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October 23, 2020 | Housing Market Goes Nuts, Everyone Sees it, But it Can’t Last

Another batch of crazy housing data yesterday. Crazy in the sense that the housing market, or rather part of it, namely the higher end of it, has gone totally crazy and that by now everyone knows that this isn’t “sustainable,” that “there’s no way it can last forever,” as Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman told CNBC. […]

October 13, 2020 | Crazy Times Not Only for Consumers Trying to Buy a Used Car but also for Dealers Grappling with the Distortions

Prices of used cars and trucks have been on one heck of a crazy ride since the Pandemic started, with the market freezing up in March and April, and then heating up, with prices soaring but with demand and sales volume still not back where it was before the Pandemic. This – what would normally […]

October 9, 2020 | Microsoft Offers Permanent Work-from-Home Option with Pay-Cuts if Employees Move to Cheaper Cities or Countries

Microsoft became the latest company to officially build work-from-home as a permanent feature and benefit into its model – a “hybrid workplace,” as it calls it, which seems to be where this is heading for companies with office employees and enough tech savvy to pull it off. But that excludes a lot of companies too. […]

October 4, 2020 | Commercial Real Estate Office Sector Crushed by Work-from-Home, Tsunami of Supply in Q3: Manhattan, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles

In the third quarter 2020, the commercial real estate segment of office space in Houston, Manhattan, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles – each representing a different area of the US with different economic dynamics – has gotten hit hard by the stunning shift to work-from-home (WFH) and the sudden corporate realization that, after years […]

September 23, 2020 | “Robinhood Traders” Trigger Massive Idiocy on Scheme by Nasdaq-Listed Chinese Penny Stock that Skyrocketed 4,387% & Collapsed by Two-Thirds in Just One Day

The Nasdaq might be down 12% from its high on September 2, and Apple might be down 21% from its high on September 1. But the day-trader nuttiness – the new technical terms is “Robinhood traders” though they may trade on any platform, not just on Robinhood – isn’t letting up, and hedge funds might […]

September 13, 2020 | Subprime Auto-Loan Delinquencies, Loan Deferrals & Stimulus Curdle into Curious Phenomenon

OK, get this: At a time when there are 29.6 million people claiming state or federal unemployment insurance because they lost their work in the worst economy of a lifetime, subprime auto-loan delinquencies, which in the past had spiked during much smaller labor market downturns, are doing the opposite: they’re dropping. Meaning, since April, people […]

September 6, 2020 | The Wild Ride of the Giant 5 Stocks (APPL, MSFT, AMZN, GOOG, FB) v. the Rest of the Market

Over the last two trading days, Thursday and Friday, the Giant 5 stocks combined fell by 7.4% in value. The Nasdaq dropped 6.2% over those two days. For Apple, the most giant of them all, the selloff started on Wednesday: Apple [AAPL]: -7.9% in 2 days; in 3 days: -9.9%, or -$226 billion. Alphabet [GOOG]: […]

August 25, 2020 | “Pent-up Supply” in San Francisco Turns into Record Glut of Houses & Condos for Sale. Prices Weaken

We’re going to look at San Francisco’s housing market in two ways: The Case-Shiller Home Price Index released today, which lags months behind but provides good price-movement data for houses and condos; and near-real-time indicators. First the near-real-time indicators: “Active listings” in San Francisco skyrocketed by 137% year-over-year to 1,995 homes for sale in the […]

August 21, 2020 | Shell’s Colossal Miscalculation in 2011 of Today’s LNG Price: Largest-Ever $12-$17-Billion “Floating Facility” Shut Down, Months After Shipping First LNG. Done in by Long Price Collapse

The Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011 triggered a series of events at the Fukushima power plant that led to catastrophic meltdowns in three of its six reactors, which led Japan to take the remaining of its 54 operating reactors offline, as a new regulatory and safety regime was established for […]

August 14, 2020 | Fired up by Stimulus Money & Debt Deferrals, Americans Went Shopping. But Where? How Life Changed During the Pandemic

Retail sales by category of retailer show how Americans have adjusted to the Pandemic and to a very peculiar financial situation. Spending was supported by stimulus money that included the extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. A study by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago found that two-thirds […]

August 9, 2020 | The State of the American Debt-Slaves Q2 2020: The Credit Card Phenomenon

OK, as I mentioned on Friday, things are a little crazy in the consumer-debt arena at the moment: No Payment, No Problem: Bizarre New World of Consumer Debt. But there is another aspect to it – that of the American debt-slaves themselves. And there are all kinds of things happening. Consumer debt – student loans, […]

August 1, 2020 | Average Age of Cars & Trucks on the Road Sets Record, Will Jump During Pandemic as New-Vehicle Sales Plunge to 1970s Level

The average age of passenger cars and trucks on the road in the US – light “vehicles in operation” or VIO – rose to another record of 11.9 years in 2020, according to IHS Markit. But this doesn’t yet include the effects of the Pandemic on the auto industry. We’ll get to that in a […]

