The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 5

The Commerce Department reported(.pdf) that retail sales were unchanged in July following a modest 0.2 percent gain in June and, for the second month in a row, auto sales declined.

Motor vehicle sales dropped 0.2 percent after falling 0.3 percent the month prior, but the July weakness was not only in autos as retailers in five of the thirteen major categories reported lower receipts. Excluding motor vehicles, sales rose just 0.1 percent and, excluding both autos and gasoline, sales were also up just 0.1 percent.

General merchandise stores saw sales drop 0.5 percent and smaller declines were reported at furniture stores, electronics stores, and at nonstore retailers (e.g., internet sales). Strength was reported at clothing stores and health stores where sales rose 0.4 percent and miscellaneous store retailers saw an even larger increase of 0.9 percent for the month.

After robust GDP growth during most of the second quarter, it appears the American consumer may be taking a break over the summer, at least when it comes to buying cars.

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Wednesday Morning Links

MUST READS
Japanese economy contracts sharply – BBC
China’s July economic data points to softness – Reuters
Crisis stalks Europe again as deflation deepens, Germany stalls – Telegraph
Kurds Push Attack in North Iraq as Maliki Clings to Power – Bloomberg
Russia’s Soul: What Crimea Says about Putin’s Future – Spiegel
Ukraine to Block Russian Aid Trucks as It Tightens Noose Around Rebels – Bloomberg
Companies Deal With Employees Who Refuse to Take Time Off by Requiring Vacations – WSJ
World Awash in Oil Shields Markets From 2008 Price Shock – Bloomberg
A timely warning from the feds: Bitcoins are the ‘Wild West’ – LA Times
Debt: The big threat to a happy retirement – USA Today
Robin Williams’ estate plan: Good, but not great – CNBC
The Bottom Line by Carl Icahn – Yahoo!

To find out what Tim thinks of today’s news, subscribe to Iacono Research

MARKETS/INVESTING
Stocks higher, Japan shrugs off GDP drop – AP
Oil prices dip to lowest level in nine months – BBC
Could weaker oil be signaling doom for stocks? – CNBC
Junk Bond Funds Just Experienced A 6-Sigma Event – Business Insider
David Rosenberg: Market correction? Was that it? – Finnacial Post
Treasuries at Week Low Versus G-7 Peers Before Sale – Bloomberg
Gold above $1,300 on Ukraine worries; firmer shares, dollar weigh – Reuters
Seasonal Pickup In Physical Gold Demand Uncertain – Analysts – Kitco
Confusion Prior To New “London Silver Price” Launch This Friday – GoldCore
Gold imports in India to decline under new norms – BullionStreet
Shanghai Silver In Backwardation – BullionStar

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Proof of a Structural Change in the U.S. Workforce – Advisor Perspectives
Latest economic data from China raises doubts over growth – BBC
China’s new yuan loans down in July – China Daily
China industrial output up 9.0% on-year in July – CNA
Japan GDP growth collapses amid sales tax shock – CNN/Money
French prices plunge in July, sparking deflation fears – AFP
Mortgage volume weakens as summer wanes – CNBC
Record income gap fuels US housing weakness – FT
The GOP’s latest brainwave for the Fed is another terrible idea – Bloomberg
Bank of England: no early interest rate rise as wages forecast slashed – Telegraph
‘Living Wills’ For Banks Are Pointless Without Market Discipline – RCM

 

Robin Williams Live at the Met – 1986

Lots of retrospectives on Robin Williams today, all of which make for some good reading about celebrity, entertainment, depression, etc.

I’ll never forget this performance from almost 30 years ago – not sure if we had it on tape or whether we’d catch it on HBO, but it is an indelible memory of a master comedian at work.

Click on the YouTube logo directly above  to navigate to Part 2. Don’t know where it appears in this, but the discussion of his cocaine usage is pretty funny. I recall him talking about waking up in the morning (or afternoon or evening) with Buddy Rich drumming on his chest.

Tuesday Morning Links

MUST READS
Robin Williams dies in apparent suicide – US News
Robin Williams’ Laughter Masked Deadly Disease – Bloomberg
‘They’re Killing Us’: The Disturbing Rise of the Islamic State – Spiegel
Maliki Bid to Block Successor Escalates Crisis in Iraq – Bloomberg
The Way Out of the Ukraine Crisis – The Atlantic
Russian ‘aid’ convoy heads for Ukraine – Guardian
Government Likely Hiding Truth in Malaysia Flight 17 Crash – Ron Paul
Oil and gas company debt soars to danger levels to cover shortfall in cash – Telegraph
One chart that debunks the biggest myth about student loans – Vox
Postal Service’s net loss increases to $2 billion in quarter – SF Gate
Guru Who Predicted the Crisis of 2008 Says More Turmoil Coming – Time
How The Global Financial System Will Collapse – SRSrocco Report
Panda Triplets Born in China – WSJ

To find out what Tim thinks of today’s news, subscribe to Iacono Research

MARKETS/INVESTING
Positive start to week in markets comes to a halt – AP
30 reasons not to worry about a stock market crash – MarketWatch
Grading Janet Yellen’s social media bubble call – CNBC
You should be happy when the market tumbles – MSN Money
Iraq crisis: Why aren’t gas prices spiking? – CNN/Money
American Investors in the Fog about 2013 Stock Gains – Wolf Street
These large-cap funds are crushing the S&P 500 this year – USA Today
Treasury Rally Halts Before $67 Billion Auctions as Gross Sells – Bloomberg
Gold rises on concerns over Ukraine, Russia stand-off – Reuters
Weaker Prices Prompt Fund Managers To Cut PM Positions – Kitco
Is Gold Demand In China Really Collapsing? – GoldSilverWorlds

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Jobs Added Post-Recession in US Pay 23 Percent Less – MoneyNews
UK hiring plans at 16-year high, according to BDO report – BBC
Britain’s consumer credit market is a giant ticking time bomb – Telegraph
German Investor Confidence Slumps on Ukraine Crisis – Businessweek
China’s new companies surge after registration reform – xinhuanet
TISweden to Cut GDP Forecasts as Global Outlook Grows GloomierTLE – Bloomberg
Why first time buyers are still piling into a hot UK housing market – Telegraph
First-Time Buyers Shut Out of Expanding U.S. Home Supply – Bloomberg
Weak Home Sales, Falling Prices: Game Over for the U.S. Housing Market? – Motley Fool
Higher Housing Costs Aren’t Likely to Fade Soon, Cleveland Fed Study Says – WSJ
Recent Owners’ Equivalent Rent Inflation Is Probably Not a Blip – Cleveland Fed
Gaming the Fed’s Visible Hand – Market Anthropology

 
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