Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Panic

I'm trying to get these blogs posted and I haven't even bought any presents yet! 

Good thing Walmart is going to be open overnight and until noon tomorrow to catch the day-of shopping market:

"Discounts lie ahead for last-minute shoppers" by Megan Woolhouse Globe Staff  December 20, 2015

If you’ve put off holiday shopping until the last minute, you’re in luck.

In the last few days before Christmas, retailers are offering deep discounts to woo shoppers and clear shelves after what has been a lackluster holiday shopping season.


In Massachusetts, sales through mid-December were running only 1.5 percent ahead of last year, compared with a projected increase of 6.5 percent in holiday sales made at the beginning of the season, according to a survey of 3,000 stores, excluding major chains, by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

That is a HUGE MI$CALCULATION that is going to lead to many failed small business (in the midst of the alleged recovery) because the multinational conglomerates were excluded.


State gains 5,900 jobs in November
How rich (or not) is your community?
List of ready land and office space for business shrinks

Shouldn't that have expanded holiday sales?

Jon Hurst, president of the trade group, said his members are still holding out hope that they can catch up in the final, frantic days before Christmas. The Saturday before Christmas — “Super Saturday” in industry parlance — is typically the biggest shopping day of the season, Hurst said, while one-third of all holiday purchases are made in the final week.

What a BS excuse for a failing economic $y$tem that does nothing but shovel wealth upward.

“Most of us do procrastinate some,” said Hurst, who was off work and shopping in Danvers on Friday.

Speak for yourself (although my readers would not likely disagree).

Holiday sales also are running behind projections nationally, according to the National Federation of Retailers in Washington. The trade group projected the season’s sales would rise 3.7 percent from last year; through November, they were up about 3 percent.


Don't worry; I'm sure we will be lied to later regarding how money poured in in the final frantic days.

Analysts blame unseasonably warm temperatures that are hurting apparel sales, lingering concerns about the direction of the economy, and the lack of hot new products that get shoppers revved up and spending.

The real reason is no money, the middle class has been destroyed, and the warm weather should have encouraged spending after the record cold winters the last couple years were blamed for bad sales figures.

Some might not mourn the riots caused by the craze for Cabbage Patch Kids dolls in the 1980s, or the Beanie Baby rampages and Furby fever of the 1990s. But Marshall Cohen, chief retail industry analyst at the NPD Group of Port Washington, N.Y., said “must have” items can drive a holiday shopping season and create a buzz that sends shoppers flocking to stores.

This guy again! The Globe's go-to $ource.

Apart from some Barbie dolls and dollhouses, and certain Star Wars collectibles, Cohen said there haven’t been any new items whipping consumers into a frenzy or sparking the kind of impulse-buying merchants want.

“There’s not a lot of new and exciting merchandise, so there’s no panic setting in,” Cohen said. “Retailers need the consumer nervous, and freaking out that they’re missing out on something.”

And that right there tells you what the propaganda pre$$ and their monied ma$ters think of us. We are nothing but little wallets to be manipulated into a frenzy. The elites of the Globe have just clued you in to how they feel and what they truly think of us all. 

Unseasonably warm temperatures have also tamped down shoppers’ desire to buy sweaters, hats, and coats. About a year ago, the forecast called for 2 inches of snow; this year, it’s temperatures in the 40s and 50s that could rise into the 60s on Christmas Eve.

Sick of the excu$es yet?

Sales of clothing and accessories are down 1.6 percent from a year ago, according to the most recent data from the US Commerce Department. Sales of another staple of holiday gift-giving, electronics and appliances, are down 1.8 percent.

Look at that. Somehow the sales of staples that make up the bulk of Christmas sales are down, but the sales have still grown by 3% we are told. 

Of course, I wouldn't know because I haven't done any shopping. I won't go to the mall because of terrorists, and I avoided my yearly pilgrimage to Main Street because there is no longer free parking downtown. 

Major department stores are responding with big discounts on these and other items. Macy’s, for example, is promoting “After Christmas Prices Now,” advertising up to 65 percent off coats and sweaters. Sears is holding a “Countdown Sale” knocking hundreds of dollars off big-screen televisions. Retailers of all kinds are flooding customers’ e-mail inboxes with coupons, $10 gift cards, and other discounts.

Of course, Macy's and Sears are major chains.

Related: Sears posts $454 million third-quarter loss

Also see:

"A Sears Auto Center employee was killed early Saturday morning in Salem, N.H., when a tire he was working on blew up, authorities said. The Salem Police and Fire Departments responded to a report of a tire explosion at Sears Auto at The Mall at Rockingham Park shortly before 8 a.m. They arrived to find the employee suffering injuries from blunt force trauma to his head, according to a statement released by Salem police spokesman Lieutenant Michael Kelly. The employee, who was identified as 22-year-old Justin Almon of Sandown, N.H., was taken to the Parkland Medical Center in Derry, where he was pronounced dead."

A “tragic accident.” Both blowouts.

At Suphi Furs in Watertown, Lisa Calisir, a manager at the store, said the economy remains a bigger concern to her customers than the weather. Even though the Massachusetts economy is growing strongly, the severe 2008 recession and the lessons of how quickly prosperity can vanish remain fresh in shoppers’ minds, she said. That’s keeping them cautious.

“People are scared to buy expensive things,” she said. “It could be better.”

Softer-than-expected retail sales have produced a bonanza of low prices for consumers, said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Federation of Retailers, an industry group in Washington. Kleinhenz cited an analysis by the US Department of Labor showing that overall, retail prices have fallen about 3 percent from about a year ago.

And yet sales have grown 3% even with an alleged 3% reduction in prices (was that after mark-up or....)?

Several factors have influenced the price drop, including a flood of merchandise that followed the end earlier this year of a long-running labor dispute at California ports that slowed shipments.

Look at them blaming that long ago and resolved situation for the slowdown!

"A Lynnfield trucking company laid off 75 workers, including 40 truck drivers, this past Monday, the company informed state officials. Crystal Motor Express Inc. has seen its business unexpectedly and drastically drop this month, forcing it to suddenly downsize, owners Ronald Masiello and Charles Masiello wrote to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. “Since Dec. 1, 2015, Crystal Motor’s business has dropped precipitously,” the Masiellos wrote. The company lost three accounts in December, which accounted for more than $1.5 million in annual sales revenue. The trucking company was also informed that its bank wouldn’t be extending credit to allow delivery operations into the spring, according to the letter. The job losses are expected to be permanent."

More bad news....

“Lower prices might be bad news for retailers,” Kleinhenz said. “But they are good news for retailers’ customers.”


"Retailers offering deep discounts; Deals better than Black Friday sales" by Anne D’Innocenzio Associated Press  December 24, 2015

NEW YORK — If it seems like the discounts stores are offering are bigger than during last holiday shopping season, that’s because they are. And some of the best deals are happening now, but the discounting wars are particularly being waged online in the final days before Christmas.

Once again my divi$ive, war-promoting, agenda-pu$hing paper frames the i$$ue in terms of war. 

As for the online part, that means all the ancillary and impulse spending at restaurants, gas stations, and brick-and-mortar stores has evaporated. That's why the holiday sales figures are so bad.

The late discounting has been good for some last-minute shoppers. Kristin Evon of Ann Arbor, Mich., says she shops for Christmas gifts all year and had been done for six months. But she was out looking for bargains Sunday.... 