July 24, 2020 | Shift from Condos to Houses and from Big Cities to Suburbs? New House Sales Rose 6.9% fr. June Last Year, to Highest Level since July 2007

Sales of new single-family houses (based on signed contracts) rose 6.9% in June, compared to June last year, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales of 776,000 houses, according to the Commerce Department this morning. It was a hair above January’s 774,000, having recovered all of the plunge during February, March, and April — […]

July 14, 2020 | It Starts: Mortgage Delinquencies Suddenly Soar at Record Pace

OK, it’s actually worse. Mortgages that are in forbearance and have not missed a payment before going into forbearance don’t count as delinquent. They’re reported as “current.” And 8.2% of all mortgages in the US – or 4.1 million loans – are currently in forbearance, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But if they did […]

July 7, 2020 | US House Prices to Drop 6.6% by May 2021, First Annual Decline since Jan. 2012: CoreLogic, Owner of the Case-Shiller Index

CoreLogic, which owns the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, released its monthly “Home Price Index Forecast” this morning, based on the Case-Shiller data. After years of being bullish about home prices, CoreLogic suddenly turned bearish. It forecast that prices of single-family houses, including distressed sales, would begin dropping on a month-to-month basis with the June reading […]

June 27, 2020 | World Trade Plunges. Here’s Why it’s Even Worse in Reality: China’s Deep-Fake Data Comes to Light

World trade in goods plunged by 12% in April from March, after having already dropped 2.4% in March from February. This plunge of the Merchandise World Trade Monitor, released by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, was by far the largest month-to-month drop in the history of the data going back to 2000. Compared […]

June 16, 2020 | But Who Bought this Huge Pile of US Government Debt?

Foreign investors – including central banks, governments, companies, funds, and individuals – shed $44 billion of US Treasury securities in April, compared to March, according to the Treasury Department Monday afternoon. Over the same period, the mountain of US Treasury securities grew by $1.287 trillion. Someone must have bought this $1.287 trillion in additional US […]

June 4, 2020 | Week 11 of the U.S. Labor Market Collapse: Signs of Having Hit Bottom, Finally

To determine if the collapse of the US labor market hit bottom, the combined number of people still receiving unemployment benefits under state programs and under federal programs – such as gig workers receiving benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program – need to stop growing. And for the first time since this fiasco started, […]

May 23, 2020 | Catastrophic Plunge in Jobs & Labor Force in Los Angeles, San Francisco/Silicon Valley Smacks into Housing Bubbles

A little anecdotal thingy before we get into the horrifying data: I was on a call with a guy from Google – they want my WOLF STREET media mogul empire to spend money advertising on Google. He was working from home, and since he no longer has to go to Google’s office in Redwood City, […]

May 13, 2020 | A Word About the Current Chaos in Prices and Inflation

Amid soaring prices of meat, beverages, fruit, veggies, and other food at home, and surging costs of personal goods, medical care services, and household furnishings, and amid a collapse in prices of gasoline, car rentals, public transportation, car insurance, lodging away from home, and other things – amid these diametrically opposed price movements, the Consumer […]

May 9, 2020 | The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q1 2020

Most of the first quarter was still the Good Times, but in later February and early March it hit the fan, as markets were crashing. In mid-March lockdowns started to roll across the country, and the layoffs by the tens of millions commenced. So how were consumers positioned going into this crisis? Many of them, […]

May 2, 2020 | Bone-Chilling WTF Charts of the Collapse in US Demand for Gasoline, Jet Fuel, and Diesel

Oil companies are reporting financial fiascos every day: Today Exxon reported its first quarterly loss since 1999 ($610 million), on a “market-related” $2.9 billion write-down. “We’ve never seen anything like what the world is facing today,” CEO Darren Woods said. On Thursday, Texas-based shale-driller Concho Resources reported a quarterly loss of $9.3 billion, after writing […]

April 20, 2020 | Holy WTF Moly: WTI May Contract Collapses to Negative -$37

It’s not often that we’re served up a WTF moment like this. Just about a couple of hours ago, I published my article about US crude-oil benchmark grade West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and how the May futures contract for it collapsed by 45% to $10 a barrel — US Crude Oil Gets Annihilated Under Targeted […]

April 16, 2020 | How Will Covid-19 Lockdowns Hit the Housing Market? It Gets a Little Clearer

The “combined COVID-19 and oil shock” are going to do a number on the U.S. housing market, Fannie Mae warned in its monthly report on Wednesday. Actual data for homes sold after the lockdowns began will not be available for a while, and everyone is grappling with preliminary indications of just how ugly this is […]

April 12, 2020 | Going to be Tougher for Lots of People to Even Get a Mortgage. Expensive Housing Markets Most Affected

That mortgage lending standards have suddenly tightened in just a few weeks – and in some areas drastically, such as jumbo mortgages – has been reported in bits and pieces by boots-on-the-ground mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers. But how loose were those lending standards to begin with, and how did they compare to the lending […]

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