by ilene - April 27th, 2011 2:25 am
Courtesy of Lee Adler at Wall Street Examiner
The S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices reported Tuesday are, as usual, so far behind the curve that not only did they miss the “double dip” that has come and gone, it will be at least July or August before it reports an apparent upturn in prices in March and April. S&P’s view of the data was dour. “There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, trends in sales and construction are disappointing, ” said S&P’s David Blitzer. “The 20-City Composite is within a hair’s breadth of a double dip.”
There’s just one problem with that. Other price indicators that are not constructed with the Case Shiller’s large built in lag, passed the 2009-2010 low months ago. The FHFA (the Federal Agency that runs Fannie and Freddie) price index showed a low in March 2010 that was broken in June 2010 and never looked back. That index is now 5.6% below the March 2010 low. Zillow.com’s proprietary value model never even bounced. It shows a year over year decline of 8.2% as of February. Zillow’s listing price index shows a low of $200,000 in November 2009, followed by a flat period lasting 6 months. As of March 31, that index stood at $187,500, down 6.25% from the 2009-2010 low for data.
The Case Shiller Indices for February held slightly above the January level (not seasonally adjusted). I follow their 10 City Index due to its longer history. It was at 153.70 in February versus 152.70 in January. These levels are still above the low of 150.44 set in April 2009.
The Case Shiller index showed a recovery in prices in 2009-10 only because of the weird methodology it uses. Not only does it exclude the impact of distress sales that have been such a big part of the market, but it takes the average of 3 months of data instead of using just the most recent available month. The current data purports to represent prices as of February. In fact, it represents the average price for December, January, and February, with a time mid point of mid February. These are closed sales which generally represented contracts entered in mid to late November, on average. That means that the current Case Shiller index actually represents market conditions as of 5 months ago. Things can change in 5…
by phil - December 30th, 2010 8:28 am
US Corporations are hiring – they are just not hiring you!
The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute's senior international economist. "There's a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy," says Scott.
American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated — think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes. And now many of the products being made overseas aren't coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil. Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent often points out that a billion consumers will enter the middle class during the coming decade, mostly in Africa, China and India. He is aggressively targeting those markets. Of Coke's 93,000 global employees, less than 13 percent were in the U.S. in 2009, down from 19 percent five years ago. (see my interview with Kent here).
We're anticipating the usual 400,000 jobs lost for the week at 8:30 this morning and I sure didn't see too many "Help Wanted" signs at the malls this year, or anywhere else now that I think about it. We also have the Chicago PMI at 9:45, Pending Home Sales at 10:00, Natural Gas Inventories at 10:30 followed by both Oil Inventories at 11 along with the Kansas City Fed's Manufacturing Index. Later today (3pm) we get the very inflationary USDA Agriculture Prices where we can short FCOJ like this as the panic that drove prices up this week seems a bit overdone.
Of course, I've been saying the entire commodity rally is overdone as I don't see how firing 1.4M Americans who made $35,000 and replacing them with 1.4M Chinese workers who make $2,500 means the price of oil should go up. Only the fact that the US Government is going deeper and deeper into debt to help those 1.4M laid off Americans buy their next tank of gas is keeping demand level – without that support, buses would be…
LPS Mortgage Monitor: Foreclosure Inventory Rising for 5th Straight Month, Nearly 2.2 Million Loans are 90 days+ Delinquent Not Yet in Foreclosure
by ilene - December 28th, 2010 11:41 pm
Courtesy of Mish
A press release from LPS’ Mortgage Monitor Report shows Foreclosure Inventory Rising for 5th Straight Month
The November Mortgage Monitor report released by Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) shows that the volume of loans moving to REO continued to drop as moratoria further delayed foreclosure sales. While the 90+ delinquency category has steadily declined, the number of loans moving to seriously delinquent status beyond 90 days far outpaced the number of foreclosure starts. Nearly 2.2 million loans are 90 days or more delinquent but not yet in foreclosure.