I didn't see any.



Should have started shopping on Monday:

"Cyber Monday sales on track to set record; Some shoppers experience delays, find items out of stock" by Sarah Halzack Washington Post   December 01, 2015

WASHINGTON — In some ways, it seems as though Cyber Monday should have been no big deal for e-commerce this year.

Smartphones have put the Internet in our pockets, meaning there’s less need to wait until Monday morning when people return to their office computers to scope out the digital deals.

Plus, holiday shoppers have already been on a digital spending tear for several days: 103 million people shopped online between Thanksgiving and Sunday, and consumers spent a record $8.03 billion online during that time, a 17 percent increase over last year.

And yet online sales Monday were on pace for a record-breaking day, with forecasters from Adobe projecting that $3 billion would be spent online before the deals bonanza was over. That would be the most money ever spent online in a single day, according to Adobe, which makes the software used by many retailers.

Even as retailers were ringing up big online sales, the day provided ample evidence that some of them still have a long way to go to adapt to an era when more and more people are shopping from their smartphones and tablets.

Shoppers visiting Target’s website, for example, experienced delays Monday morning. Amid a crush of traffic, the retailer said it had to resort to metering activity on its site, prompting frustrated shoppers to get a message advising them to ‘‘please hold tight.’’


Meanwhile, Adobe reported that as of 10 a.m., 15 out of 100 product views across the e-commerce landscape were showing an item that was out of stock. That’s about 2.5 times the normal rate, the company said, and it’s not good news that so many items were unavailable so early on in a sale.


That probably means some shoppers who hit the Internet later in the day came up empty, especially if they were shopping for certain in-demand toys like ‘‘Star Wars’’ items and electronics.


The wonderful television advertisements never mention that (unless it's in the fine print)!

Retailers tried to design their sales this year with an eye toward changing shopping habits. Walmart, for example, started its Cyber Monday sale at 8 p.m. on Sunday after noticing in previous years that many shoppers started hunting for the deals around that time., meanwhile, started its blitz of more than 30,000 ‘‘lightning deals’’ way back on Nov. 20, likely a nod to the fact that shoppers are looking for deals long before Cyber Monday — or even Black Friday — arrives.

Black Friday no big deal now.

Cyber Monday’s traffic and purchasing patterns underscored the extent to which the retail wars are increasingly being fought on the smallest of screens.

Yes, the mobile payment wars are heating up.

 I don't like anything I'm seeing on Bo$ton Globe $helves.

Adobe reported that some 53 percent of traffic and 32 percent of online sales came from a mobile device. Most of that traffic was from smartphones, with a significantly smaller share coming from tablets.

Consultancy Kurt Salmon, which works with retailers on supply chain issues, said it has found that some large retailers had trouble filling seasonal jobs in their online distribution centers this holiday season.

Yeah, sure they did.

That could suggest troubles ahead handling the deluge of orders.

BULL! My friend's orders came the very next day! No one is busy anywhere!! They are waiting for the orders to print! 

I should know; I've worked shipping and warehousing most of my life.

As online sales surged on Cyber Monday, capping a long holiday weekend, it appears that there was less action in brick-and-mortar stores.

See: "Sales declined 10 percent over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend"

Yeah, but did you see who was out there shopping?

Olivia Culpo, Tim Tebow reportedly break up
Amy Schumer has a Tom Brady fantasy
Tom Brady offers a ‘slap on the butt’ for charity
Tom Brady talks brands with Women’s Wear Daily

Ben Affleck, Siena Miller smooch for ‘Live by Night’
Ben Affleck unmasked in ‘Batman v Superman’ clip

Taylor Swift, Apple cut an exclusive deal

Jerry Seinfeld to play NYC once a month in 2016

Matt Damon to return to Cambridge for MIT commencement speech

If I see anyone else in my journeys I'll be sure to update.

According to RetailNext, an in-store analytics provider, traffic to physical stores was flat and sales were down 1.5 percent over the long weekend.

The strong online sales growth over the holiday weekend, did not appear to give investors confidence that retailers were in for an especially merry Christmas.

The stocks of many major chains, including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target, and Costco were down on Monday.


"Consumer discretionary stocks were among the biggest decliners, including big department stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walmart, and Target. Early data from the first holiday shopping weekend showed shoppers were not going to stores as much as last year. Investment bank analysts observed the department stores having to do deep discounting to attract shoppers to their stores. But data from research firms like ChannelAdvisor showed strong growth in sales online, which could suggest consumers decided to spend online instead of in brick-and-mortar shops. More broadly, investors are also focused on this week’s European Central Bank meeting at which it is widely expected to give the region’s economy another dose of stimulus."

Yeah, printing more money is always the answer. 

European stimulus measures more modest than expected
European stimulus plan disappoints
Fed passes limits on how it can issue emergency loans during crises

Really no longer worth talking about, sorry. 


Wish I had more time....

"Wayfair stock spikes amid increased sales" by Megan Woolhouse Globe Staff  December 02, 2015

On Black Friday, traditionally a day of in-store sale shopping, Wayfair's sale’s quadrupled from Black Friday in 2014, the biggest gain among retailers for that day, according to Slice Intelligence, which tracks online consumer spending. Slice attributed Wayfair's huge gains to heavy discounts and free shipping for orders greater than $49.

Wednesday morning, continued to offer deals of up to 80 percent off for items during what it termed the “Cyber Week Blowout.”

First Black Friday Week and now Cyber Monday Week. 

Analysts said it’s a common strategy for online retailer to offer big discounts early in the holiday season to attract customers and buzz. The question for Wayfair and other e-tailers is whether they can maintain momentum once the discounts shrink.

Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, an e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research, a market research firm in Cambridge, said Wayfair's “secret sauce” has been offering affordable versions of the designs people see on popular home design and decor websites, but she said the surge in sales over the long Thanksgiving weekend shows that the company may also be benefiting from consumers increased comfort levels buying furniture and big-ticket items online and sight unseen....

Meaning they don't spend the money on restaurants, gas, and all the pother ancillary and impulsive things on which business models have counted.


Did you see the mayor there?

"While Boston is one of the most expensive places in the country to live, when it comes to holiday spending, we’re roughly in the middle of the pack nationwide. At the bottom of the list is...." 

What do you mean property tax revenues are not keeping pace with municipal costs and foreclosures are outpacing last year’s in this age of economic recovery and revitalization?

OMG, I've got to get to the mall!

"Protesters block access to Minneapolis airport; Black Lives Matter action prompts security shutdown" by Kyle Potter Associated Press  December 24, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — Protesters blocked access to a terminal and caused significant holiday traffic delays at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Wednesday during a Black Lives Matter rally that also briefly shut down part of the nation’s largest mall.

All the more reason not to go to a mall. Ever.

Access to one of two terminals was closed after more than 100 protesters gathered inside and blocked roads leading to the airport, prompting two security checkpoints to shut down for about 45 minutes, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said. He said the protest caused some flight delays but no cancellations.

Hoping to draw attention to a recent police shooting of a black man in Minneapolis, protesters took a light-rail train to the airport from the Mall of America, where hundreds of demonstrators initially gathered on one of the year’s busiest shopping days.

‘‘The mall was a decoy,’’ said Black Lives Matter organizer Miski Noor, who protested at the airport. ‘‘I think it was really effective.’’

