Posts filed under “Federal Reserve”

Pause/Resume Scenario Increasingly Likely

The Markets have reversed on Fed Chair Bernanke’s testimony to the JEC with his "Outlook for the U.S. Economy.".

His speech increases the odds that "One & Done" will finally occur:  the Fed is now more likely to stop at 5.0% than I previously believed.

The money quote:   

"Focusing on the medium-term forecast
horizon is necessary because of the lags with which monetary policy affects the
economy. In my view, data arriving since the last FOMC meeting have not
materially changed that assessment of the risks. In particular, even if in the
Committee’s judgement the risks to its objectives are not entirely balanced, at
some point in the future the Committee may decide to take no action at one or
more meetings in the interest of allowing more time to receive information
relevant to the outlook"

As we previously observed, the Fed Halt is now baked into the cake; Going forward, we need to watch for what we previously viewed as the worst scenario for the markets:  The Fed appeases the markets, halts tightening, and gets behind the inflation curve. After letting inflation get away from it, they subsequently resume tightening, and its a debacle for the markets.

On the scale of hawkish/dovish past Fed Chairs, Bernanke clearly sits near "easy Al" Greenspan end of the spectrum, and far far away from the tough Paul Volcker / William McChesney Martin inflation hawks. So much for that vaunted muscularity we were going to see.

Ben Bernanke is now the Neville Chamberlain of Inflation
Fighters . . .

I think Gold — and most of the commodities — just got a whole lot sexier . . .

Category: Commodities, Economy, Federal Reserve, Inflation

“Every Change of Rate”

“Every Change of Rate” is an utterly hysterical parody of the black & white Police video “Every Breath You Take,” as done by some Columbia Biz School students; Its an amusing take on the Ben Bernanke, the newly appointed Fed Chief. My favorite bit are the lyrics during the second verse: “First you move your…Read More

Category: Federal Reserve, Music

Existing Home Sales Data (California Real Estate: On Sale!)

Sales of existing homes surprised to the upside yesterday. But one data point does not make a trend. This is the first rise (sequential monthly change) after 5 straight months of falling Home Sales. And that’s before we examine the data.

Before you declare the end of the housing slow down, consider:

- Existing Home sales actually slipped vs. last year by -0.7%; The reported gain was over last month’s data;

- the Inventory of unsold homes soared 7 percent in March, hittting an all-time record; There are now 3.19 million existing homes for sale, or  5.5 months’ supply; That’s the largest inventory since July 1998

- Existing homes edged up 0.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
6.92 million units; (we know that seasonally adjusted data is not always accurate)

- Year over year, the Northeast and Midwest gained, while the previously hot housing markets in the South and the West slipped;

- median home prices are still rising, albeit nmore slowly — up 7.4% year over year, to $218,000.

Here’s a data point that has me scratching my head:  Why are there different numbers for the year-over-year changes for seasonally and not seasonally adjusted?  Was this March somehow in a different season than last year’s March? I am perplexed.

Note that data for existing home sales comes from National Association of Realtors, a group that is certainly an interested party; Of course, as a homeowner, investor, and someone with a public bearish tilt for the second half, I’m hardly objective myself (hey, I try). But this oddity — down -0.5% for the not seasonally adjusted year over year versus down -0.7% for the seasonally adjusted year over year — is beyond my comprehension.

So much for the hard data on existing sales; Today, we get New Home Sales. Recall our prior admonishments that monthly New Home Sales Data are unreliable; look instead to a moving average.

Let’s move onto some anecdotal evidence.  A friend writes:

"Flop! Wow, KB running blue light specials in California. Not surprising,
Chico area was rated one of the most overvalued markets in the country. Houses
in the $200k space.  When was the last time you saw that in California? "

 
Oak Knoll Place Live Oak, CA

Oak Knoll Place Slideshow

Here’s the sales pitch:

"Oak Knoll Place in Live Oak is located in a beautiful
community near the majestic Sutter Buttes. With easy access to Highway 99, it is
ideally located for easy access to Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Reno and a wide
variety of recreational opportunities. Yuba City and Marysville are
approximately 10 minutes south, Chico is approximately 35 miles north and the
Gray Lodge Wildlife area is approximately 10 minutes west. Live Oak has a
quaint, small-town atmosphere with many nearby recreational water activities,
including the Feather River, Yuba River and Sacramento River. Prices starting
from the High $200′s.
"

I don’t know Live Oak, but houses like that in California are hard to imgaine . . .

More after the jump.

Sources:
Existing-Home Sales Rise Again in March
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
WASHINGTON (April 25, 2006)
http://www.realtor.org/PublicAffairsWeb.nsf/Pages/MarchEHS06?OpenDocument

Existing Home Sales  data
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
http://www.realtor.org/Research.nsf/files/REL0603EHS.pdf/$FILE/REL0603EHS.pdf

>

Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Federal Reserve, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Real Estate

More evidence: Fed Pause Not Good For Stocks

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Federal Reserve, Investing

Smackdown: Fleckenstein vs Yardeni

Category: Federal Reserve, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Inflation

After Final Discount Rate Hike

Category: Federal Reserve, Inflation, Investing, Markets

Fed Halt Now Baked into the Cake

Category: Federal Reserve, Investing, Markets, Psychology

Fed Minutes

Category: Federal Reserve

One Last Comment on M3

Category: Economy, Federal Reserve, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Psychology

Mortgages, Foreclosures & the Fed

Category: Federal Reserve, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Inflation, Real Estate