…
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QE Engine Revs, Car Goes Nowhere

QE Engine Revs, Car Goes Nowhere

Courtesy of Mish

The economy is stuck in neutral so stepping on the QE gas pedal is highly unlikely to accomplish much except increase the noise level. Yet, the philosophy at the Fed seems to be, if gas doesn’t work, give the engine more gas.

So the engine continues to rev louder and louder, and treasury yields drop, but that does not and will not put Americans back to work.

5-Year Treasury Yields at All-Time Low

Curve Watcher’s Anonymous notes Treasury Five-Year Yields Near Lowest Since 2008 Before Auction

Treasuries rose, pushing five-year note yields to the lowest level in almost two years before today’s auction, as a drop in consumer confidence spurred bets that the Federal Reserve will increase debt purchases.

Bonds also advanced as an official said the Bank of England should step up quantitative easing and Standard & Poor’s said the price of bailing out nationalized lender Anglo Irish Bank Corp. could exceed $47 billion

“The engine is revving, but the car is going nowhere,” said Thomas L. di Galoma, head of U.S. rates trading in New York at Guggenheim Capital Markets LLC, a brokerage for institutional investors. “It’s the combination of QE and a possible QE2 in England. You’ve got some sovereign-debt problems, which is also sending a safe-haven bid into Treasuries.”

Yield Curve Weekly Close

Providing unneeded liquidity may or may not help asset prices (please see Sure Thing?! for a discussion) but if quantitative easing helped the real economy, at some point yields would stop falling.

Clearly the Fed has no clue as to what to do, but it wants to "do something". The only thing the Fed can think of doing (or is willing to do) is have another round of quantitative easing, so the Fed eases whether it makes any sense or not.

The amazing thing here is talk of "Sure Things" regarding equities, with treasuries universally despised.

Of course it is no "Sure Thing" for treasury yields to drop either, but arguably it is more likely given the economic engine is stuck in neutral.

The simple fact of the matter is increased borrowing power or lower interest will not cause businesses to expand. I have discussed this point at length in


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Recovery Apartheid

Recovery Apartheid

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker

Waitress with plates of food

Burger chains are killing it, neighborhood diners are hurting.  Oil & gas companies are raking it in, gas station operators are closing.  Mass merchandisers have a new pep in their step, mom and pop retailers can’t afford the lease anymore.

Get the picture?

This isn’t a class warfare post, this is a reality check about the Recovery Apartheid*.  Large businesses that are asset-rich are benefiting from our Sorcerer’s Apprentice-like reflation policies (buckets and buckets sloshing over with corporate welfare).  Anyone dependent on actual end-customer demand?  Different story.  Go ask a sole proprietor doing business on the main drag of your town.

Imagine if, instead of Earnings Season for the S&P 500, we had a 4 week stretch in which we heard from a different sector of Small Business each night on a series of conference calls.  Imagine, if you will, that Monday night we heard from local restaurant and catering companies throughout the nation, then on Tuesday night we heard from auto dealerships, Wednesday night was machine repair shops, Thursday was real estate agencies, etc.

With my hypothetical Small Business Earnings Season in mind, I ask you the following…would the stock market have just posted an almost 4% gain since July 13th had that have been the case?  Would anything said by a majority of America’s business owners on conference calls each night even come close to matching…
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Hypocrite Geithner Says Private Sector Must Drive Economy

Hypocrite Geithner Says Private Sector Must Drive Economy

GeithnerCourtesy of Mish

Like most politicians, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner likes to talk out of both sides of his mouth, generally saying contradictory things in sound bites that may sound reasonable at first glance, but look idiotic upon closer inspection.

For example please consider Private sector must drive economy: Geithner

During an interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Geithner also said the government has big plans for reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the housing finance giants that now stand behind most of the mortgages in the U.S. after being bailed out by taxpayers during the 2008 financial crisis.

Geithner said Sunday that he doesn’t expect a double-dip recession, citing encouraging signs in the economy. "The most likely thing is you see an economy that gradually strengthens over the next year or two," he said. Watch Geithner on Meet the Press.

Businesses are still "very cautious" and are trying to get as much productivity from current employees as possible, Geithner explained.

"They are in a very strong financial condition though. I think that’s very promising because there’s a lot of pent-up demand and there’s a lot of capacity still for them to step up and start to invest and hire again," he added. "The government can help but we need to make this transition now to a recovery led by private investment."

There’s a "good case" for the government to support small businesses, the unemployed and help states keep teachers in classrooms, but the transition to growth led by the private sector must happen, Geithner said.

Still, he stressed that the current system of housing finance has to change.

"We’re not going to preserve Fannie and Freddie in anything like their current form. We’re going to have to bring fundamental change to that market," Geithner said.

There’s still a good case for the government preserving some type of guarantee to make sure that people can finance a house even in a very damaging recession, he explained.

"We’re also going to have to take a look at the broad set of policies we put in place to help encourage home ownership and particularly help low income Americans get access to affordable housing," Geithner said. "We’re going to take a very broad look at how best to do that."

