The Wall Street Examiner » Wall Street Examiner Exclusives http://wallstreetexaminer.com Get the facts. Sun, 01 Mar 2015 03:29:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Yet Another Record Low In Initial Unemployment Claims Screams Danger http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/yet-another-record-low-in-initial-unemployment-claims-screams-danger/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/yet-another-record-low-in-initial-unemployment-claims-screams-danger/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:53:32 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=238212 The actual unmanipulated data on weekly first time unemployment claims paints a picture of a US economy that is in a bubble that is boiling over, driven by the massive central bank money printing campaigns and ZIRP.

The headline, fictional, seasonally adjusted (SA) number of initial unemployment claims for last week came in at 313,000. The Wall Street conomist consensus guess was 290,000.

Rather than playing the headline number expectations game, our interest is in the actual, unmanipulated data. Tracking the actual total of state weekly counts is the only way to be to see what’s really going on. The Department of Labor reports the actual unadjusted data clearly and illustrates it in comparison with the previous year. The mainstream financial media ignores that data.

According to the Department of Labor the actual, unmanipulated numbers were as follows. “The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 280,000 in the week ending February 21, an increase of 2,096 (or 0.8 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 25,110 (or -9.0 percent) from the previous week. There were 312,665 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

This year’s performance was much weaker than average for that week of February. The actual week to week change was an increase of 2,000 (rounded). The 10 year average for that week is a decrease of -20,000 (rounded). This year’s decrease compared with a decrease of -19,000 in the comparable week of 2014, and -41,000 in that week of 2013. This suggests weakness in the short run, but what about the bigger picture?

Looking at the momentum of change over the longer term, actual first time claims were 10.5% lower than the same week a year ago. This is right in the middle of the normal range of the annual rate of change. Since 2010 the change rate has mostly fluctuated between -5% and -15%. There is no sign of the trend weakening yet.

Employers are hoarding workers. Businesses have been unusually reluctant to cut employees. The total number of claims was the lowest for that week since the top of the housing bubble. While the current total was about 1,000 more than the 2006 week, initial claims are still at all time record lows in terms of the number of claims per million workers at 1,988. This is 7% lower than at the top of the housing bubble and 15% below the top of the tech/internet bubble. For months, the current numbers have been so extreme that they suggest the excessive employer optimism that characterizes the end stages of economic booms and bubbles.This is the most extreme such behavior in the history of this data.

This comes on the heels of the long running US oil/gas bubble, which peaked in the middle of last year and has since collapsed. The impact of that price collapse is starting to show up in state claims data.

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, and Louisiana, claims have recently been above year ago levels. North Dakota claims first increased above the year ago level in early November. Louisiana reversed in mid November. Texas reversed in late January. In the most current state data, for the February 14 week, claims in these states were well above year ago levels. Texas was up 16%, Louisiana +27%, and North Dakota +41%. These increases are probably just the tip of the iceberg, with more layoffs and ripple effects to come.

With its huge and widely diversified economy, Texas could be the harbinger of things to come for the entire nation as the ripple effects of the oil collapse and the disappearance of those $85,000 per year jobs spread through the US economy.

I track the daily real time Federal Withholding Tax data in the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition.  The growth rate of withholding taxes is now running at an annual rate of gain of about 5.5% in real terms, adjusted for the trend rate of increase in workers’ weekly incomes. This is a record growth rate relative to the past dozen years. It too has the feel of an economy that has reached the boiling point.

The big actors in the economy are partying like it’s 1999. The tech bubble topped out in 2000 and the recession followed. The housing bubble peaked in 2006, but the damage did not begin to scare businessmen, policy makers,Wall Street and mainstream pundits until late 2007, and the real collapse followed a year later. The clock is ticking toward a similar end today, and this time the central banks will be hard pressed to engineer another credit bubble recovery.  

While we have been teased with signs of change in the claims data from time to time, the trend is still in force. This data will encourage the Fed to engage in the charade of pretending to raise interest rates sooner rather than later.

Claims and Stock Prices- Click to enlarge

Claims and Stock Prices- Click to enlarge

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Weekly Key News Review and Outlook – Here’s What Matters http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/weekly-key-news-review-and-outlook-heres-what-matters/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/weekly-key-news-review-and-outlook-heres-what-matters/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:18:13 +0000 http://radiofreewallstreet.fm/?p=26437 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 ferret out the really important facts and show you what they mean to the market outlook.

