Posts filed under “Research”

The U.S. Wealth Barbell

Duly noted in a research piece by Merrill Lynch, the wealth gap continues to widen, poverty grows:

The following article caught our attention on the Wall Street Journal Online, “Millionaire Population Soars – Again.” The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a survey performed by Phoenix Marketing International’s Affluent Market Practice. According to the survey, the number of American households with investible assets of $1 million or more rose 8% in the 12 months ended in June. In total, according to this survey, there are more than 5.55 million US households with investible assets of $1 million or more. The millionaire count has now returned to 2006 levels, but is still below the peak reached in 2007 of 5.97 million.

In stark contrast to the previous article, the Census Bureau released its annual snapshot of American living standards. The Census Bureau found that the fraction of Americans living in poverty rose sharply to 14.3% in 2009, up from 13.2% previously. This is the highest level since 1994. In total, 43.6 million Americans were living in poverty last year. To read more, check out the Wall Street Journal Online article, “Poverty Rate Rises To 14.3%.”

The Census snapshot also indicated that the gap between the best-off and worst-off Americans widened a bit more in 2009, a long-standing trend, but not by much. The top fifth of households accounted for 50.3% of all pre-tax income; the bottom two-fifths got 12%. In 1999, the top fifth claimed 49.4% and the bottom got 12.5% of the income. Have a look at page A1 of the WSJ, “Lost Decade for Family Income.”

I hope to have more on the Census Bureau’s just-released report early next week,  as it’s chock full of good data (as will be today’s release of the Fed’s Flow of Funds).  Suffice to say the news is not good; it is saddening to see the poverty rate on the rise and engulf almost 44 million Americans.

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Research

Refi Madness: The Heat is Frying your Brain (Redux)

It is a very hot August and the heat seems to be getting to people on Wall Street. In Washington the greater heat stems from fears about the impact of the economy and housing on the mid-term elections. As a result, Wall Street is expecting a big “surprise” in the form of a massive GSE…Read More

Category: Credit, Real Estate, Really, really bad calls, Research

TBP “Déjà Vu All Over Again” Post

Warning:  The following post is offered in the spirit of shameless self-promotion. Those who prowl the web and consume all manner of economic research probably saw some things late last week that looked eerily familiar.  Maybe you could place them, maybe you couldn’t.  Perhaps you wondered, “Where have I seen that before?”  Well, in at…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Research

“Recovery” Bypassing Small Businesses

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) survey, and the outlook for small businesses is still not good.  The NFIB counts its membership at about 350,000 small businesses. The overall Optimism Index declined in the month of March to 86.8, roughly the same level it was at…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Markets, Psychology, Research

Exonerating the Shorts

Interesting discussion by the always worth reading Mark Hulbert about a recent research paper on Short Selling. While I agree with the paper’s conclusion, it overlooks two major related issues regarding short selling. Let’s look at a few excerpts first: “Short-selling became particularly controversial during the recent bear market, when many of its practitioners turned…Read More

Category: Research, Short Selling

NBER: Having It Both Ways?

There seems to be growing consensus that the recession ended some time in mid-2009 (June or July), and we recently pointed out that regional St. Louis Fed economists have placed their bets on a July 2009 trough. Now it’s up to the NBER. We know that they weigh a variety of economic indicators, including Employment, Industrial…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Research

The St. Louis Fed has made it official, at least through their lens.  The recession ended in June 2009.  As you read here first in January, late last year the St. Louis Fed discontinued the use of  recession shading (thereby signalling its end) in its graphs as of mid-2009. They have now retooled their Tracking the Recession page to…Read More

Category: Cycles, Economy, Employment, Research

Luskin: Buy Stocks, Buy Citi (11/07) Sell Stocks (3/09)

Invictus is a bulge bracket asset manager with $100+ million AUM. He has no patience for money losers, hacks, partisans pretending to be financial analysts . . .  this is the first in a series of critical looks at analysts, media, economists, financial TV. Feel free to share any thoughts in comments. Here’s Invictus: ~~~…Read More

Category: Analysts, Media, Really, really bad calls, Research

Multibillion-Dollar Push Into Energy Research

> This is actually terrific news: “The Obama administration’s push to solve the nation’s energy problems, a massive federal program that rivals the Manhattan Project, is spurring a once-in-a-generation shift in U.S. science. The government’s multibillion-dollar push into energy research is reinvigorating 17 giant U.S.-funded research facilities, from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory here to…Read More

Category: Energy, Research

Sign Up for David Rosenberg (Merrill Lynch) Research

One of my more favored Wall Street researchers, the former Merrill Lynch North Amercian economist David Rosenberg, has moved on to Gluskin Sheff. Rosie’s new firm is making his research available for free, via email, on a trial basis. He should start publishing after the holiday weekend. You can sign up for what was formerly…Read More

Category: Research