Foreclosure inventories also continued to rise for the fifth straight month as delinquent accounts are referred for foreclosure, but the sale of foreclosure properties continued to decline. When compared to January 2008 levels, the foreclosure inventory of Jumbo Prime loans is nearly seven times higher; the inventory of Agency Prime loans is nearly six times higher; and the foreclosure inventory of Option ARM loans is approaching five times the inventory in January 2008.
The report also shows that one-third of loans that are 90 days or more delinquent have not made a payment in a year; however, the number of new problem loans declined nearly 5.4 percent from October, which is opposite of the seasonality trend that typically impacts new delinquencies this time of year. Self-cures for loans one to two months delinquent increased in November to a six-month high.
In the month of November, 261,153 loans were referred to foreclosure, which represents a 0.7% month-over-month decline. The total number of delinquent loans is nearly 2.1 times historical averages – and foreclosure inventory is currently at 7.7 times historical averages.
As reported in LPS’ First Look release, other key results from LPS’ latest Mortgage Monitor report include:
- Total U.S. loan delinquency rate: 9.02 percent
- Total U.S. foreclosure inventory rate: 4.08 percent
- Total U.S. non-current* loan rate: 13.10 percent
- States with most non-current* loans: Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Georgia, New Jersey
- States with fewest non-current* loans: North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana
Charts From The Report
The report is 34 pages long. Inquiring minds may wish to give it a closer look. Here are a few select charts.
click on any chart for sharper image
Delinquent and Foreclosure Rates by Month
Total Delinquency Percent Excluding Foreclosures
Total Foreclosure Percent By Product
Foreclosure Increase Compared to January 2008
by ilene - October 29th, 2010 3:08 pm
Courtesy of Mish
The BEA Advance GDP for Third Quarter 2010 came in at +2.0%. However, Table 2. Contributions to Percent Change in Real Gross Domestic Product shows that Change in private inventories contributed +1.44 while real final sales contributed a mere .6.
How sustainable is that?
The answer is not very. This is likely the last hurrah for inventory replenishment even without factoring in upcoming cutbacks at the state level.
Not a V-Shaped Recovery
In terms of real final sales, this "recovery", is the weakest on record. Dave Rosenberg has some thoughts on that in Lunch with Dave.
U.S. REAL FINAL SALES 60 BASIS POINTS SHY OF DOUBLE-DIPPING
The major problem in the third quarter report was the split between inventories and real final sales. Nonfarm business inventories soared to a $115.5 billion at an annual rate from the already strong $68.8 billion build in the second quarter — this alone contributed 70% to the headline growth rate last quarter. If we do get a slowdown in inventory investment in Q4, as we anticipate, it would really not take much to get GDP into negative terrain. We estimate that if the change in inventories slowed to about $94.0 billion in Q4 (about $22 billion below Q3 levels), GDP would contract fractionally. In other words, it won’t take much for GDP to slip into negative terrain.
The recession may have technically ended, but outside of inventories, and the best days of the re-stocking process look to be behind us, this has been a listless recovery. At 60 basis points above zero, real final sales are just a shock away from double-dipping — a shock like looming tax hikes, accelerating fiscal cutbacks at the state/local government level or the millions of “99ers” about to fall off the extended jobless benefit rolls at the end of November.
In terms of components, the good news was that consumer spending did accelerate to a 2.6% annual rate from 2.2% in the second quarter — the best performance since Q4 2006. Non-residential construction eked out a 3.8% annualized gain, the first advance since Q2 2008. But the good news pretty well stopped there.
It is also no surprise to see imports bulge when inventories did the same, but what caught our eye in the external trade portion of the GDP report was
by ilene - October 18th, 2010 1:15 pm
Courtesy of Mish
In yet another sign of a weakening economy, Production in U.S. Unexpectedly Dropped in September
Output at factories, mines and utilities fell 0.2 percent, the first decline since the recession ended in June 2009, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today. Factory production also decreased 0.2 percent, reflecting declines in consumer durable goods, like appliances and furniture.