RelatedMall of America seeks to bar black activist rally 

I'm tired of agenda-pushing, controlled opposition activists.

Governor Mark Dayton said Wednesday afternoon that the moving protest created a ‘‘very, very dangerous situation.’’

Dayton questioned the need for such a demonstration, noting that federal and state investigations were ongoing into the death of Jamar Clark, who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police responding to an assault complaint. The governor said releasing video of officers’ altercation with Clark, as demanded by protesters, could jeopardize the investigations. 

That got Rahm in trouble, although the pressure seems to have eased.


"In a separate development Monday, a court in Chicago set bond at $1.5 million for a white police officer charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black teenager last year. Also Monday, federal authorities said an online threat that led the University of Chicago to cancel classes during the day targeted whites and was motivated by the Chicago teenager’s shooting. Jabari R. Dean, 21, of Chicago, threatened to kill 16 white male students or staff at the school on Chicago’s South Side, according to the criminal complaint. Dean, who is black, was arrested Monday morning. He did not enter a plea later in the day on a charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce in court."

Another mind-manipulating psy-op distraction, and somehow white lives don't matter as much based on the amount of coverage!

About 500 protesters briefly gathered at the Mall of America early Wednesday afternoon before abruptly walking out while chanting: ‘‘What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!’’ Some protesters went to a nearby light-rail train station that allowed quick access to the airport a few miles away. 

I'm sick of that empty slogan.

Dozens of stores temporarily closed their gates, kiosks were covered, and the mall Santa even left his sleigh shortly before protesters gathered.

Now they have gone TOO FAR!

Numerous signs were posted saying no protests were allowed, including a long message on a screen in a central rotunda between two Christmas trees.

A similar demonstration at the Mall of America last December drew hundreds of protesters angry over the absence of charges following the police killings of unarmed black men in New York City and Ferguson, Mo. Stores in the mall had to close, and dozens of people were arrested.

At least Ferguson has been fixed.

The massive retail center in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington houses an amusement park and more than 500 shops spread across four floors, attracting shoppers from around the globe.

Too crowded here; let's go somewhere else.

Neither mall officials nor Bloomington police said what security measures were put in place to prepare, though special event staff searched bags at every mall entrance before the rally. Security guards cordoned off parts of the central rotunda, and officers from several cities patrolled inside.

Officials said about 80 stores in the mall were closed for roughly an hour as officers escorted protesters off the property. The mall had sought a court order blocking the planned protest. A judge on Tuesday barred three organizers from attending the demonstration but said she didn’t have the power to block unidentified protesters from showing up.

So much for the Right to Assemble.

Kandace Montgomery, one of three organizers barred by the judge’s order, said the group wasn’t deterred. Before the protests, she had said the retail mecca was the perfect venue for the demonstration to pressure authorities involved in the investigation of Clark’s death to release video footage.

‘‘When you disrupt their flow of capital . . . they actually start paying attention,’’ she said. ‘‘That’s the only way that they’ll hear us.’’

She i$ right about that.



Protests erupt after black man shot by police in Minn.

"Witnesses to the shooting early Sunday said the man was handcuffed when he was shot, sparking protests and an overnight encampment outside a police precinct on the city’s north side."

Occupy Minneapolis?

Official: Minn. police won’t release videos of shooting
To restore trust, make police accountable in Minneapolis

Not releasing the video doesn't help; however, when the trust is already gone.... you don't get it back. Not in these times. Not after so many lies for so long.

"Amid unrest, US will investigate Minn. killing" by Greg Moore Associated Press  November 23, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — Justice Department attorneys opened an investigation Sunday into the killing of a black man that has prompted protests and calls for the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting to be prosecuted. 

That way the video can be kept secret.

A key issue during their visit will be whether authorities should release to the public videos of the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark a week ago.

Federal and state authorities have resisted releasing the footage — from an ambulance, mobile police camera, public housing cameras, and people’s cellphones — because they said it doesn’t show the full incident and making the recordings public would compromise their investigations.

The head of the Minneapolis police union has said Clark was shot after reaching for an officer’s gun. Protesters have said they don’t believe that version of events.

Governor Mark Dayton said Saturday that he had asked Clark’s family and representatives of the Black Lives Matter group protesting his death to meet with the federal government lawyers.

“I will urge that the tapes be provided to the family and released to the public, as soon as doing so will not jeopardize the Department of Justice’s investigation,” Dayton said after meeting with the family and leaders of the protesters.

Clark’s funeral will be held Wednesday at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in north Minneapolis, said his cousin, Kenya McKnight. A visitation will be held at the church before the funeral, and both will be open to the public, McKnight said.

McKnight added that Clark’s family hopes there are no rallies on the day of the funeral. She said the family “does not want it to be political.”

Related: "Meanwhile in Minneapolis, hundreds of people filled a church to pay their respects to a man whose death in an unrelated confrontation with police sparked more than a week of ongoing protests."

Also seeAt funeral for slain Minneapolis man, vow to keep protesting

F*** what the family wants!

Dozens of demonstrators huddled around bonfires early Sunday in frigid temperatures at an encampment outside a Minneapolis police station and said they will not disband until their demands are met.

I expected the cops to wade in and start clearing like they did the Occupy Wall Street crowd. That they didn't means.... sigh. 

Btw, those frigid temps were back in November!

Minneapolis civil rights activist Mel Reeves said the primary goal of the protests is to see the officers involved in the death of Clark prosecuted based on statements of people who say they saw the shooting. He said the officers should face charges and “go through the same procedures that we do. We think they’re guilty, but let the court decide.”

Both officers involved in the shooting, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, have been placed on standard administrative leave.

Police have said the officers were responding to an assault call and found the 24-year-old Clark interfering with paramedics. Authorities say there was a struggle.

Some witnesses say they saw him handcuffed at the time of the shooting, a claim police have disputed.


Also see3 held after shooting at Minneapolis protest


"Attorneys for three men accused in a shooting that wounded five black men during a protest outside of a Minneapolis police precinct denied Tuesday that their clients are racist and downplayed evidence. The north Minneapolis precinct has been the site of protests headed by the local Black Lives Matter group since 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot in a Nov. 15 confrontation with police. Attorneys for two men, Daniel Macey, 26, of Pine City, and Joseph Backman, 27, of Eagan, said their clients aren’t white supremacists. Macey is Asian and the other defendants are white."

Who benefits from all the racial division being stirred up in the agenda-pu$hing pre$$, be it real or otherwise?

Time to move like a deer and get out of that mall:

"2 dozen deer killed on opening day of Blue Hills hunt" by Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff  November 30, 2015

MILTON — Animal rights activists came to the reservation, armed not with shotguns, but with bullhorns and with candles they lit Monday afternoon, in solemn protest of the hunt, which they described as a slaughter of innocent creatures.

Despite their pleas, the hunt went off as planned, and protesters questioned the validity of a 2013 report commissioned by state Senator Brian A. Joyce, saying the harsh winter earlier this year could have naturally reduced the deer population, making the hunt unnecessary.

Ingrid Avalos, a rheumatologist in Boston, said the departments of conservation and of fish and game shrugged off the questions of animal rights activists while state officials weighed the question of whether to hold the hunt.

The protesters, who call themselves Friends of Blue Hills Deer, seek nonviolent methods of reducing the deer population or letting nature take care of itself.