No Pent Up Demand

For starters Geithner is wrong about pent…
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Census Bureau Reports Fictional Nonsense About Retail Sales

Census Bureau Reports Fictional Nonsense About Retail Sales

Courtesy of Mish

NEW YORK - MARCH 01: A woman looks in a window advertising a sale in the SoHo shopping district of Manhattan March 1, 2010 in New York City. Consumer spending numbers tracked slightly higher in January, leading some economists to conclude that the economy is shakily regaining footing. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Today the Census Bureau posted its Advance Monthly Retail Sales and Food Services Report for June 2010.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $360.2 billion, a decrease of 0.5 percent from the previous month, but 4.8 percent above June 2009.

Total sales for the April through June 2010 period were up 6.8 percent from the same period a year ago. The April to May 2010 percent change was revised from -1.2 percent to -1.1 percent.

Retail trade sales were down 0.6 percent from May 2010, but 5.0 percent above last year. Nonstore retailers sales were up 12.1 percent from June 2009 and gasoline stations sales were up 8.8 percent from last year.

Hogwash

The only believable number in the report is gasoline sales. Otherwise the problem is in Census Bureau methodology.

The advance estimates are based on a subsample of the Census Bureau’s full retail and food services sample. A stratified random sampling method is used to select approximately 5,000 retail and food services firms whose sales are then weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of over three million retail and food services firms. Responding firms account for approximately 65% of the MARTS dollar volume estimate.

The methodology misses stores that went out of business and have no retail sales. Circuit City is a prime example but also note that thousands of small strip mall stores are now shuttered as well. Some of that volume went to the surveyed stores making it appear sales went up.

The only accurate way of computing retail sales is to look at state sales tax data. Even then, tax data can be misleading because one needs to factor in changes in tax policy, notably states increasing sales tax rates.

For example, a rise in the sales tax rate from 7% to 8% would result in a 14% increase in sales tax collections (all other things being equal).

The Rockefeller Institute reports "The growth in state tax revenues is not an indication of broad state fiscal recovery, but is mostly driven by legislated changes [massive tax increases] in two states — California and New York."

Please see Rockefeller
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Where Have We been? Where Are We Going?

Where Have We been? Where Are We Going?

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

       On a hot Saturday in mid-July in my corner of the country, when everyone else is cavorting on Million Dollar Beach at Lake George, or plying the aisles of the home Depot, or riding their motorcycles in faux-outlaw hordes, I like to slip away to the neglected places where nobody goes.  I seek out the places of industrial ruin – there are many around here in the upper Hudson Valley, and they are mostly right along the river itself, because there are many spots where the water tumbles and falls in a way that human beings could capture that power and direct it to useful work.

       I always bring my French easel, a wooden contraption ingeniously designed to fold up into a box, to which I have bolted on backpack straps. To me, these ruins of America’s industrial past are as compelling as the ruins of ancient Rome were to Thomas Cole and his painter-contemporaries, who took refuge in history at the exact moment that their own new nation began racing into its industrial future.

      I’ve been haunting this particular site in Hudson Falls, New York, all summer so far. Originally called Bakers Falls, it evolved over a hundred-odd years into an extremely complex set of dams, spillways, intakes, revetments, channels, gangways, and hydroelectric bric-a-brac all worked into the crumbly shale that forms the original cliff. From a vantage on the west side of the river, you can clearly read the layered history of industry as though it was a section of sedimentary rock from the Mesozoic.

blog_Hudson Falls.jpg

     One thing above all amazes me about these American industrial ruins: they’re not really very old. My grandfather was already reading law and drinking beer when some of this stuff was brand-new (or not even here yet!). Unlike Rome’s long, dawdling descent from greatness, America’s industrial fall seems to have happened in the space of a handclap. I suppose it was in the nature of the fossil fuel fiesta that these activities could only last as long as the basic energy resource was so cheap you hardly needed to figure it into the cost of doing business. Which is not to say that the human element didn’t change, too, since obviously it did – as America went…
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The Fallacy Of “Record Corporate Cash”

The Fallacy Of "Record Corporate Cash"

Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms. There are approximately 16 million lightning storms in the world every year.

Courtesy of Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker 

How many times have you heard that: "Corporations are flush with cash; they have record amounts of free cash on their balance sheets"?

Dozens, right?

It’s touted as a positive thing.

Baloney.

Corporations hoard cash when they are convinced that things are going to get bad.  No corporation hoards cash if it has somewhere better to deploy it - that is, somewhere it is convinced it can invest and produce a return for the business.

So what does a "record level of cash" tell us about business prospects?  Simple: Business sucks today and forward prospects are deteriorating, not improving.

Simply put, businesses not only fear the need for all that cash, they have no compelling places to invest in the growth of the company’s revenues and profits.  They can’t make the argument for expanding their plant, hiring, an M&A deal or even a stock buyback.  They expect a hard rain or worse, an outbreak of tornadoes, not smooth sailing and fair skies.

