The Wall Street Examiner » Wall Street Examiner Exclusives http://wallstreetexaminer.com Get the facts. Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:32:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Truthiness Meter Chart O’ Da Month- Wage and Hour Division http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/07/truthiness-meter-chart-o-da-month-wage-and-hour-division/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/07/truthiness-meter-chart-o-da-month-wage-and-hour-division/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:14:37 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=253810 Average Weekly Earnings Growth Downtrend- Click to enlarge

Average Weekly Earnings Growth Downtrend- Click to enlarge

What else is there to do with the insane people spewing Wall Street conventional wisdom on CNBC and the pages of the Wall Street Journal but to ridicule them as the fools and shills they are?

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Mind Boggling Chart O’ Da Month- Honorable Mention – Construction Spending http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/07/mind-boggling-chart-o-da-month-honorable-mention-construction-spending/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/07/mind-boggling-chart-o-da-month-honorable-mention-construction-spending/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:40:09 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=253716 rcs

Will somebody please tell the Fed that US construction spending has grown faster when rates are high or rising, than when they are falling, low, or zero.

Thanks.

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Here’s Your Fallout Shelter For WSJ Housing PR Bomb http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/heres-your-fallout-shelter-for-wsj-housing-pr-bomb/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/heres-your-fallout-shelter-for-wsj-housing-pr-bomb/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:51:20 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=253569 Given the way that the Wall Street Journal and its biggest client, the National Association of Realtors keep you in the dark and feed you manure, they must think you are a mushroom. They did it last week with the “existing home sales” and have done it again this week with the “pending home sales” release. Pending home sales were down, not up in May, as the report said.

Here’s why the WSJ may not be interested in allowing you to see the light of day. Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is the PR affiliate of his Move, Inc. which operates websites and mobile products for the NAR. The NAR is the monolithic, monopolistic US housing marketing cartel that controls the market, spending billions to disseminate its propaganda to the public, and to manipulate Congress. The incestuous relationship between the NAR and Rupert Murdoch’s organs prevents any possibility of fair and balanced reporting of the news when it comes to housing (or virtually anything else around which Murdoch has his power mongering propaganda tentacles).

“Pending home sales” are contracts, reported at the time the contract was signed by both buyer and seller. “Existing home sales” are the closings (aka “settlements” in some states), when the deeds are transferred. The contract is when the actual, real-time meeting of the minds takes place. This is far more timely market data than the data on closings.

The closing is the official transfer of the deed, which usually occurs 30-60 days after the date of the contract. This data is then delayed in recording and reporting by another 30 days or so. By the time the media reports “existing home sales” the data is stale. Case Shiller compounds the problem by using a 3 month average, causing another 6 weeks of lag.

The Wall Street Journal’s headline was true.

U.S. Pending Home Sales at Highest Level in Nine Years

But this isn’t news. Sales have been at their highest levels in 9 years since February, if we exclude 2010 when tax credits goosed the market artificially. Note that February is when mortgage rates hit their lowest levels since 2012. Since then they have ratcheted higher.

The Journal reported that contracts rose 0.9% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis. No big deal, except for the fact that it’s false. The Journal neglected to report that sales were really down in May, not up, and that apparently a materially increasing percentage of sales are falling through. That fact tells us something more important about the condition of the market than that contracts are at a high level. The Journal has no vested interest in reporting this. It has a vested interest in making the market look good.

Contracts actually fell by 2.3% in May. That’s actual, not seasonally adjusted. This is the real number. The seasonally adjusted number is a statistically manipulated number. Real versus unreal; I report, you decide.

I looked at April and May data since 2001, and there’s not a shred of evidence of a seasonal difference in sales between April and May. Not one scintilla. Sometimes May sales are up a little from April’s and sometimes they are down a little. It’s about a 50/50 split. Yet the NAR and its media handmaidens persist in this charade of presenting seasonally adjusted data as if it is somehow real and meaningful. They assiduously avoid doing any analysis of the actual data. They probably cover their eyes and scream “I can’t hear you” if this data inadvertently crosses their line of sight.

We put the actual data on contracts on a chart and see for ourselves how these real time indicators of the market are behaving. We don’t need any statistical manipulation or propaganda to tell us what the market is doing. We can see for ourselves.

