Archive for December 7th, 2012
“To put it simply: the price of an ounce of gold today would buy more stock in gold-mining companies than at any point in a quarter century.”
-Brett Arends, Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist, December 7, 2012
Interesting. The Wall Street Journal is pushing gold stocks this Friday night. Hard. From their website tonight:
In Gold Investing, Forget the Metal and Focus on Stocks
Want to buy some cheap gold? Consider gold-mining stocks.
Shares of the leading precious-metals companies have lagged behind the price of physical gold bullion so steeply in recent years that they now trade for significantly less than the value of the companies’ gold reserves, say analysts. In fact, the gap is among the widest ever seen, analysts say…
You can read the rest of the article on the Journal’s website here.
(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)
On Wednesday, I had a couple of spare minutes in what was generally a pretty frustrating day, so I decided to check out footage from a recent Madness concert posted on YouTube.com (really begins at 52:56 if you’re interested). When I saw the band play that old classic “Night Boat to Cairo,” I thought about all the “madness” going on in Egypt these days. Consider the following:
“Egypt Sees Largest Clash Since Revolutions
Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Egypt’s president clashed Wednesday, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails and brawling in Cairo’s streets, in the largest violent battle between Islamists and their foes since the country’s revolution early last year.”
-Wall Street Journal website, December 6, 2012
“Early last year” I wrote about how I came across a post on Pierre Legrand’s Pink Flamingo Bar blog about the author’s recent experience surviving a real-life SHTF situation in Egypt. Legrand and his family were in Cairo, Egypt, from January 25 until February 3, 2011- which happened to coincide with the uprising that took place that eventually forced Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak out of power. Mubarak resigned from office on February 11, after the revolt claimed the lives of 846 civilians and 26 policemen.
Seeing how conditions look to be deteriorating in Egypt once again, I thought it was only appropriate to point out Pierre Legrand’s “survival lessons” from that 2011 SHTF event, which can be found on his blog here.
Enlightening stuff. A lot of it likely applicable to city dwellers here in America.
“You’re talking 70 million people on an island, all competing for the same resources. The most likely catastrophic situations that we could experience are natural disasters. I think there will be a new Dark Age. And I want to prep so that my children have a good chance of survival.”
-Edward O’Toole, science fiction author and British prepper
American preppers- meet your cousins from across the pond. From the Off-Grid website on November 30:
NAtGeo TV had a show in the UK last night about the growing number of British preppers – men and women who are preparing against future catastrophes ranging from economic collapse to electro-magnetic flares that knock out all electric equipment.
What they have in common is they are ready for a world without food distribution, and with no law and order…
You can read the rest of this interesting article on Off-Grid.net here.
“171,000 jobs added in October; jobless rate 7.9%”
-USA TODAY website, November 2, 2012
“Obama Says October Jobs Report Shows ‘Real Progress’”
-ABC News website, November 2, 2012
“October jobs report: The economy is doing better than we thought”
-Washington Post website, November 2, 2012
“Jobs report may help Obama in tight election race”
-Reuters website, November 2, 2012
Back on November 2, 2012, the federal government informed the public that 171,000 jobs were added in October.
And 148,000 jobs were added in September.
As it turns out, those employment numbers were overstated. By 49,000 jobs, no less.
Somehow, I don’t think many readers of this blog are going to be surprised to hear that.
From a Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary released earlier today:
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +148,000 to +132,000, and the change for October was revised from +171,000 to +138,000.
171,000 jobs down to 138,000 in October? That’s tens of thousands of jobs the Obama administration was given credit for creating even though (we now know) they never even existed. I’m sure that 171,000 number helped sway a number of undecided voters over to the Democrats’ camp.
I’ve heard it said before. “Barack Obama is the luckiest U.S. President ever.” And I might agree based on the above if I weren’t also convinced the next four years will be an incredibly-trying time for the nation, much less the White House.
President Obama is going to need all the luck he can get keeping our economy and financial system afloat- among other things.
You can read the entire December BLS jobs report on their website here.
There are two real estate reporters I like to follow on a regular basis. CNBC’s Diana Olick and the Chicago Tribune’s Mary Umberger. Why do I like them so much? Because they don’t hold back on reporting the real conditions of the U.S. and Chicago housing markets. I remember them pretty much telling it as it was as the United States went through that housing bubble and subsequent crash- while many of their colleagues assumed the role of self-appointed real estate cheerleaders even as home sales and prices plummeted.
And these days, I’m detecting ‘irrational exuberance’ again in residential real estate. It’s not just me either. Umberger wrote in last weekend’s Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune:
If the Chicago real estate market were a patient recovering from a lingering, debilitating illness, the doctor might be obliged to set the patient’s over-expectant family straight: Yes, your loved one’s symptoms have eased up, says the MD, but, gee, it’s a little too soon to be training for a marathon.
Those are the kinds of expectations that many Chicago-area homeowners seem to harbor these days, according to Naperville appraiser Alvin “Chip” Wagner, whose recent newsletter to members of the local real estate community sought to address a form of irrational exuberance he’s seeing lately: Yes, the market is better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your home is gaining in value — in fact, some prices might fall further.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
Umberger interviewed Wagner, who had this to say about Chicagoland homeowners being overly-optimistic. From the piece:
Well, absolutely, the market is improving, but not in the area of pricing, which is what homeowners want to know about. In the third quarter, the average sales price throughout the area was $244,203. One year ago, the average was $258,364. That’s about a 5.5 percent decline.
Yet, I go to people’s houses to do appraisals, and (the homeowners’ expectations are) driven by what they see in the media, and they say to me, the market has picked up, and they expect their house is growing in value. They expect to see a 3 to 5 percent growth. I end up having to tell them, your values aren’t appreciating, they may be flat or even declining.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
I don’t like hearing about the housing market being crummy as much as the next person. But what I do like are people being straight with me. Especially journalists.
“And (the homeowners’ expectations are) driven by what they see in the media.”
See what I mean about those cheerleaders? This is why I like straight-shooting reporters like Olick and Umberger. Wish more of their contemporaries could be like them, instead of barfing up a whole lot of nonsense all over my computer screen.
Umberger, Mary. “A reality check on housing market.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Nov. 2012. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-30/classified/ct-mre-1202-umberger-housing-20121130_1_number-of-active-listings-naperville-appraiser-sales-price). 7 Dec. 2012.
I fired up my desktop PC this morning and what did I see? All this exuberance over the latest U.S. employment numbers (146,000 jobs created, 7.7 percent unemployment rate in November).
And then, I head over to the Crain’s Chicago Business website which has this snippet posted on their home page:
Updated 7:54 a.m.
U.S. unemployment rate falls to 4-year low
(AP) — The drop was mainly mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted as unemployed. But stock futures jumped after the report.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
“The drop was mainly mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted as unemployed.”
Way to piss on the Pollyannas’ parade this morning, Crain’s.
And go up a few notches in my book for telling it like it is.
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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