“Super” Committee – Lack of Progress Heightens Risks to Economy and Financial Markets

red tape

The US “Super Committee” failed to make any progress on the sole task it was created for: deficit reduction. It now appears probable that there will be an announcement today stating the committee has “failed to reach its mandated goal of reducing deficits over the next 10-years by $1.2 trillion dollars”. An announcement of this […]

US Housing Permit Activity Improves – Strongest in 3-Years


Housing is slowly and steadily showing signs of a bottom. Housing permits are required in most states before a housing start and are a leading indicator of overall housing demand. Housing permits improved to 653k which represents a 10.8% increase from September and a 17.6% improvement vs. last year. Both single-family and multifamily permits improved. […]

Que Lastima – Spain in a Vice as Interest Rates and Unemployment Soar

chased by bull

I’ve been writing about the impossibility of the ECB running appropriate monetary policy for 17 different nations. The dilemma couldn’t be more evident when contrasting the economy of Spain with the economy of Germany. Spain actually has less sovereign debt relative to GDP than does Germany. The problem for Spain isn’t the level of debt […]

Europe’s Crisis Spreads as Spain, Belgium, France, the Euro and EU-17 get Questioned – How Does It End?


For a number of months, the financial crisis in Europe has been explained under the guise of sound versus unsound policy. If this were indeed the case, the fix would be simple; eliminate unsound and unsustainable policy and voila, the problems would just go away. European leaders have shifted blame continuously from one problem to […]

China’s Trade Balance is Adjusting – the Largest Imbalance in the World is no Longer Growing

china trade

Markets in China rallied to start the week. Part of the rally resulted from “catch up” to US markets which closed strongly. But part of the rally was based on positive economic comments coming from Chinese officials. China’s President Hu Jintao pledged to focus on building imports which would boost global economic growth. IMF Deputy […]

CJF Read of the Week – Rogue Economist: “Similarity of China’s USD Peg with the EMU”

The Rogue Economist, located in Canada, wrote a provocative piece discussing the similarities between the USD/Yuan peg and the EMU construct. I agree with Rogue that currency pegs and distortions lead to predictable real world economic outcomes that become evident in the balance of trade. Many financial market participants confuse cause and effect when identifying […]

Walt Disney (DIS) Results Strong – Outside of Europe the Global Economy is Solid

mickey mouse

Long live Mickey Mouse! Walt Disney reported strong results last night which reflected broad strength across the economy. Disney has diversified exposure to discretionary spending with its parks, media properties, and international businesses. A consistent theme through earnings season has been broadly solid corporate earnings and DIS is another example of this from a large […]

Europe Must Decide Its Future – Self Induced Financial Crisis Has Led Europe to the Brink


After Wednesday’s market action around the world, it’s a good time for a big picture assessment on the state of the financial markets. The attitude out of Europe has pendulated between nonchalance and vitriolic attacks among the EU-17. Italian sovereign rates spiraling above 7% have brought the eleventh hour upon the region. Escalation of the […]

Chinese Inflation Turning Down – More Confirmation on Inflection Point

china prices

Overnight, China released inflation data for October, which came down as expected and declined meaningfully from the previous month. Chinese consumer inflation, which includes food and energy prices, rose 6.1% in September, and 5.5% in October. This data shouldn’t be a complete surprise because China is on a tightening campaign with higher interest rates, lower […]

New York City Taxi Medallion Bubble – Prices Appreciate to $1M


Bloomberg recently reported that New York taxi medallions changed hands this October for a record $1 million. There have been a number of reports over the years demonstrating that investment in taxi medallions outperformed stocks, bonds, real estate, and other financial assets. While this may be true, the yield has clearly come way down making […]

Market Confidence in Italy Hits New Lows – Berlusconi to Face New Rounds of Confidence Votes


Italian 10-YR bond yields hit 6.62% this morning, which marks a new high since concerns over the sustainability of European sovereign debt began to unfold. This wasn’t supposed to work this way after the Eurozone leaders announced a new structured investment vehicle to be put in place to leverage up the EFSF. It remains unclear […]