LOOK AT THIS! The war paper promoting a nonviolent group! Will miracles never cease!?

Catherine Gore, an animal rights activist from the North Shore, said there was too much violence in the world for the state to encourage killing of any kind.


That is what the government does best!

“Humans brought these invasive species,” Gore said of the vegetation and animals that are also causing problems in the reservation. “And we shouldn’t take it out on the deer because we caused the plants to be there.”

But Michael Raczkowski, a hunter from Medford, said he had no goals for the hunt besides doing his part for the state.

There were no reported instances of incidental damage during the hunt, although all trails had remained open to the public.

Dane Miller, an animal rights activist from Winthrop, said he happened to be walking on the trails Monday morning. At about 11 a.m., Miller said, he heard gunshots ringing above the blaring music in his headphones.

A hunter appeared, Miller said, and invited him to view, photograph, and take video of his latest kill — unaware Miller was an activist.

Miller said it was the first time he had seen a slain animal, and it was just as traumatic as he imagined it would be.

Try killing one.


Related"Erin Dart, 29, and Jonathan DiNapoli, 33, were making noise to distract hunters, said David Traub, spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey. “Their intent was to disturb and disrupt the hunting activity,” Traub said."

The two-day death total was 41, and the finally tally was 64 deer killed during a 4-day hunt and needless slaughter of innocent creatures.

Also seeBurned body found near Milton homeless camp 

Oh, deer, not as much of a protest for the human.

Almost missed this:

"Hunters asked to be on lookout for missing Avon man" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  November 30, 2015

Law enforcement officials are asking hunters who have taken to the Blue Hills Reservation to reduce the deer population to keep an eye out for clues to a man who disappeared in 2014 and is presumed dead.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey and the Avon and State Police asked for hunters’ help finding James Robertson, who was last seen by his family on New Year’s Day last year when he left his Avon home with two men dressed as constables. The men had told Robertson that he was needed in Dedham for a surprise drug test.

He never came back.

Four men have been charged in connection with Robertson’s disappearance, but his body was never found.

Morrissey said his office isn’t confining its search to the Blue Hills area.

“Our information is that he may be found in a wooded area. We know he was taken from Avon, and believe at some point he was then in Canton,” said Morrissey. “Though a hunter would naturally report seeing human remains, they might not think to report seeing a red or maroon sweatshirt or stop at the sight of a pair of jeans,”

He said hunters across Massachusetts can serve as a valuable resource in these investigations.

“We are asking for the hunting community’s help,” said Morrissey....

Why not let the dogs loose? You can always pick him up later.


Time to check the wallet:

Unemployment claims rise slightly

Factory orders rose in Oct., ending streak of declines

"US factory activity fell in November; First decline in 3 years" by Josh Boak Associated Press  December 01, 2015


WASHINGTON — US factory activity plummeted last month to the lowest level in more than six years, with a stronger dollar and low oil prices cutting new orders and hurting production.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its index of factory activity in November dropped to 48.6 from 50.1 in October. Any reading below 50 signals contraction and the index has tumbled below that critical level for the first time since November 2012.

It now rests at its lowest level since June 2009, a worrisome sign as Federal Reserve officials will consider raising short-term interest rates this month on the understanding that the economy has sufficiently healed from the Great Recession.

‘‘The US manufacturing sector continues to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, with ‘fortune’ being that of the strong US dollar, the oil and gas industry, and soft global growth,’’ said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

What is outrageous is this constant $hit shovel.

US manufacturers fell into a rut in 2015. A global economic slowdown and a rising dollar have crimped exports, while lower oil prices have led energy firms to slash their orders for steel pipe and other equipment for drilling. Those pressures have steadily curbed growth in factory activity this year and have now pushed the manufacturing sector into contraction.

Still, the report showed a rebound in hiring as its employment measure improved. Among the sectors that shrank were apparel, plastics and rubber, machinery, primary metals, petroleum and coal, electrical equipment, and computer and electronic products.

The manufacturing report still suggests that the broader economy is growing, even if manufacturing has become a drag. Any reading above 43.1 in the index is associated with the overall economy expanding.

‘‘We stepped into a pothole here,’’ said Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing business survey committee. He said the fundamentals should enable a rebound in the coming months rather than a prolonged decline.

Commodity prices have dropped sharply over the past 13 months in the survey. The cheaper costs have improved profit margins for manufacturers, but continued declines would point to less demand and fewer sales.

This economy isn't in recovery. In fact, the plethora of mergers lately suggest its in its death throes.

US manufacturers have been squeezed this year as a strong dollar and weak economies in China and other key foreign markets have cut into exports.

A separate measure released Tuesday found that Chinese manufacturing has slipped to its worst level in more than three years.

China’s manufacturing index, based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, slipped for the fourth straight month despite stimulus efforts to support growth.

Because of less economic growth worldwide, the dollar has appreciated nearly 14 percent against a grouping of major currencies from a year ago. The increase has left manufacturers at a disadvantage. US goods have become more expensive overseas, while lowering prices for imported goods that compete against American products. China has been stuck in a slowdown, as has Brazil. Europe — a major trade partner — remains economically fragile, while Japan has sunk into recession and Canada slipped into a downturn for part of this year.

Companies trimmed their stockpiles of goods between July and September, the government said last week. That cut economic growth during those three months at an annualized rate of 0.6 percentage points, even though overall growth advanced 2.1 percent.

That was the report that told us they were restocking shelves at a faster pace than the government has first estimated.... sigh.

Despite the dismal outlook from the Institute for Supply Management report, there is evidence that some manufacturers are adjusting to these challenging conditions.

The Fed reported that US manufacturing output rose in October for the first time in three months as steel mills, auto plants, and computer factories became busier.


Who cares what the Fed says anymore?

"Janet Yellen signals confidence in economy ahead of rate decision" by Martin Crutsinger Associated Press  December 02, 2015

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday indicated that the US economy is on track for an interest rate hike this month, but she said the Fed will need to review incoming data before making a final decision.

Yellen gave an upbeat assessment of the economy’s progress since the Fed’s last meeting in October, describing it as in line with its expectations for the labor market and inflation.

It's a $elf-$erving assessment.

But she added that policymakers need to be cautious in deciding when to start raising rates given that the Fed doesn’t have much room to cut them if the economy begins to falter.

Yellen’s comments in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington came two weeks before the Fed’s final meeting of the year on Dec. 15-16. The central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. The Fed’s benchmark rate has been at a record low near zero for the past seven years.

They did. They had to. House of cards is collapsing.

Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics, said Yellen was ‘‘quite explicit in making the case’’ for a December rate hike.

In her speech, Yellen said that the economy has recovered ‘‘substantially’’ since the Great Recession of 2007-2009, and she expressed confidence that it will continue growing at a pace strong enough in coming months to further boost the labor market.

‘‘When the (Fed’s policy committee) begins to normalize the stance of policy, doing so will be a testament . . . to how far our economy has come in recovering from the effects of the financial crisis and the Great Recession,’’ Yellen said.

While the unemployment rate fell in October to a seven-year low of 5 percent, Yellen said she did not believe the labor market was at ‘‘full employment’’ yet because there are still too many discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job. Wage growth is also weaker than it should be, and too many people who want full-time work can only find part-time jobs, she said.

She knows about me?

