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Monday, July 21, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- July 20, 2014

Gerald Celente interview on King World news - July 20, 2014 - Founder & Director of the Trends Research Institute, is author of the highly acclaimed and best selling books, Trend Tracking and Trends 2000 (Warner Books) and publisher of the Trends Journal®. Interview Link
Gerald Celente discusses the lack of pride in the United States. Money can't buy health. It takes self-responsibility. Americans have an "I don't care" attitude. Look at how people dress and their presentation. The bar has been lowered. Look what society has degraded into. Mr. Celente says this isn't because he is an old guy. America is leading the World on a downward trajectory with "I don't care." It brings down the whole bottom line, because people don't care what is going on around them...                     Art has become another Wall Street Scam. Art (today)is a whole lot of Bad Attitude... Fast Food is not Food. 1/3 of childhood population is obese. What goes in is what comes out...                                 No news just propaganda. Everything is orchestrated. Everything is phony. People swallow the propaganda like they swallow slurpees...               Plenty of wildcards. Everyone knows the markets are rigged. Surprises will be geopolitical unrest/instability. Gives examples around the world. Geopolitical unrest, social unrest, and ecopnomic panic. Governments will do anything they can to keep the Ponzi scheme going. Governments are trying to get people's minds off the financial issues. When all else fails they take you to war.

Look out: 'Burrito inflation' is here - CNN Money - Ben Rooney - July 20, 2014 - ...Many companies in the food industry have been hiking menu prices recently as wholesale prices for everything from beef and pork to coffee and cocoa have risen sharply this year.                     Coincidentally, the government will release a report on June consumer price inflation on Tuesday. The CPI index for May showed an increase that was double what economists had expected, raising concerns that inflation is heating up.                          

New Internet speed record blows past Google Fiber - CNN Money - David Goldman - July 10, 2014 - Bell Labs researchers just broke the broadband Internet speed record.                        It is eight times faster than the previous record -- and it was done over copper landlines.                          With speeds of 10 gigabits per second, Bell Labs' technology proved to be 1,000 times faster than traditional broadband speeds. It is even 10 times faster than Google (GOOGL, Tech30) Fiber, which offers the fastest broadband available to consumers.                           Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Bell Labs' parent company, dubbed the new technology "XG-FAST." The company called it a "major breakthrough," giving broadband companies the ability to provide fiber-optic-like speeds over the existing copper landline infrastructure that blankets most of America.                            Verizon (VZ, Tech30) FiOS, Google Fiber and others have sought to bring ultra-fast fiber connections directly to people's homes. But the process is extremely expensive, and often involves digging up homeowners' yards. Providing fiber to the majority of American households could cost hundreds of billions -- or even trillions -- of dollars, depending on various estimates.

Subprime woes are back: This time in used cars - CNBC/New York Times -Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery - July 20, 2014 - ...This is the face of the new subprime boom. Mr. Durham is one of millions of Americans with shoddy credit who are easily obtaining auto loans from used-car dealers, including some who fabricate or ignore borrowers' abilities to repay. The loans often come with terms that take advantage of the most desperate, least financially sophisticated customers. The surge in lending and the lack of caution resemble the frenzied subprime mortgage market before its implosion set off the 2008 financial crisis.                   Auto loans to people with tarnished credit have risen more than 130 percent in the five years since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, with roughly one in four new auto loans last year going to borrowers considered subprime -- people with credit scores at or below 640.                       The explosive growth is being driven by some of the same dynamics that were at work in subprime mortgages. A wave of money is pouring into subprime autos, as the high rates and steady profits of the loans attract investors. Just as Wall Street stoked the boom in mortgages, some of the nation's biggest banks and private equity firms are feeding the growth in subprime auto loans by investing in lenders and making money available for loans.                       And, like subprime mortgages before the financial crisis, many subprime auto loans are bundled into complex bonds and sold as securities by banks to insurance companies, mutual funds and public pension funds -- a process that creates ever-greater demand for loans.                     The New York Times examined more than 100 bankruptcy court cases, dozens of civil lawsuits against lenders and hundreds of loan documents and found that subprime auto loans can come with interest rates that can exceed 23 percent. The loans were typically at least twice the size of the value of the used cars purchased, including dozens of battered vehicles with mechanical defects hidden from borrowers. Such loans can thrust already vulnerable borrowers further into debt, even propelling some into bankruptcy, according to the court records, as well as interviews with borrowers and lawyers in 19 states.                       In another echo of the mortgage boom, The Times investigation also found dozens of loans that included incorrect information about borrowers' income and employment, leading people who had lost their jobs, were in bankruptcy or were living on Social Security to qualify for loans that they could never afford.                      Many subprime auto lenders are loosening credit standards and focusing on the riskiest borrowers, according to the examination of documents and interviews with current and former executives from five large subprime auto lenders. The lending practices in the subprime auto market, recounted in interviews with the executives and in court records, demonstrate that Wall Street is again taking on very risky investments just six years after the financial crisis.                     The size of the subprime auto loan market is a tiny fraction of what the subprime mortgage market was at its peak, and its implosion would not have the same far-reaching consequences. Yet some banking analysts and even credit ratings agencies that have blessed subprime auto securities have sounded warnings about potential risks to investors and to the financial system if borrowers fall behind on their bills.                    Pointing to higher auto loan balances and longer repayment periods, the ratings agency Standard & Poor's recently issued a report cautioning investors to expect ''higher losses.'' And a high-ranking official at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates some of the nation's largest banks, has also privately expressed concerns that the banks are amassing too many risky auto loans, according to two people briefed on the matter. In a June report, the agency noted that ''these early signs of easing terms and increasing risk are noteworthy.''                   Despite such warnings, the volume of total subprime auto loans increased roughly 15 percent, to $145.6 billion, in the first three months of this year from a year earlier, according to Experian, a credit rating firm...

Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs over next year - USA Today - Brett Molina - July 17, 2014 -
Microsoft confirmed it will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, part of the tech titan's efforts to streamline its business under new CEO Satya Nadella.                        In a statement released Thursday, Microsoft says about 12,500 of the professional and factory positions will be cut as part of its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's handset business.                                       Nadella, who replaced Steve Ballmer in February, says the "vast majority" of employees affected by layoffs will be notified within the next six months. They will also earn severance and job transition help in many locations. All cuts will be completed by next June.                        The layoffs by Microsoft -- which employs 125,000 people -- are the company's largest ever. The acquisition of Nokia's handset business in April added 25,000 people to Microsoft's payroll.                                            Microsoft is the latest tech giant suffering through a round of layoffs. In May, personal computer company Hewlett-Packard announced it would cut an additional 11,000 to 16,000 jobs as part of a massive restructuring. Earlier this year, IBM said it would take a $1 billion charge for "workforce re-balancing."                   Chip maker Intel and network-equipment maker Cisco Systems both said in the past year they were cutting about 5% of their workforces.​

Millennials buying homes later in life - USA Today - Josh Boak, AP Staff - July 19, 2014 -
The analysis suggests that the recession — for all its damage to the economy — did little to turn off Millennials from the idea of owning a home compared to previous generations. In fact, the report shows that the major group whose ownership rates suffered because of the downturn is middle-aged Americans.                          The easy credit offered during the housing bubble caused more young people to buy than they otherwise would and masked the impact of the demographic changes, according to Trulia. The bursting of that bubble and the resulting recession that began in 2007 then caused ownership to fall where it should be, given the demographic shifts. Because a greater percentage of younger Americans are attending college and graduate school, they are settling down a few years later — which causes them to delay buying a home.                            Census figures show that the share of 18-34 year-olds who are married is 30%, down from 47% in 1983. Just 29% of them live with children, compared to 39% three decades ago. Since more people in the age range are single and childless, Trulia looked at the number of homeowners who are also identified as the head of their households. After adjusting for these population shifts, the share of people under 35 years old who own homes is the same as it was for 1997.                 Standard Census data, which aren't adjusted for these factors, show that the ownership rate among those younger than 35 has declined to 36.2% from 38.6% in 1997. Slightly less than 65 percent of the country owns a home, down from a peak of 69% in the middle of 2006.                       While the weak economic rebound has affected home buying, Trulia's analysis puts more of an emphasis on demographics than much of the real estate industry has to explain poor sales.

Three Charts Of The Week: Money Printing Is Not Bringing Prosperity To Main Street - Tyler Durden - July 20, 2014 - Submitted by David Stockman of Contra Corner blog, - Furious money printing by the world’s major central banks is not generating real growth and prosperity—–but professional economists never seem to get the word. As shown below, the 2014 outlook for global real growth has been marked down sharply since early 2013. Back then, of course, Abenomics and massive QE by the BOJ was supposed to cause the Japanese economy to soar; Draghi’s “anything it takes” bromide was going to jolt Europe out of its slump; and the elixir of QE3 was certain to finally cause the US economy to attain “escape velocity”.                          Its not working out that way. In Japan, import inflation is soaring, real wages are still falling and the economy is entering a new slump in Q2 owing to a tax increase that was unavoidably necessary to pay for its runaway fiscal largesse. In Europe, the Bank Of Italy, Draghi’s home base, has now marked its forecast of 2014 real GDP growth to essentially zero. And in the US after the disastrous first quarter, along with what is shaping up to be a tepid second quarter, real growth will not achieve any kind of velocity, “escape” or otherwise; in fact, consensus real GDP has already been marked down to 1.7%—the lowest rate of expansion since the financial crisis. Accordingly, it is only a matter of time before the global forecast for 2014 shown below below is marked down even further.

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