Some contracts fall through and do not close. The number of sales that fall through is also a critical market indicator that no one pays any attention to. I have developed an indicator called the Home Sales Fallout Ratio to give us an idea of the trend of contracts (aka “pending home sales”) falling through and failing to close, and it is telling us that, while sales are at a 9 year high, trouble is brewing in the current version of the bubbly housing market.

Home Sales And Fallout Ratio- Click to enlarge

Home Sales And Fallout Ratio- Click to enlarge

Click here to view chart if reading in email.

So sales were down 2.3% in May in a possible response to a rise in mortgage rates. And the Fallout Ratio has also broken out as mortgage rates have risen off their lows of February. This could be a harbinger of mass destruction should mortgage rates begin a persistent rise from here. It may be time to get in the fallout shelter and out of the US housing market. Look out for the housing mushroom cloud. Don’t be a victim of the media manure and home sales fallout.

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Four Must-See Charts Reveal The Truth About US Stocks and Housing http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/four-must-see-charts-reveal-the-truth-about-us-stocks-and-housing/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/four-must-see-charts-reveal-the-truth-about-us-stocks-and-housing/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 19:30:56 +0000 http://radiofreewallstreet.fm/?p=28515 Read more →

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This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Radio Free Wall Street. To view original, click here.

Lee Adler goes behind the paper curtain of Wall Street propaganda to strip away the media hype and hysteria around the financial news headlines to show you the facts. In this video he reviews a housing market ratio that shows the market has cracked, manufacturing data that supports that stocks are in a bubble, a new liquidity ratio that suggests that technical hints of an approaching market top are on the mark.

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Today’s RFWS was absolutely outstanding. (I’m glad I actually watched this one rather than just listening while running.) When it comes to financial journalism, Lee, you remain an island of sanity in a huge sea of crap. Thanks.

Bob

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Mind Boggling Chart O’ Da Month http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/mind-boggling-chart-o-da-month/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/mind-boggling-chart-o-da-month/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 22:12:41 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=253247 Real Durable Goods Ex Transport and Stocks - Click to enlarge

Real Durable Goods Ex Transport and Stocks – Click to enlarge

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Initial Claims Illustrate Fed Dependency on Undependable, Ignorable Data http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/initial-claims-illustrate-fed-dependency-on-undependable-ignorable-data/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/initial-claims-illustrate-fed-dependency-on-undependable-ignorable-data/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:17:57 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=253201 The headline, fictional, seasonally adjusted (SA) number of initial unemployment claims for last week came in at 271,000. The Wall Street economist crowd consensus guess was right on the money. That happens on occasion.

Instead of the seasonally manipulated headline number expectations game, we focus on the actual trend of the actual data. Facts and reality are much more useful than the Wall Street captured media’s fantasy numbers. Actual claims were 263,221, which is another record low for this calendar week, continuing a nearly uninterrupted string of record lows that began in September 2013.

Employers in some sectors are hoarding workers. Similar behavior in the past has been associated with bubbles, and has led to massive retrenchment, usually within 18 months or so. In the housing bubble, similar behavior continued well beyond the peak of that bubble in 2005-06. Employers seem to take their cues from stock prices. The current string is now 3 months beyond the point at which other major bubbles have begun to deflate. Is the bungee cord simply longer this time, or is this the new paradigm?

The Department of Labor (DoL) reports the unmanipulated numbers that state unemployment offices actually count and report to the DoL each week. This week it said, “The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 263,221 in the week ending June 20, an increase of 4,457 (or 1.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 1,607 (or 0.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 305,029 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014”

Initial Claims and Annual Rate of Change- Click to enlarge

Initial Claims and Annual Rate of Change- Click to enlarge

Click to view chart

This week of June is a swing week, with claims sometimes up, sometimes down, with a wide variance. There’s no evidence of seasonality. The actual change this week was an increase of 5,000 (rounded). That compared with an increase of -4,000 for that week last year and the 10 year average for that week of a decrease of -5,000 (rounded).

Week to week changes are noisy. The trend is what’s important and it remains on track. Actual claims were 13.7% lower than the same week a year ago. Since 2010 the annual change rate has mostly fluctuated between -5% and -15%. This week’s data was again on the strong side of that range. That unusual degree of strength has now been persistent for 2 months. There’s no sign of an uptick in the trend of firings and layoffs.

There were 1,861 claims per million of nonfarm payroll employees in the current week. This was a record low for that week of June, well below the 2007 previous record of 2,147. The 2007 extreme occurred just a few months before the carnage of mass layoffs that was to begin later that year. Employers were still clueless that the bubble had ended and that that would have devastating effects.

