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February 24, 2017 | Ready for a Housing ‘Surprise’?

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

Genuinely meaningful economic data from mainstream news sources is as rare as a transparent pronouncement from the wizards and charlatans at the Fed. Friday will provide an exception, however, since very meaningful new-home-sales figures for January are slated for release. The consensus expects a strong rebound from December’s miserable 536,000 (annualized); a 7.5% increase to 576,000 is anticipated. This strikes me as just a tad optimistic, since home prices and mortgage rates have risen significantly in recent months. If I am right and the numbers elicit disappointment or even shock on Wall Street, just remember that those doing the estimating live to please masters who get paid princely sums for throwing Other People’s Money at stocks. Most of these geniuses couldn’t hold down CETA jobs if it were honest work that were required of them. Let’s see how well they’ve done. _______  UPDATE 12:23 p.m.): At 555,000, January’s annualized sales were 21,000 below consensus expectations. The Dow is down 50 points, 30 points off its lows, but there’s no way of knowing how much of the selling is attributable to the housing number. In any event, the mildness of the weakness suggests it is just a shakedown, and not much of one.

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February 24th, 2017

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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