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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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Chart of the Day – Why Mainstream Financial Media Has Trouble Interpreting Abstract Impressionism http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/heres-why-mainstream-financial-media-has-trouble-interpreting-abstract-impressionism/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/heres-why-mainstream-financial-media-has-trouble-interpreting-abstract-impressionism/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 23:37:28 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=237787 If the mainstream media would just stop the silly nonsense of using seasonally adjusted (SA) abstract impressionistic data and then trying to explain it away, reality would be obvious. The headlines today said that existing home sales were down and then the Wall Street Jourbull tried to explain that away as a seasonal adjustment problem. Correctomundo! So why use seasonally adjusted data at all?

I’ve been ranting and raving at financial “journalists” about it for years and they simply keep making twisted, idiotic excuses. The fact is that they won’t use the published actual not seasonally adjusted data (NSA) because none of their competitors do it. God forbid any financial media outlet should actually do something different than another one. I mean, it’s so simple to just put the actual data on a chart and look at it, even an idiot could do it. Here’s proof.

Existing Home Sales- Click to enlarge

Existing Home Sales- Click to enlarge

It’s so simple that no additional analysis or commentary is required. Just look for yourself and see. Here’s another one which includes the latest housing inflation data that the BLS does not count in CPI.

Existing Home Sales- Click to enlarge

Existing Home Sales- Click to enlarge

If you have any additional observations, by all means, add your comments below.

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Fed Is Like A Mother Who Still Breastfeeds Her 6 Year Old http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/lindsay-williams-draws-me-out-of-my-shell-in-this-interview/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/lindsay-williams-draws-me-out-of-my-shell-in-this-interview/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 22:30:30 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=237447 Lindsay Williams asked me on his evening drive time radio show in South Africa how I felt about the FOMC meeting minutes.

Uh oh.

You can catch Lindsay’s radio show delayed podcasts at Fine Business Radio. Or listen live at 11 AM New York time. The focus is on Africa and South Africa but Lindsay also talks to investors from around the world daily.

Want to learn more about the Fed’s fraud on the American people? Watch this.

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Jobless Claims Record Low String Accelerates As US Bubble Economy Boils Over http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/jobless-claims-record-low-string-accelerates-as-us-bubble-economy-boils-over/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/jobless-claims-record-low-string-accelerates-as-us-bubble-economy-boils-over/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:38:46 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=237384 The actual unmanipulated data on weekly first time unemployment claims paints a picture of a US economy that is in a bubble that is boiling over, driven by the massive central bank money printing campaigns and ZIRP.

The headline, fictional, seasonally adjusted (SA) number of initial unemployment claims for last week came in at 283,000. The Wall Street conomist consensus guess was 295,000.

Rather than playing the headline number expectations game, our interest is in the actual, unmanipulated data. Tracking the actual total of state weekly counts is the only way to be to see what’s really going on. The Department of Labor reports the actual unadjusted data clearly and illustrates it in comparison with the previous year. The mainstream financial media ignores that data.

According to the Department of Labor the actual, unmanipulated numbers were as follows. “The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 278,986 in the week ending
February 14, a decrease of 45,213 (or -13.9 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 24,353 (or -7.5 percent) from the previous week. There were 322,761 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

This year’s performance was stronger than average for that week of February. The actual week to week change was a decrease of 45,000 (rounded). The 10 year average for that week is a decrease of -38,000 (rounded). This year’s decrease compared with a decrease of 38,000 in the comparable week of 2014, and just -11,000 in that week of 2013. This hints at trend acceleration

Looking at the momentum of change over the longer term, actual first time claims were 13.6% lower than the same week a year ago. This too is on the stronger side of the normal range of the annual rate of change. Since 2010 the change rate has mostly fluctuated between -5% and -15%. There is no sign of the trend weakening yet and the recent data suggests some strengthening.

Employers are hoarding workers. Businesses have been unusually reluctant to cut employees. In fact, initial claims are at all time record lows in terms of the number of claims per million workers at 1,981. This is 15% lower than at the top of the housing bubble and 23% below the top of the tech/internet bubble. The current numbers are so extreme that they suggest the excessive optimism that characterizes the end stages of economic booms and bubbles.This is the most extreme such behavior in the history of this data.