The rebuilding of stockpiles, a component of the factory rebound last year, will probably cool following eight consecutive gains in inventories, a sign assembly lines will not accelerate much more. At the same time, improving demand from overseas and a pickup in business investment on new equipment may keep benefiting American manufacturers like Alcoa Inc., helping support the
Economists forecast production would increase 0.2 percent, according to the median of 63 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from a decrease of 0.3 percent to a gain of 0.4 percent. The drop followed an unrevised 0.2 percent gain in August.
Industrial Production Release
Inquiring minds are interested in the Industrial Production Release details.
Final products and consumer goods were both down for the second consecutive month. With the collapse in housing and the stimulus money pretty much spent, I expect further weakening of all the major market group components.
The only positives in the report this month are mining and business equipment, with the latter weakening rapidly.
In percentage terms the bounce in industrial production looks impressive. In actual terms it looks pretty feeble.
Note that industrial production collapsed to 1998 lows at the bottom of the recession, taking back an unprecedented 11 years worth of gains. In spite of the huge bounce from the bottom in percentage terms, Industrial production is barely above the level in 2000.
Note the impressive drop in business inventories. In percentage terms the rebound looks good, but only in percentage terms, not real terms.
Moreover, the important point is that inventory replenishment is nearly over. Looking ahead, production will be more in line with actual final demand, and that demand looks both weak and weakening.
Look for 3rd quarter GDP to surprise to the downside.
Fed is Spooked
I believe this is what has the Fed spooked. Yet, spooked or not, the Demographic Pendulum is in Motion.
by ilene - September 28th, 2010 12:43 pm
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
Apparently I am not the only one who took issue with David Tepper’s comments that the
“Too bad we weren’t invited as a guest on CNBC last Friday to engage in a friendly debate with this portfolio manager because he didn’t outline the third scenario, either because he doesn’t believe it or he just plain didn’t contemplate it or he’s simply not positioned for it. That third scenario is that the economy weakens to such an extent that the Fed does indeed re-engage in QE, but that it does not work. So the “E” goes down and the P/E multiple does not expand. Maybe it even contracts since it already has spent the past number of years reverting to the mean as are so many other market and macro variables (for example, the dividend yield, savings rate, homeownership rate and debt ratios). In this scenario, the stock market does not go up; it goes down.
Is it possible that QE2 won’t work? The answer is yes. How do we know? Well, because the first round of QE didn’t work. After all, if it had worked, the Fed obviously would not be openly contemplating the second round of balance sheet expansion. If the objective was narrow in terms of bringing mortgage spreads in from sky-high levels, well, on that basis, it did help.”
I don’t entirely agree here. QE1 worked because we were in a different environment. The problem Bernanke was targeting in 2009 was one of bank balance sheets. Bank balance sheets were loaded with toxic assets so replacing these assets with cash was most certainly beneficial. It eliminated much of the risk associated with the banking system. As Bernanke said at the time, the point of QE was to alleviate pressures in the credit markets. As we can see from credit spreads he certainly succeeded in this regard. But this is no longer the environment we are in. As I said last week there are no bank balance sheets to fix. There is no…
by ilene - May 24th, 2010 7:20 pm
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
There were only two stories worth paying attention to this afternoon. The first was the increase in inventory in the existing homes sales report. A positive read on actual sales was largely expected for this month as the home buyers tax credit ended in April, but the continuing rise in inventories is further concern that the shadow inventory will continue to come on the market in the coming months. We have detailed the outlook for housing and continue to believe the pressures are mounting in real estate. Today’s surge in inventories is worrisome to say the least. Home sellers are clearly trying to sell into the brief strength we’ve seen in housing. The massive supply on the market is not a good sign for what is likely to be lower and lower demand as the year wears on.
