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No Shock, A Bigger Theatrical Budget

You have to understand, none of this is about money or even bonds. It is all intended for one thing and one thing only: expectations. This has been the fulfillment of Paul Krugman’s long-ago criticism. The way out is to shock the system, he said. It doesn’t even matter, by this theory, what you do. So long as it is outside of every market expectation, that’s the only goal. Japan, who was the target of Dr. Krugman’s reproach, and after having consulted with the former Economist (he’s now just...

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Denying The Curve? Show Your Work

One of the primary reasons Economists go unchallenged is because they’ve made the subject matter dense and complex. Needlessly so, in many cases. Anyone in the financial media or the public who wishes to challenge Jay Powell (well, maybe not Powell) on any economic concept is as likely to get a lecture on regressions and the three or four tests the Fed uses to seek out heteroscedasticity in its models, all of which purposefully avoids answering the question originally asked. The more...

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SPECIAL REPORT: The Definitive Guide to Medicare

There’s a common misconception that Medicare is a simple, automatic process when you turn 65. Nothing could be further from the truth. The responsibility to enroll is on your shoulders, and if you miss deadlines or don’t enroll in just the right way, you can incur penalties that will consume chunks of your retirement income for the rest of your life. Medicare is made up of Part A (Hospital Insurance), and Part B (Medical Insurance). There is generally no cost for Part A, but there is a...

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TIC: The Calm (June) Before the Storm (August)

As far as recent times may be concerned, June 2019 wasn’t that bad of a month. Compared to some this year, it was downright uninteresting. Starting with the UST market, there was a plunge in yields (bad sign for global dollar shortage) in the second half of April and throughout May. June saw more steady trading which continued into July that was almost reflationary – until the Fed’s panicky “one and done” kicked off this month’s mess. The latest TIC figures now updated through the month of...

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The Benefit of Working With a Fiduciary Adviser

What is a Fiduciary? You may have heard the term in recent times due to the ongoing debate about whether stockbrokers should be held to such a standard. Since doing so would make it harder for them to sell you things that pay them high commissions, peddlers of Wall Street’s wares are, as one might expect, opposed to this imposition. And so far, they’ve been successful in heading off any change to the current system that allows them to follow the self-imposed constraint of selling you only...

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US Industrial Downturn: What If Oil and Inventory Join It?

Revised estimates from the Federal Reserve are beginning to suggest another area for concern in the US economy. There hadn’t really been all that much supply side capex activity taking place to begin with. Despite the idea of an economic boom in 2017, businesses across the whole economy just hadn’t been building like there was one nor in anticipation of one. The only place where there was a truly robust trend was the oil patch. Since the last crash a few years ago, Euro$ #3, the oil sector...

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Retail Sales’ Amazon Pick Up

The rules of interpretation that apply to the payroll reports also apply to other data series like retail sales. The monthly changes tend to be noisy. Even during the best of times there might be a month way off trend. On the other end, during the worst of times there will be the stray good month. What matters is the balance continuing in each direction – more of the good vs. more of the bad. Or when what seems to be a good month is less good than it used to be. Retail sales had managed...

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Some Brief European Leftovers

Some further odds and ends of European data. Beginning with Continent-wide Industrial Production. Germany is leading the system lower, but it’s not all just Germany. And though manufacturing and trade are thought of as secondary issues in today’s services economies, the GDP estimates appear to confirm trade in goods as still an important condition and setting for all the rest. The weakness is persisting and intensifying – particularly after May 2019. Before that, IP was first rocked in July...

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Europe’s Further Confirmation(s)

The key takeaway from Europe’s economic data dump today isn’t that the whole Continental economy is poised on the verge of recession, though that’s thrust of what’s being written about most. The reason is simple; this is all highly unexpected in the mainstream. Going by official accounts alone, there was never a hint of trouble before just recently. And many still believe this is all just overreacting. Mario Draghi like Jay Powell made his final hawkish move in December 2018. He actually made...

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Why Go After Hong Kong?

There may yet be bitter irony in the fact that China’s nascent embrace of capitalism in the late eighties allowed it to survive the wave of failed socialist states which fell all throughout the world at the time. While the Berlin Wall came down, the Eastern bloc nearly disappeared, and even the Soviet Union dissolved, the Chinese would stand almost alone as whatever was left of the Communist dream. But while Beijing had come through in the nineties and transformed China into a modern...

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