This come on the heels of the long running US oil/gas bubble, which peaked in the middle of last year and has since collapsed. The impact of that price collapse is starting to show up in state claims data.

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, and Louisiana, unlike most states, claims have recently been above year ago levels. North Dakota claims first increased above the year ago level in early November. Louisiana reversed in mid November. But as recently as mid January, claims in Texas were still lower than the year before.

In the most current state data, for the February 7 week, week to week claims rose by 5.7% nationally. In Texas they rose 13.6%, in Louisiana 9.8%, and in North Dakota 7.2%. These increases are probably just the tip of the iceberg, with more layoffs and ripple effects to come.

With its huge and widely diversified economy, Texas could be the harbinger of things to come for the entire nation as the ripple effects of the oil collapse and the disappearance of those $85,000 per year jobs spread through the US economy.

I track the daily real time Federal Withholding Tax data in the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition.  The growth rate of withholding taxes is now running at an annual rate of gain of about 6.5% in real terms, adjusted for the trend rate of increase in workers’ weekly incomes. This is a record growth rate relative to the past dozen years. It too has the feel of an economy that has reached the boiling point.

The big actors in the economy are partying like it’s 1999. The tech bubble topped out in 2000 and the recession followed. The housing bubble peaked in 2006, but the damage did not begin to scare businessmen, policy makers,Wall Street and mainstream pundits until late 2007, and the real collapse followed a year later. The clock is ticking toward a similar end today, and this time the central banks will be hard pressed to engineer another credit bubble recovery.  

While we have been teased with signs of change in the claims data from time to time, the trend is still in force and may even be picking up speed like a runaway freight train. This data will encourage the Fed to engage in the charade of pretending to raise interest rates sooner rather than later. I’ve covered the conundrum inherent in that charade in the current Radio Free Wall Street program.

Claims and Stock Prices- Click to enlarge

Claims and Stock Prices- Click to enlarge

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Warning! This Video May Cause Exploding Head Syndrome, Viewer Discretion Advised http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/warning-this-video-may-cause-exploding-head-syndrome-viewer-discretion-advised/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/warning-this-video-may-cause-exploding-head-syndrome-viewer-discretion-advised/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 16:33:22 +0000 http://radiofreewallstreet.fm/?p=26314

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

Lee Adler reviews a section of the January FOMC meeting minutes that nobody is paying any attention to. This section of the minutes shows clearly that the Fed is delusional. It will blow your mind.

Subscribers may click here to open or right click to download this video and play in your media player.

Not a subscriber? Watch a free preview. 

Why should you subscribe? Here’s how one subscriber puts it.

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

Join now and lock in the current price!

 

 

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Media Gets It Wrong Again, Real Retail Sales Rose http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/media-gets-it-wrong-again-real-retail-sales-rose/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/media-gets-it-wrong-again-real-retail-sales-rose/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 20:54:46 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=236604 Here we go again. The mainstream media is grossly misreporting another factoid in the daily sideshow of economic reports that ultimately have nothing to do with stock prices. But everybody hangs on them and many traders trade the releases, so it’s important to get a handle on the misinformation spewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC and the rest.

It’s also important in that bull markets top out when the economy is strong, not when it’s weak. Strong data supports the central bank draining of the punchbowl that causes bear markets.

Here’s the WSJ headline. You would think that the sky is falling.

Capture

In the game of pin the tail on the expectations this was a big miss. The conomic shills who are called upon for their guesses on these misleading indicators had expected “only” a 0.4% decline.

The headline number is, as always, the seasonally fudged fictional representation of reality that passes for actual data.

Here’s the actual data.

Nominal retail sales, not adjusted for the drop in inflation, fell by $107 billion in January versus December. January is always a big down month. The average decline for the past 10 years was $88 billion. The January 2014 decline was $95 billion. On this basis, the number does look weak.

On a year to year basis, nominal sales rose 2.8%, which is the smallest yearly rate of increase since March. But it is still within the growth rate range of the past 2 years.

Nominal Retail Sales- Click to enlarge

Nominal Retail Sales- Click to enlarge

This still looks pretty weak until you consider that consumer prices overall are dropping. We also know that gasoline sales dollar volume has dropped like a stone.