The other story of note is the CajaSur Takeover in Spain. The Spanish central bank initiated the takeover this weekend. The move rippled thru the credit markets as investors begin to see real signs that the sovereign debt crisis is impacting the banking sector. The Ted Spread jumped to 36.96 on the news and banking stocks were down 2.85% on the day.
by ilene - April 30th, 2010 5:14 pm
The US turned in a fairly robust quarter in Q1 2010, with real GDP growth meeting expectations at 3.2% annualized. This comes on the back of a very robust annualized 5.6% growth in the previous quarter. This is the best growth two-quarter growth we have seen since 2003.
However, when one digs deeper, it is obvious this growth is unsustainable because it is predicated on a reduction in savings rates and a releveraging of the household sector. As a result, I expect weak GDP growth in the second half of 2010.
The problem with the BEA reported numbers is the composition of GDP growth. The BEA says in its data release:
Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010, (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 5.6 percent.
The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3). The "second" estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 27, 2010.
The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in state and local government spending and in residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected decelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, a downturn in residential fixed investment, and a larger decrease in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an acceleration in PCE and a deceleration in imports.
So the gain in GDP was due to consumption, while GDP decelerated from Q4 2009 due to inventory, exports, residential investment, and state and local government spending.
by ilene - February 25th, 2010 2:21 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
New orders for manufactured durable goods in January increased $5.2 billion or 3.0 percent to $175.7 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This was the second consecutive monthly increase and followed a 1.9 percent December increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.6 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.6 percent.
Ex-transports it’s down.
Internals are not all that good either. Inventory on computers and electronics are being rapidly depleted – manufacturers (despite the BS claims of the media) are NOT replenishing stock. Take the so-called "pumping" and stuff it.
Not-seasonally-adjusted new orders and shipments are down significantly. Since most Christmas "stuff" is ordered and shipped in advance of December, this isn’t very positive at all.
Most important in the "new orders" column is the decrease in computers and electronic components. Remember, we keep hearing how wonderful it has been in earnings reports. Well, if that’s so, then explain the decrease from 31,577 to 23,146 in new orders month/over/month – that is almost a THIRTY PERCENT decrease!
Someone’s been lying.
It’s across the board too – not just computers, but also the subindex for communications equipment. NOT GOOD.
This is a leading indicator for hiring activity folks. I’ve harped on it before and will keep doing so. New employees = more computers and cell phones. If you’re not seeing it there (and you’re not) then the entire premise of "a recovering employment picture" is absolute crap.
Best-a-luck with that "recovery" thesis folks.
by ilene - January 25th, 2010 10:30 am
Courtesy of Vince Veneziani at Clusterstock
Despite being up over 7% in November of 2009, December home sales in the U.S. took a huge hit, falling 16.7% for the month.
A decline of around 10% was the industry consensus.
Here’s the full announcement from the National Association of Realtors:
After a rising surge from September through November, existing-home sales fell as expected in December after first-time buyers rushed to complete sales before the original November deadline for the tax credit. However, prices rose from December 2008 and annual sales improved in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – fell 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.45 million units in December from 6.54 million in November, but remain 15.0 percent above the 4.74 million-unit level in December 2008.
For all of 2009 there were 5,156,000 existing-home sales, which was 4.9 percent higher than the 4,913,000 transactions recorded in 2008; it was the first annual sales gain since 2005.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there were no surprises in the data. “It’s significant that home sales remain above year-ago levels, but the market is going through a period of swings driven by the tax credit,” he said. “We’ll likely have another surge in the spring as home buyers take advantage of the extended and expanded tax credit. By early summer the overall market should benefit from more balanced inventory, and sales are on track to rise again in 2010. However, the job market remains a concern and could dampen the housing recovery – job creation is key to a continued recovery in the second half of the year.”
An NAR practitioner survey2 shows first-time buyers purchased 43 percent of homes in December, down from 51 percent in November. Repeat buyers rose to 42 percent of transactions in December from 37 percent in November; the remaining sales were to investors.
The national median existing-home price3 for all housing types was $178,300 in December, which is 1.5 percent higher than December 2008. “The median price rose because of an increased number of mid- to upper-priced homes in the sales mix,” Yun said. It was the first year-over-year gain in