‘‘I anticipate continued economic growth at a moderate pace that will be sufficient to generate additional increases in employment, further reductions in the remaining margins of labor market slack,’’ Yellen said.

In addition to her Wednesday speech, Yellen is scheduled to testify on the economy before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee on Thursday....

Related: "Pressed by Democrats for any lingering hesitations, Yellen said, but she added that the impact of any single economic report was limited, and that an accumulation of evidence suggested that the economy had gained strength."

As I'm losing mine.


I'm told it is the price of oil and rising interest rates that drove the decision to close the Andover facility and lay off 80 workers even as home sales and consumer spending boost the  economic picture and more jobs added in November than forecast.

"US adds 211,000 jobs in Nov., jobless rate steady at 5%" by Nelson D. Schwartz New York Times   December 04, 2015

NEW YORK — Consider it a done deal.

US employers expanded their payrolls at a robust pace in November, the government reported Friday, all but guaranteeing policymakers at the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade when they meet later this month.

In addition to 211,000 new hires last month — a bit more than Wall Street had expected — the Labor Department also revised upward its earlier estimate of job creation in September and October by a total of 26,000.

Folks, I hate to be the one to break it to you but you are being con$tantly lied to by this government.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5 percent.

The labor market strength evident in the November data removes the last major uncertainty before the Fed decision.

“This is a green light from our perspective,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors.

Friday’s report echoes other positive data on job openings, new weekly claims for unemployment benefits, and private payroll surveys, Orlando added.

“This is a good number for liftoff,” he said, referring to the expected move by the central bank, which has held rates near zero since Dec. 2008.

Over all, the Labor Department data painted a picture of an economy that is growing steadily and creating jobs at a healthy pace, even as wage gains remain subdued and many Americans are still stuck on the sidelines of the recovery.

With an average monthly payroll increase of 210,000 so far this year, the 211,000 gain in November — though still subject to revision — has a metronome-like element of consistency.

It is also near the average monthly increase of 199,000 in 2013 and 260,000 in 2014.

“For a long time, I’ve thought the labor market was in pretty good shape, and this just confirms that,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

After the release of the jobs report, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Patrick Harker, added his voice to the chorus of Fed officials who now say it is time for the central bank to raise interest rates.

“Raising rates this year will, in my view, serve to reduce monetary policy uncertainty and to keep the economy on track for sustained growth with price stability,” Harker said at a Fed conference in Philadelphia.

Still, even after more than six years of economic recovery from the devastating financial crisis, the labor market is still well below its pre-recession levels and pockets of economic weakness remain.

At 62.5 percent, the proportion of Americans in the labor force remains near multidecade lows. The jobless rate for African-Americans rose by 0.2 percentage points in November to 9.4 percent, more than twice the 4.3 percent level for white Americans.

Besides the tempo of hiring and the unemployment rate, Fed policymakers have been paying close attention to the pace of wage increases. In November, the government said wages rose by 0.2 percent, leaving the 12-month change in average hourly earnings at 2.3 percent higher.

Despite steady hiring gains and a falling unemployment rate, in recent years wage growth has barely advanced faster than inflation.


RelatedU.S. stocks rally as jobs report boosts confidence in economy

"Stocks started off December on a strong note, helped by improving economic data from Japan and Europe as well as hopes that the European Central Bank will expand its stimulus program. Trading remained relatively quiet ahead of the release later this week of the US government’s monthly jobs survey and a Federal Reserve meeting later this month. Financial stocks were among the biggest gainers, helped by the prospect of higher interest rates. Banks are more profitable when interest rates rise because they can charge more to lend. JPMorgan Chase rose 93 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $67.61. Goldman Sachs rose $3.05, or 1.6 percent, to $193.07 and Bank of America rose 38 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $17.81. Investors are keyed into both the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve this month. Policy decisions from both central banks will be important in determining the fate of the market in the last month of 2015. In the United States, most of the focus will be on the November jobs report, to be released Friday. Expectations are high. Economists expect that US employers added 271,000 jobs last month, according to FactSet." 

The joke is on us!

"Stocks fell for a second day on Tuesday following a wave of selling abroad on fears that a slump in commodity prices was far from over. The selling began in Asia on disappointing trade figures from China — customs data showed exports by the world’s second-largest economy contracted 6.8 percent in November, while imports fell 8.7 percent — then spread to Europe. Stock indexes in Germany, France, and Britain dropped more than 1 percent. In the United States, stocks fell sharply in the morning but later made back much of the losses. Still, the selling was broad, with nine of the 10 S&P 500 sectors falling. Suppliers of raw materials fell the most, 1.9 percent. Energy companies dropped 1.5 percent. Oil, a big focus for investors, slid again. After dropping for 1½ years, US benchmark crude costs just $37.51 a barrel, near a seven-year low. Chipotle fell 1.7 percent on reports 80 Boston College students were sick after eating at one of the company’s restaurants. The stock is down 21 percent in 2015 as the chain struggles with the fallout from an earlier E. coli outbreak. The company said it believes the Boston College cases are due to the norovirus, not E. coli."

I'm afraid to eat out now.

Market slips as tech stocks slump
Stocks post first gain in four days

"Ben Inker and Jeremy Grantham, the notorious bears at the Boston investment firm Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co., in their new quarterly letter heap doubt on whether the US bull market can last much longer. For a decade, Inker writes, the United States has been outperforming, especially compared with lackluster emerging markets. But he pokes holes in the notion that the United States is “special,’’ its stocks inherently superior even as they grow more pricey. Grantham (left), meanwhile, a famous and wealthy environmental philanthropist, hammers away at investors’ blind preference for good news. He argues that this bias can lead down dangerous paths, whether in stock investing, understanding of climate change science, and even some Americans’ notion that the United States is superior to France in all things. Citing federal and international statistics, Grantham says France’s median hourly wage has risen 180 percent in 45 years; Japan’s is up 140 percent, while Britain’s has risen 60 percent. But the US median wage has been “dead flat for 45 years.”

Everyone in the know $ees what has happened and what is coming, and yet I still get slop shoveled at me by the corporate pre$$ and Bo$ton Globe as Harvard and MIT stake their claims for world economic dominance and beyond.

"IMF elevates China’s currency; Renminbi among the world’s top five" by Keith Bradsher New York Times   December 01, 2015

HONG KONG — The International Monetary Fund on Monday designated the Chinese renminbi as one of the world’s elite currencies, a major milestone that underscores the country’s rising financial and economic heft.

The decision will help pave the way for broader use of the renminbi in trade and finance, securing China’s standing as a global economic power. Just four other currencies — the dollar, the euro, the pound, and the yen — have the IMF designation.

They are all in together despite all the tension!

But joining this group also introduces new uncertainty into China’s economy and financial system, at a time when the country’s growth is already slowing. To meet the IMF requirement, China was forced to give up some of its tight control over the currency, which could inject fresh volatility into the economy.

The IMF designation, an accounting unit known as the special drawing rights, bestows global importance.

Means the world is moving away from the dollar.

Many central banks follow this benchmark in building their reserves, which countries hold to help protect their economies in times of trouble. By adding the renminbi to this group, the IMF effectively considers a currency to be safe and reliable.

It is a “recognition of the progress that the Chinese authorities have made in the past years in reforming China’s monetary and financial systems,” Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, said in a statement. “The continuation and deepening of these efforts will bring about a more robust international monetary and financial system, which in turn will support the growth and stability of China and the global economy.”