So I backed out gasoline sales and adjusted the nominal sales for changes in the price level over time. I used CPI through December and estimated January CPI using the State Street PriceStats measure, which CPI tracks closely. The result looks like this.

Real Retail Sales- Click to enlarge

Real Retail Sales- Click to enlarge

In real terms sales dropped 20.3% month to month. That compares with a 10 year average of 21.1% and January 2014’s 19.9%. All in all it was a middling to slightly better than average performance.

Next I backed out gasoline sales, where the dollar volume has been down sharply, and divided by total population to get a measure of spending per person. Here the picture changes dramatically. Adjusted for price level, gas sales, and population, it’s clear that retail sales, on things other than gas, per person, have risen markedly in recent months. While the top 10% of the income spectrum does most of the spending, it’s still a remarkable surge.

Real Retail Sales Per Capita- Click to enlarge

Real Retail Sales Per Capita- Click to enlarge

The annual growth rate of real retail sales per capita has been rising for a year and in January it spiked to a year to year growth rate of 5.6%. That’s the highest growth rate since November 2010 at the peak bungee rebound phase of the recovery. Some consumers clearly have shifted their dollars formerly spent at the Mini Mart gas pump to WalMart, Costco, and maybe even the local car dealer. That’s what was expected and it is, in fact, happening. But the other shoe, the weakening that will occur from the layoffs of highly paid oil and gas workers, plus the shutdown of orders of related machinery, equipment and materials, and the major ripple effects that will follow, are still to come.

This kind of spending orgy smacks of the final stages of a bubble. Only nobody realizes it yet. They’re too busy wailing over the grossly misleading headline number.  In the months ahead, those numbers will begin to reflect the actual trend and move higher. That will surprise Wall Street analysts and media pundits, and perhaps even the Fed. By the next couple of Fed meetings, the Fed will have all the ammo it needs to raise the curtain on the circus act of pretending to raise interest rates while massive amounts of excess cash remain in the banking system.

That circus is sure to roil the markets. Havoc awaits.

 

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I Give Josh Zumbrun Half Credit For His Point About JOLTS http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/i-give-josh-zumbrun-half-a-credit-for-his-point-about-jolts/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/i-give-josh-zumbrun-half-a-credit-for-his-point-about-jolts/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:13:54 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=236599 I was haranguing a Wall Street Journal reporter the other day for the way he reported an economic data release. So, what else is new? In this case the data in question was the JOLTs report, and as usual, I had a different take than all of the mainstream media reports.

The WSJ’s Josh Zumbrun pointed out to me that Professional and Business (PB) Services are not low wage jobs. He’s partly right. In fact, the median in that sector is above the mid range for all jobs. However a few very highly paid professionals in that field skew the average. These include lawyers, engineers, architects, designers, accountants, management consultants, computer systems analysts, and corporate managers.

The BLS says that 83% of the workers in the PB field are production and nonsupervisory. The average weekly earnings for this group in December was $862. The average for all private employees was $848. It’s reasonable to infer that roughly half the jobs in the group are at or below the average, but they are not “low pay” to the extent that the other 3 private sector categories on the list of most job openings was.

Digging a little deeper, the Professional and Business (PB) Services Category is divided into several sub categories. The biggest ones are Professional and Technical (PT) services and Administrative/Waste (A&W) services. Each accounts for about 45% of the total. Corporate management accounts for the rest. 93% of the workers in A&W were production and nonsupervisory. The average weekly pay for that group was $569.60, up about 2.5% in a year. So 40% of all PB workers are, in fact, low wage.

The average weekly pay for production and non-supervisory workers in the PT group was $1167.84, up about 3.5%. The takeaway there is that about 45% of the jobs in the overall PB sector are paid well above the average wage.

Where are most of the jobs? There were 300,000 net hires in the PT category over the past year and an increase of 360,000 in A&W.

So I’ll give Josh Zumbrun half credit for the point he made. There were some good job openings in the JOLTS numbers, but my point that most were low pay jobs that nobody wants to take is still supported. There’s also a suggestion in the low rate of hires that business can’t find workers with the skills needed to fill the higher paying jobs.