Because employers apparently tend to take their cues from stock prices, we cannot depend on this data for advance warning of a decline in stock prices, although there should at least be concurrent confirmation.

Initial Claims and Annual Rate of Change- Click to enlarge

Initial Claims and Annual Rate of Change- Click to enlarge

Click to view chart.

I look at an analysis of individual state claims as a kind of advance decline line for confirmation of the trend in the total numbers. The impact of the oil price collapse started to show up in state claims data in the November-January period. While most states show the level of initial claims well below the levels of a year ago, in the oil producing states of Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, claims have been consistently above year ago levels since the turn of the year. North Dakota and Louisiana claims first increased above the year ago level in November of last year. Texas reversed in late January. Oklahoma joined the wake shortly after that.

Data for the June 13 week:

Untitled

These numbers have varied widely, week to week but the trend of claims being significantly higher than the same week last year has been persistent. Texas, with a huge and somewhat more diversified economy has improved since April as the price of oil rebounded and stabilized, and the state showed a year to year decline in the week ended May 30. But the following week Texas again had more claims than last year.

In the June 13 week, 11 states had more claims than in the same week in 2014. That was down from 12 the prior week, but up from 10, 4 weeks earlier. This number fluctuates widely week to week with many states near even. At the end of the third quarter of 2014 just 5 states showed an increase in claims year to year. At the end of 2014 that had increased to 8. In early April this year the number had risen to 22. So there has been some moderation in this trend as the oil collapse has leveled off.

The 22 states that were higher in early April gives us a benchmark to watch, similar to an advance decline line in the stock market. If the number of states showing a year to year increase in claims should exceed 22, it should be an indication that the national trend of decreasing claims is reversing. That could be an advance warning of a big stock market decline as well.

I track the daily real time Federal Withholding Tax data in the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition. The year to year growth rate in withholding taxes in real time is now running +5.8% in nominal terms. The growth rate has been remarkably consistent around 6% over the past couple of months.

The June 12 week was the reference week for the May payrolls survey. The numbers for that week showed a year to year gain of +6.4%, which compares with a year to year gain of +5.4% in the May reference week. The daily data suggests that withheld taxes for that week did not grow as much, but it would still mean that jobs growth was about the same in June as in May. Whether the cockamamie seasonally adjusted headline number reflects that reality or not is a crapshoot. It takes the BLS 7 revisions of the SA data over 5 years to fit it to the actual trend. The first release is hit or miss.

Assuming that the SA headline number is a reasonable representation of the actual trend, it would move the Fed closer to attempting a rate increase, especially now that CPI data has begun to catch up to reality.

The Fed’s favored measure of inflation, PCE, just released, suppresses the measurement of inflation even more than CPI. That would put the Fed even further behind the curve in recognizing that inflation is running much hotter than the official measures show. The Fed knows that, and has inserted weasel words into its various propaganda releases that it will raise rates as long as the Fed thinks that inflation is moving toward the 2% target. It does not actually need to be at the target. The Fed is prepared to ignore the official measures because the members realize that they’re bogus.

The Fed will use or ignore whatever stats it wants depending on whether they fit its preconceived narrative, which is “We’re gonna try to raise rates at least once this year, and if that doesn’t work, we’ll think of an excuse not to do it again, because raising rates is really data dependant depending on which data dependably supports our narrative, and which data we will ignore, because it all depends on dependably dependant official data, none of which is dependable.”

The actual claims data, and actual withholding data, show the financial engineering bubble economy is still at full boil. This will continue to encourage the Fed to engage in the charade of pretending to raise interest rates sooner rather than later, but only because they have conditioned the market to expect it, a conditioning that they now regret they had undertaken. So now the Fed is saying, “just once and then we’ll see.”  They’re walking back expectations now because they knows they will have problems getting rates to go up. I cover that subject in depth in your weekly Money-Liquidity Pro reports.

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Here’s Why WSJ New Home Sales Headline Is Technically Correct But Still Misleading- It’s Still A Depression http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/heres-why-wsj-new-home-sales-headline-is-technically-correct-but-still-misleading-its-still-a-depression/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/heres-why-wsj-new-home-sales-headline-is-technically-correct-but-still-misleading-its-still-a-depression/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:44:43 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=252941 The Wall Street Journal is Rupert Murdoch’s PR organ for his Move Inc. subsidiary, which provides marketing services Realtors. The Journal put out a PR release yesterday that,” U.S. New-Home Sales Rise to 7-Year High.” While technically correct, it is nevertheless misleading, tainted by the paper’s tilt toward bullish pronouncements on housing, thanks to Move Inc.’s main client being the mammoth NAR housing cartel.