It is also a point of pride for Beijing, which made the IMF designation one of its highest economic policy priorities. The renminbi’s new status “will improve the international monetary system and safeguard global financial stability,” President Xi Jinping of China said in mid-November.

The IMF decision also says a lot about the waning influence of Europe. In assessing the group of currencies, the fund put a greater emphasis on the different currencies’ roles in international finance. Although the dollar still dominates in trade, the renminbi is gaining ground on the euro.

Besides the symbolic weight it carries, the IMF label brings specific benefits. China, for example, will gain more influence in international bailouts denominated in the fund’s accounting unit, like Greece’s debt deal.

While the renminbi may gain favor internationally, the IMF designation doesn’t mean that China’s economic overhaul is complete. China still maintains a heavy hand over the country’s financial system. The country also falls short in legal protections, with the Communist Party continuing to play a strong role in deciding court cases.

Such issues could limit the overall appeal of the renminbi.

“It is a historic moment in international finance for an emerging market economy, with a per-capita income barely a quarter that of other reserve currency economies, to be anointed as the issuer of one of the world’s major reserve currencies,” said Eswar Prasad, a former head of the IMF’s China division who is now the Tolani senior professor of trade policy at Cornell University. But “the most likely scenario is that the renminbi will erode but not seriously rival the dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency.”

The changing currency dynamics also create new geopolitical concerns.

As the renminbi becomes more deeply woven into the global economy, it undermines the ability of the West to impose financial sanctions on countries accused of human rights abuses and other violations, as in the case of Sudan and North Korea. Such countries can increasingly do transactions in renminbi.

China contends that it is crucial to respect nations’ sovereignty and that leaders should be allowed to set policy without fearing international criticism or intervention. China remains a close business and financial partner of Sudan and North Korea, even inviting the president of Sudan to a recent military parade in Beijing.

“As the renminbi rises, countries will have more choices about where they do their banking — and how to potentially circumvent sanctions,” said Christopher Brummer, a Georgetown University law professor specializing in currencies.

In the months before the IMF decision, China took action to make sure that the renminbi was more widely embraced. China did so partly to meet the IMF’s rule that a currency must be “freely usable” before it can be included in this benchmark.

China and Britain have sold renminbi-denominated sovereign bonds for the first time in London, which has emerged as Europe’s hub for the currency. Even Hungary has announced plans to issue its own renminbi-denominated bonds as well, while the Ceinex exchange in Frankfurt has begun trading funds in November based on renminbi bonds. Preparations began to trade renminbi-denominated oil contracts in Shanghai, where copper and aluminum contracts are already sold.

Most important, China began changing the way it sets the value of the renminbi each morning, allowing market forces to play a bigger role. To do so, it abruptly devalued the currency.

The entry itself into the special drawing right, or SDR, is mainly symbolic. But such broader moves like greater financial transparency and easier trading — part of the process to meet the IMF requirements — will affect the renminbi’s use.

“There’s this obsession with the SDR, and it’s completely out of proportion to its economic impact, which is likely to be trivial,” said Randall Kroszner, a former Federal Reserve Board governor who is now an economics professor at the University of Chicago. “It may be that in the drive to get into the SDR, they may make changes that make the renminbi more attractive for international market participants.”


RelatedThe Global Economic Reset Has Begun

Least the movies are going strong:

"The ‘‘Hunger Games’’ finale beat the holiday horror comedy ‘‘Krampus’’ to maintain its top spot at the North American box office for the third week running. The Jennifer Lawrence-led film took in $18.6 million, bringing its domestic total to $227 million, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. ‘‘Krampus,’’ the anti-Santa thriller from Universal, was the only film to debut in the top 10 this week, taking in $16 million." 

What sickening slop Hollywood is trawling out these days.

"The movie industry braced for the coming storm of ‘‘The Force Awakens’’ in a quiet weekend at the box office where ‘‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2’’ notched its fourth straight week atop the box office and Ron Howard’s whaling tale ‘‘In the Heart of the Sea’’ capsized. With ‘‘The Force Awakens’’ lurking, few studios wanted to push out a new release ahead of the expected box-office behemoth. That left the final chapter of Lionsgate’s ‘‘Hunger Games’’ saga to remain No. 1 with $11.3 million according to studio estimates Sunday, bringing its domestic total to $245 million. ‘‘In the Heart of the Sea,’’ starring Chris Hemsworth, was the only major new wide release to test the pre-“Star Wars’’ waters. But hopes for the Warner Bros. film sank with an estimated $11 million despite a production budget near $100 million. The low-key weekend allowed Pixar’s ‘‘The Good Dinosaur’’ to take third place with $10.5 million in its third week. Ryan Coogler’s acclaimed ‘‘Rocky’’ sequel ‘‘Creed’’ followed with $10.1 million in its third week. In limited release, Adam McKay’s comic rendering of the economic collapse, ‘‘The Big Short,’’ opened strongly with $720,000 in eight theaters."

"To say that the force is strong with this one is an understatement. ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ brought in a galactic $238 million over the weekend, making it the biggest North American debut of all time according to studio estimates Sunday. The Walt Disney Co. film’s earnings destroy the previous opening record set by Universal’s ‘‘Jurassic World,’’ which drew $208.8 million this summer. This is just the latest in a laundry list of records set by J.J. Abrams’s film, the seventh in the franchise, which had analysts anticipating a debut anywhere from $150 million to $300 million. The ‘‘X-factor’’ was quality. While ‘‘The Force Awakens’’ drew enormous pre-sales, the film was kept under lockdown from the press and critics until mere days before it was released to the public. Reviews turned out to be stellar (95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), as did early audience reaction (an A CinemaScore). ‘‘The enthusiasm has really turned into a cultural event,’’ said Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president of theatrical distribution. Almost a galaxy away, Fox’s animated ‘‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip’’ came in second with $14.4 million. In third place, the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy ‘‘Sisters’’ earned an estimated $13.4 million out of the gates."

I still haven't seen it (the Globe likes it as it disses my trilogy and Christensen), and it looks like Ron Howard's effort was a real dud. 

Speaking of duds:

Boston film critics honor ‘Spotlight’ movie
Boston Globe introduces $100,000 ‘Spotlight’ fellowship

They didn't even make $5 million in box office, but they did receive tax credits for it.

Time to pick up the packages I ordered:

"Boston councilor proposes ‘safe spaces’ for online purchases" by Alexandra Koktsidis Globe Correspondent  December 08, 2015

City Councilor Matt O'Malley is offering a resolution to establish safe spaces in Boston where people could receive goods they purchase online.

E-commerce exchange zones, as they’d be called, would provide “a safe, well-lit and neutral location” for completing transactions made on Craigslist and other websites, at little cost to the city, according to the plan. O'Malley will offer the resolution at a council meeting Wednesday.

He said Police Commissioner William B. Evans supports the proposal.

“People can make any arrangements they could be comfortable with,” O’Malley said. “This is an opportunity for them to take advantage of a safe space.”

The resolution notes that people can feel vulnerable meeting a stranger to pick up a purchase and that designated safe spaces could include police stations, lobbies, and other sites that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In July, police in the town of Georgetown designated two “Online Safe Zones” outside department headquarters. Similar programs exist in several states across the country.