Don’t be suckered by the mainstream media. 


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Atlanta Fed asks: How “Discouraged” are Small Businesses?

Atlanta Fed asks: How "Discouraged" are Small Businesses?

Courtesy of Mish  

Girl at lemonade stand

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Asks How "Discouraged" are Small Businesses? Here are some Insights from an Atlanta Fed small business lending survey.

Roughly half of U.S. workers are employed at firms with fewer than 500 employees, and about 90 percent of U.S. firms have fewer than 20 employees. While estimates vary, small businesses are also credited with creating the lion’s share of net new jobs. Small businesses are, in total, a big deal.

Many people have noted the decline in small business lending during the recession, and some have suggested proposals to give incentives to banks to increase their small business portfolios. But is a lack of willingness to lend to small businesses really what’s behind the decline in small business lending? Or is it the lack of creditworthy demand resulting from the effects of the recession and housing market distress?

We at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta have also noted the paucity of data in this area and have begun a series of small business credit surveys. Leveraging the contacts in our Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), we polled 311 small businesses in the states of the Sixth District (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) on their credit experiences and future plans. While the survey is not a stratified random sample and so should not be viewed as a statistical representation of small business firms in the Sixth District, we believe the results are informative.

Indeed, the results of our April 2010 survey suggest that demand-side factors may be the driving force behind lower levels of small business credit. To be sure, when asked about the recent obstacles to accessing credit, some firms (34 firms, or 11 percent of our sample) cited banks’ unwillingness to lend, but many more firms cited factors that may reflect low credit quality on the part of prospective borrowers. For example, 32 percent of firms cited a decline in sales over the past two years as an obstacle, 19 percent cited a high level of outstanding business or personal debt, 10 percent cited a less than stellar credit score, and 112 firms (32 percent) report no recent obstacles to credit.

Perhaps not surprisingly, outside of the troubled construction and real estate industries, close to half the firms polled (46 percent) do not believe there


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Zero Hedge

Trump Meets Pope - Nothing Crazy Happens

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

President Trump and The Pope came face to face after the mainstream media had promoted this clash of the titans as likely to end in fireworks as the two world 'leaders' sparred over border walls, socialism, immigration, global terror, and whatever else the media thinks will divide the world most effectively.

Sadly for the media, nothing crazy happened...

Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world. pic.twitter.com/JzJDy7pllI

— Donald J. Trump (...



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ValueWalk

Manchester Bombing Could Expand Use of GPS Ankle Trackers

By JOHN F. BANZHAF. Originally published at ValueWalk.

In the wake of the Manchester bombing, Britain and other European countries may want to follow Germany’s lead to begin using GPS ankle tracking device as the only cost-effective means to keep track of the thousands of persons on watch lists or otherwise suspected of potential terrorist activities, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

The Evening Standard reported that Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber “was known to security services” but was not under surveillance or otherwise being investigated because “they did not believe he posed an immediate threat,” and keeping track of the thousands of persons under suspicion at any time to prevent another Manchester bombing style attack is prohibitively expensive.

...



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Phil's Favorites

Predictions - A Fool's Errand

 

Predictions – A Fool’s Errand

Courtesy of Wade Slome, Investing Caffeine

Making bold predictions is a fool’s errand. I think Yogi Berra summed it up best when he spoke about the challenges of making predictions:

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

While making predictions might seem like a pleasurable endeavor, the reality is nobody has been able to consistently predict the future (remember the 2012 Mayan Doomsday?), besides perhaps palm readers and ...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Trump budget to increase growth by boosting investment, labor force: Mnuchin (Reuters)

The Trump administration believes its budget plan will boost economic growth by fostering capital investment and creating jobs for workers who gave up their job hunts during tough times, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday.

With Earnings Season Over, the Insecurity Can Begin for S&P 500 Bulls (Bloomberg)

The issue is earnings season, which for the past four years has occasioned an astonishing amount of the upside in the American...



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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



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Chart School

Gains Push Into Breakdown Gap

Courtesy of Declan.

While today's gains were modest they were significant in generating clean pushes inside last week's breakdown gaps. This brings indices back to challenge 'bull traps'

The S&P experienced lighter volume trading as On-Balance-Volume moved to a 'buy' trigger. Today's action opens up for a challenge of 2,405, although shorts may see this as opportunity to go aggressive with a tight stop once markets makes all-time highs.


The Nasdaq is also approaching its 'bull trap'. On-Balance-Volume holds to its ac...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Soars Above $2000 For First Time Ever

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Bitcoin is now up over 100% in 2017, amid global political uncertainty and increased interest in Asia, suddenly spiking above $2000 this afternoon for the first time ever...

That is a year-over-year gain of more than 350%. The move comes, as CoinDesk notes, amid a broader boost in the cryptocurrency market, which broke the $60bn barrier today. The increase has taken place amid strong surges from Ripple's XRP, which seeks to lower costs in enterprise cross-border payments, and ethereum's ether token, a cryptographic asse...



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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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