It is misleading because 2008 was near the bottom of the housing crash. Nowhere in the piece did the flak who wrote it mention that fact. The PR staff did post a chart though. It was buried near the bottom of the post and they mashed the scale down to about a half inch high. I guess that’s what you call fair and balanced reporting.

Capture

In the interest of showing the facts, I constructed a chart showing new home sales back to 2005, along with prices, to give you a clear picture of what’s really going on here. Just in case the graphs don’t speak for themselves, I included my impressions of what they show. I also increased the height of the chart just a little to give you better perspective.

New Home Sales and Prices- Click to enlarge

New Home Sales and Prices- Click to enlarge

At the end of the WSJ piece, the writer talked about regional differences. He must be a wild and crazy guy, because there was no basis in fact for his observations.

Sales varied by region. New-home purchases surged in the Northeast and climbed in the West, but fell in the Midwest and South.

I guess he was looking at the funked up seasonally adjusted fictional numbers, where the Census Bureau takes the sampling error, which they admit is huge, and the seasonal adjustment error, and multiply them times 12 to annualize and increase the size of the errors. Because nowhere in the actual, not seasonally adjusted data is there a shred of evidence that sales rose in the Northeast and fell in the South.

In fact, sales were dead flat in the Northeast, at the same depression level where they have remained for 7 years. May sales in the Northeast totaled 3,000 units (rounded), exactly the same as in May last year. They’ve either been 2,000 or 3,000 units in every May since 2008. In my book, that’s both flat, and dead.

Sales did fall year to year in the Midwest and they did rise in the West. They got those right. But sales soared in the South. This is an artifact of US migratory patterns, not systemic, nationwide growth. Whoever said, “The South shall rise again,” must have been talking about, real estate.

Here again is a chart that will allow you to see for yourself, starting in 2002 for historical perspective. 2002 was the bottom of a recession. In not one region have sales recovered to the levels recorded in 2002. The best region is the South, which is down 25% from the May 2002 level. The West is down roughly 35%. The Midwest is down nearly 2/3, and the Northeast is still at only roughly half of the 2002 level. So what we are talking about here ladies and gentlemen is a “recovery” all the way back to half or 3/4 of the level of the BOTTOM of the previous recession.

They can call it “rebound,” or “recovery,” or “momentum,” or whatever they want. It still looks like a depression to me.

New Home Sales By Region- Click to enlarge

New Home Sales By Region- Click to enlarge

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Wall Street Journal Prints Housing Whoppers As The Housing Industry PR Firm It Actually Is http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/wall-street-journal-prints-housing-data-whoppers-as-the-housing-industry-pr-firm-it-is/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/wall-street-journal-prints-housing-data-whoppers-as-the-housing-industry-pr-firm-it-is/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:58:47 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=252800 Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. owns the Wall Street Journal and the housing marketing service Move Inc. Move Inc.’s main client is the National Association of Realtors. In sisterhood with Move, the newspaper is prone to printing outright, bald-faced lies about the state of the housing market in the US, whenever it thinks it can get away with it. And since nobody is paying attention, it gets away with it.

Yesterday it printed another whopper on the subject of the NAR’s “existing home sales” print for May. The Journal said, “Sales last month hit their strongest pace since November 2009.” That’s simply false. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Aside from the fact that the Journal reported a figure which was false, this isn’t actually sales data. It’s the number of sales that were settled that month. The sales took place a month or two earlier. This is like if retailers reported sales when customers paid their credit card bills a month or two after the actual purchase. Like all retailers, the monumentally monolithic NAR cartel has the actual data on the closing of the contracts at the time they occur, but it refuses to report it.

The national online real estate brokerage Redfin gives us the facts by reporting contract agreements (which the NAR calls “pending home sales”) for 58 US metros a few weeks after the fact, using the NAR’s MLS databases. This data showed that sales rose 3.1% year over year in May. That compares with the NAR’s reported 9.2% gain in May year over year sales using a grossly faulty seasonal adjustment factor. The NAR’s actual data, not seasonally adjusted, on closings (“existing home sales”) showed that the year to year gain was 5.1%. Even though that may have been the correct figure for closings, Redfin’s data for contracts signed in May at +3.1% shows that the market appreciably slowed since NARs reported “sales” were contracted in March and April.