Group allows Canada, Mexico to impose tariffs on US
Bernanke, others join PIMCO advisory board
With new sponsors, Roxbury Innovation Center gets rolling

Amazon Prime members can now stream Showtime, Starz, and more – for a fee.

Just going along with the herd.

"20 years after fire, Polartec will close Lawrence facility" by Kathy McCabe Globe Staff  December 11, 2015

Twenty years ago Friday, workers at Malden Mills faced catastrophe when a wind-blown fire destroyed most of the huge textile factory in Lawrence where they made Polartec, one of the nation’s top winter apparel brands.

But in an uncommon display of generosity, mill owner Aaron Feuerstein said he would continue to pay his workers and rebuild the mill his family had operated for three generations in one of the state’s poorest cities.

On Thursday, the eve of the 20th anniversary of the blaze, hundreds of workers’ worst fears came true: Polartec LLC announced it would close its manufacturing operations in Lawrence and move the work to plants in Hudson, N.H., and Tennessee. A closing date was not disclosed.

Lawrence’s mayor, Dan Rivera, said he was stunned by the decision.

“It kind of feels like the fire all over again for us,” Rivera said Thursday, just hours after meeting with a human resource manager at the mill.

Feuerstein, now 89 and no longer involved in the business, called the decision “a disgrace.”

“All those jobs are lost, after we dedicated ourselves to keeping them,” Feuerstein said by telephone from his home in Brookline. “We considered our workers stakeholders, a part of the factory. They consider workers just a pair of hands. You can get a pair of hands in many places.”

In a statement, Polartec said the decision resulted from increased market pressure, as well as vast amounts of unused space at the red brick complex Feuerstein rebuilt after the the Dec. 11, 1995, fire.

“In its most productive year, the company has only been able to use 25 percent of its Lawrence facility,” the release stated.

Rivian Bell, a Los Angeles-based spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment further on the statement.

A timetable has not yet been set, but the company “anticipates winding down operations in Lawrence over the next few years,” the statement said....

Odd, because I was told the textile industry was coming back.


So much for one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in Boston.


Boston Globe moving headquarters to downtown Boston
Webster Bank to take over most Citi branches in Boston area 

That's my last withdrawal before heading home.

"Consumers shouldn’t be affected by interest rate hike" by Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  December 14, 2015

The era of cheap money isn’t over yet.

The Federal Reserve appears all but certain this week to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, but after markets move, politicians react, and investors adjust their bets, those rates will remain near rock-bottom levels and stay there for some time to come.

The likely move by the Fed and trajectory of future increases are the result of growing confidence in the US economy, tempered by lingering concerns that the expansion remains fragile.

Unemployment has slid to 5 percent and hiring has advanced at a solid pace, with employers adding 211,000 jobs in November and 2.6 million over the past year. Wages and incomes are rising, albeit slowly, and consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of US economic activity, has been robust.

But weak growth globally — underscored by plunging oil prices — poses risks to a US economy that has yet to completely shake off the effects of the last recession, economists said. 

Six years of recovery and still haven't shaken off.... sick of the $ophi$try yet?

The percentage of working age Americans with a job or looking for one — just 62.5 percent in November — is just off of 38-year lows. Millions of Americans have stopped looking for work, and millions more are working part time because they can’t find full-time jobs.

“The economy is doing well, but it’s not booming” said John Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo & Co., in Charlotte, N.C. “Where is the push to increase rates any further?”

It's doing well for the bank he works for and the wealthy, that's it. Just as it is designed!

Interest rates are the main tools used by the Fed to manage the economy. The central bank cuts rates to spur borrowing and spending when the economy is weak, and raises them when the economy strengthens to keep it from overheating and sparking high inflation. The Fed’s Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy, slashed the benchmark rate to near zero seven years ago as the financial crisis plunged the US and global economies deep into recession.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen suggested this month that the economy is now doing well enough to absorb a rate increase, although she and other Fed officials have said they expect to tighten credit gradually.

“They don’t want to risk anything,” said Ozlem Yaylaci, a senior economist with IHS Global Insight in Lexington.

Lara Gordon, a realtor for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Cambridge, expects modest increases in mortgage rates to do little to slow Greater Boston’s booming real estate market. Higher rates may cut some people out of the market, she said, but interest charges will remain low as higher employment and improved wages encourage people to buy.

SeeSales of existing US homes slump on delayed contract closings

But analysts assure market still strong and "housing has helped prop up growth this year, thanks to cheap borrowing costs and a labor market that’s given Americans greater job security. Faster wage growth would help provide the next leg of support for residential real estate, especially by assisting first-time buyers who have found it difficult to save enough for a down payment because higher prices are leaving home purchases further out of reach for some first-time buyers."

Homebuilders not as confident about sales
Single-family houses fuel new-home construction
Decline in millennial homeowners slows

It's in the same talking points and is a total contradiction as the millennials are still sinking. Not like developers ever built properties that were never sold, though.

Households are unlikely to feel much of an immediate impact from the rate hike, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Savers, hoping to collect more interest on their bank accounts, are likely to be disappointed, he added. This long period of low interest rates has forced many banks to live with slim profit margins.

What? They have been making record profits!

Related: "The Fed’s move will likely have minimal impact on consumers, analysts said. Borrowing costs for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans may creep up a bit, but.... Wall Street embraces Fed’s rate hike" and therefore all is well with the world.

As loan rates rise, McBride said, banks are likely to try to make the most of them by holding the interest paid on deposits at current levels.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “higher rates aren’t going to filter down to savers.” 

It never does unless it is urine or feces!


"While most workers don’t expect to get a little extra something from their bosses this year, many companies are, in fact, doling out holiday bonuses. Who gets a holiday bonus, and how much they get, depends on their job. Those who are getting bonuses, however, will get bigger ones than ever."

The usual $u$pects!


Also see:

Stocks higher on late turnaround
Newell Rubbermaid to buy Jarden Corp.
Consumer-price index is stable as energy costs dip
Stocks gain as price of oil jumps

Those last two are mixed me$$ages of the same day.

Stocks erase previous day’s gains

"Stocks plunged in the heaviest trading of the year Friday as enthusiasm over a long-awaited increase in US interest rates faded. Several other negative factors combined to give the market its second big loss in a row, bringing the indexes lower for the week. Bank stocks, which investors had bid up in hopes they would become more profitable as loan rates climbed, fell the most. Tech stocks including Apple and Microsoft, also fell. Overseas, Japan’s market sank after its central bank made changes to a stimulus program that fell short of what investors had hoped for. Another drop in energy prices sent oil stocks lower, and worries about weak global growth weighed on shipping and other transportation companies. The news, however, wasn’t all bad."

More junk:

"Stocks surged in the final minutes of Monday’s trading, rebounding after a two-day rout as financial and technology companies paced a climb from equities’ lowest levels since October. Apple rose 1.2 percent, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. advanced 1.8 percent. Avago Technologies added 4 percent to lead chip makers. Tenet Healthcare gained 11.6 percent after the government said about 6 million people have signed up for health insurance for next year on US-run markets. Equities were bolstered after China’s leaders signaled they will take further steps to support growth. The government said monetary policy must be more “flexible” and fiscal policy more “forceful” amid a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. All of the S&P 500’s 10 main industry sectors rose. Phone companies were the top performers, up 1.1 percent. Energy shares lagged, however, as Brent crude oil slid 1.5 percent on speculation that suppliers, battling for market share, will worsen a supply glut. Walt Disney fell for a third day, losing 1.1 percent, despite its CEO saying “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” probably rang up about $528 million in worldwide box-office sales in its record weekend debut."