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Initial Unemployment Claims On Trend, But The Canary Is Singing http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/initial-unemployment-claims-on-trend-but-the-canary-is-singing/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/initial-unemployment-claims-on-trend-but-the-canary-is-singing/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:16:39 +0000 http://wallstreetexaminer.com/?p=236586 The headline, fictional, seasonally adjusted (SA) number of initial unemployment claims for last week came in at 304,000. The Wall Street conomist consensus guess was 285,000.

Rather than playing the expectations game, our interest is in the actual, unmanipulated data. Analyzing that is the only way to be sure that you are seeing what’s really going on. The Department of Labor reports the actual unadjusted data clearly and illustrates it in comparison with the previous year. The mainstream financial media ignores that data, obscuring what the trend is actually doing.

According to the Department of Labor the actual, unmanipulated numbers were as follows. “The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 323,672 in the week ending February 7, an increase of 17,061 (or 5.6 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 9,215 (or -3.0 percent) from the previous week. There were 360,338 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

This year’s performance was worse than average for the first week of February. The actual week to week change was an increase of 17,000 (rounded). The 10 year average for that week is a decrease of -6,000 (rounded). This year’s increase compared with a an increase of 3,000 in the comparable week of 2014, and a decrease of 27,000 in that week of 2013.

Week to week changes are volatile and one bad week does not make a trend. Looking at the momentum of change over the longer term, actual first time claims were 10% lower than the same week a year ago. This is within the normal range of the annual rate of change. Since 2010 the change rate has mostly fluctuated between -5% and -15%.  There is no sign of the trend weakening yet.

The data indicates that employers are hoarding workers. Businesses have been unusually reluctant to cut employees. In fact, initial claims are at all time record lows in terms of the number of claims per million workers. Is that a sign of a healthy, growing economy, or a bubble economy stretched to the limit? The last two times these numbers were nearly as strong were at the tops of the housing bubble and the internet/tech bubble.The current numbers suggest bubble like behavior, indicative of the excessive optimism that characterizes the end stages of economic booms and bubbles.

This come on the heels of the long running US oil/gas bubble, which peaked in the middle of last year and has since collapsed. 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, and Louisiana, claims are now above year ago levels (state data January 31 week). North Dakota claims first increased above the year ago level in early November. Louisiana reversed in mid November. But as recently as mid January, claims in Texas were still lower than the year before. With its huge and widely diversified economy, Texas could be the harbinger of things to come for the entire nation as the ripple effects of the oil collapse and the disappearance of those $85,000 per year jobs spread through the US economy.

I track the daily real time Federal Withholding Tax data in the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition.  The growth rate of withholding taxes is now running at an annual rate of gain of about 6.5% in real terms, adjusted for the trend rate of increase in workers’ weekly incomes. This is a record growth rate. It has the feel of as good as it gets.

The big actors in the economy are partying like it’s 1999. The tech bubble topped out in 2000 and the recession followed. Recall too that the housing bubble peaked in 2006, but the damage did not begin to scare businessmen, policy makers,Wall Street and mainstream pundits until late 2007, and the real collapse followed a year later. 

While we have been teased with signs of change in the claims data from time to time, the trend is still in force. Only if we start to see the numbers coming in above the year ago comparable week for a few weeks would it be a sign of material change in trend, and a possible excuse for the Fed to bring back the Ghost of QE Past. There are hints that that’s coming, but unless the gross numbers break soon, the data will encourage the Fed to start the smoke and mirrors game of pretending to raise interest rates.

Claims and Stock Prices- Click to enlarge

Claims and Stock Prices- Click to enlarge

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Greece, The Not Growing US Deficit, 2% Treasury Notes, And Macro Liquidity http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/greece-the-not-growing-us-deficit-2-treasury-notes-and-macro-liquidity/ http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2015/02/greece-the-not-growing-us-deficit-2-treasury-notes-and-macro-liquidity/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 02:55:10 +0000 http://radiofreewallstreet.fm/?p=26127 Read more →

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

Lee Adler talks about just how bad Greek default and exit from the Euro might be for US, why the news about the US deficit growing is wrong, what’s important about 2% on the 10 year, and what macro liquidity trends mean for US stocks.

Subscribers may click here to open or right click to download this video and play in your media player.

To see full program samples of past videos on a delayed basis go to our Youtube channel.

Why should you subscribe? Here’s how one subscriber puts it.

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

Subscription prices will be going up in mid January. Join now and lock in the current price! Use the form below.

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