April may have been when the housing market reached peak momentum. Mortgage rates were near their lowest levels in 2 years in March and April. Since then mortgage rates have spiked.

The biggest problem may be with the statement, which WSJ made up, that sales had reached their “strongest pace” since November 2009. Considering just the NAR’s actual, not seasonally finagled data, there were 497,000 “sales” in May. In May of 2013 there were 514,000 sales. In fact, in every month this year except February when mortgage rates were at their lowest point, existing home sales were below the same month’s levels in 2013.

In fairness to the NAR and the Journal, which actively promotes its affiliated housing business via the newspaper, April contracts were at the highest level since the recovery. That brings up another problem. Since May closings did not keep pace with April’s contracts, contract fallout increased and the ratio of closed sales to prior contracts fell to 93.2%, the lowest level since 2012. That broke an improving trend that had been under way since the bottom of the housing crash.

Monthly Home Sales- Click to enlarge

Monthly Home Sales- Click to enlarge

Click here to view chart.

Is that a canary in the coal mine? It’s logical that there would be some sensitivity between contract failures and rising mortgage rates. Most buyers in the housing market are on the bubble to begin with. They simply cannot afford higher rates at these price levels. Something has to give. If mortgage rates rise from here, will it be sales volume, or house price inflation (now around 8%), or both?

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal pretends to be an unbiased news organization as it continues to report NAR data while acting as a PR firm for its sister company, MOVE Inc. It’s an outrage. But other paid observers (formerly known as journalists or reporters) continue to sleepwalk through this data every month too. All of the mainstream media organizations and their employed lackeys are on the take from the housing industry. They cannot, and will not, report the data without gross bias.

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Introducing The Macroliquidity Ratio Indicator http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/introducing-the-macroliquidity-ratio-indicator/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/introducing-the-macroliquidity-ratio-indicator/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 02:34:53 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=252560 We have a new black box.

The Composite Liquidity Indicator edged to a new high this week, just barely above the range of the past 6 months. Even with that 6 month pause, the trend is in much the same longer term path it has been on since 2012. It still has a small margin above its 39 week moving average, and is more than double that spread above its 28 week moving average.Perhaps the most amazing visual is the degree to which the S&P 500 correlates with this line. Strikingly, each time since 2013 that the SPX has dropped to the 39 week moving average of macroliquidity, the decline has reversed. Since 2012, each time the SPX has hit the Macroliquidity line, the rally has stalled. Pure coincidence, or are we on to something?

Macroliquidity Composite - Click to enlarge

Macroliquidity Composite – Click to enlarge

Since 2012 the ratio of the Macroliquidity Composite to the S&P 500 has ranged from approximately 1150 to 1250. When that range has been exceeded, it was either a short term buy when the ratio was at or above 1250 or a short term sell when it was around 1150.  I have created a chart to illustrate this.  Even though I do not know why the correlation has been as strong as it has been, in theory it should work, and in practice it has been working. As long as it continues to, I’ll keep it as another arrow in the quiver. I don’t expect it to be a magic bullet or permanent black box. It might stop working tomorrow, but for now, it is at least interesting.

Macroliquidity Ratio- Click to enlarge

Macroliquidity Ratio- Click to enlarge

Click to view chart.

I will update this indicator weekly in the Macro Liquidity Pro reports.

Fed Money and Liquidity Pro subscribers (Professional Edition), click here to download complete report in pdf format.

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Why Janet Yellen Is Manipulating You http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/why-janet-yellen-is-manipulating-you/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/06/why-janet-yellen-is-manipulating-you/#comments Sun, 21 Jun 2015 06:09:11 +0000 http://radiofreewallstreet.fm/?p=28358 Lee Adler goes behind the paper curtain of Wall Street propaganda to strip away the media hype and hysteria around the financial news headlines to show you the facts. In this video he reviews the fantasy world that Janet Yellen lives in and then does an in depth review of the technical condition of the stock market, and 7 charts of liquidity indicators that have shown a causal relationship with stock prices for many years. Sometimes correlation really does imply causation.

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Today’s RFWS was absolutely outstanding. (I’m glad I actually watched this one rather than just listening while running.) When it comes to financial journalism, Lee, you remain an island of sanity in a huge sea of crap. Thanks.

Bob

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