Disney fell despite Star Wars, and the supply glut is because of reduced economic activity.

"Stocks rose for a second day Tuesday as a commodities rally ignited broader gains and a report showed the US economy expanded at a revised 2 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, buoyed by consumer spending. GDP data “continues to tell us the same thing,” said Michael Arone, at State Street Global Advisors in Boston — that “the consumer is in reasonable shape, and exports are continuing to struggle.’’ Businesses are coping with weaker overseas economic growth and a strong dollar, which makes US goods more expensive abroad. The two most beaten-down industries this year, energy and raw-materials, led most of Tuesday’s advance, keeping alive prospects for a year-end stocks rally. Caterpillar surged 4.9 percent, while Walmart gained 1.7 percent. Chipotle Mexican Grill fell, however, because of investigations into its links to a new spate of gastrointestinal illnesses in three more states. Historically, the S&P 500 rises in December — the so-called Santa rally — with the final two weeks delivering an average gain of 1.7 percent. But this year, the benchmark index is down 2 percent in December and in the midst of its worst final month since 2002. After rebounding as much as 13 percent from its summer low through early November, the S&P 500 has retreated 3.4 percent, putting it on track for its biggest annual drop since the 2008 financial crisis."

And that revision that ignited a rally? Was a DOWNWARD revision!

"The US economy grew at a slightly slower pace over the summer than the government had previously estimated. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that gross domestic product expanded at a 2 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. That was a bit lower than its previous estimate of 2.1 percent, a result of less restocking by businesses than previously estimated. Last quarter’s expansion was significantly below the 3.9 percent annual GDP growth in the second quarter. The slowdown reflected a cutback in the pace of inventory restocking. Economists think growth in the final quarter will amount to around a 2.2 percent rate, helped by solid consumer spending." 

Sick of the lies yet?

"US consumer spending rebounded in November after a weak showing in October, while a key inflation gauge posted the fastest year-over-year increase in 11 months. Spending increased 0.3 percent in November after an essentially flat reading in October and a 0.2 percent gain in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Personal income rose a solid 0.3 percent in November, reflecting solid gains in wages and salaries, after a 0.4 percent October increase. Economists are predicting that further improvement in the job market will support consumer spending in coming months." 

Yup, all the losses have been erased!

"Investors pulled more money from US mutual funds last week than they have in any seven-day period in the past 2½ years. Net redemptions reached $28.6 billion in the week ended Dec. 16, according to a statement from the Investment Company Institute, a trade group. It was the biggest weekly outflow since June 2013, ICI data show. Some of the redemptions might reflect year-end tax-loss selling, which are sales made for tax purposes, ICI senior economist Shelly Antoniewicz said in the statement. Investors withdrew $11.1 billion from stock funds, $12 billion from bond funds, and $5.6 billion from funds that buy a mix of stocks and bonds. Municipal bond funds attracted $647 million, the only category that saw inflows."

Here is my stop.

"Warm weather leaves stores in the cold" by Anne D’Innocenzio Associated Press  December 18, 2015

NEW YORK — The unseasonably warm weather has left some people feeling cold about holiday shopping.

Rosemarie Nowicki, who lives in Berkeley Heights, N.J., finally spent some of her holiday budget last weekend buying coats online for her family because she hated the thought of being stuck in a store with such mild temperatures outside.

Turns out, lots of shoppers feel the same way as temperatures in cities across the country, including New York and Philadelphia, near record levels for December. The balmy weather hasn’t done anything to entice Americans to venture out and shop, which has hurt sales at stores that depend on the holiday season for up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

Planalytics, a weather forecasting firm for retailers, estimates so far this season mall-based clothing stores have lost $343 million in sales compared with last year. That’s the largest weather-related loss since 1998 when a devastating ice storm hit parts of the Northeast.

We don't shop when it's too hot, we don't shop when it's too cold, we only shop when it's just right! How sickening!

Sales of cold-weather items have been particularly icy. Sales of women’s boots in New York, for instance, are down 24 percent for the first half of December, according to Planalytics. And First Data, which analyzes payments at stores and online, said fur sales fell 20 percent from Oct. 31 through Monday.

The National Retail Federation, nation’s largest retail group, is sticking by its prediction earlier in the season that sales in November and December will rise 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion. Still, the unusually warm weather is a concern.

Marc Kaufman, CEO of the upscale furrier that operates one store in New York City but mostly sells online, says business is down 5 percent. The decline in its Northeast business has been partially offset by its online operations. But Kaufman figures if the weather was colder, sales for the holiday season would be up 30 percent.

‘‘If it weren’t for online, I would be in severe trouble,’’ he said. 

Not even the wealthy markets are buying!


OMG, I didn't realize how late it has gotten. I need to fly home so I can start wrapping Globe gifts for presentation to you tomorrow!

"Travel fears can override cold statistics" by Christopher Muther Globe Staff  December 17, 2015

As footage from the November terrorist attacks in Paris was recapitulated on 24-hour cable news networks, fearful travelers hastily canceled flights and hotel rooms, or changed their holiday travel plans to avoid Paris.

In the days following the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings, a study showed that one in four people canceled or changed travel plans, fearing terrorism.

But the reality is, there is a much greater chance of being struck by lightning than being killed in a terrorist attack. High school sports kill more Americans every year than terrorist attacks, and the same goes for pedestrian and bike accidents.

Well, who is distorting the presentation of reality then?

“Rational people see the statistics and they know that, ‘Yes, I’m more likely to die from a shark attack or a selfie stick accident as compared to terrorism,’ but I think when people are traveling and not somewhere familiar, the calculations skew in a way that no longer makes them rational,” said Juliette Kayyem, a Harvard lecturer and the former assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the Department of Homeland Security.

She was also a former Globe agenda-pusher, 'er, columnist.

The paranoia and misinformation around travel was well-reflected in a study released last week by the CMO Council, a network of more than 10,000 senior corporate marketers. A quarter of those surveyed said they’ve changed travel plans in the past year, and fear of terrorism or personal safety was the top reason the 2,000 respondents gave for canceling, followed closely by worries of disease.

I'm reading a newspaper whose job that is.

Tourists shouldn’t ignore every State Department travel warning, or break out their credit cards when Kuwait Airways offers discounted fares. Common sense and awareness is the rule. But an irrational fear of travel is bruising the world economy.

Oh, it's brui$ed is it? As if it were a sentient being! How disgusting!

Air France announced last week that it will lose $54 million as a result of cancellations and a decline in reservations. France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, said Paris hotels suffered a 15 percent to 20 percent slump in the number of guests in the week after the attacks, and the number of people dining in restaurants dropped 10 percent. That’s on top of the 21 percent of tourists who have canceled trips to Paris during the normally lucrative holiday season. Overall, the French government estimated the country has suffered a $1.5 billion loss in tourism revenue since the attacks.

France is a prominent example. Countries such as Turkey, Thailand, and Egypt have been economically battered by attacks over the past year, as well.


That's the price of a fraudulent narrative full of fear, f***ers!

Fear of terrorism may be costing countries billions in tourism dollars, but the greatest immeasurable loss comes from memories that will never be realized. This may sound like the gooey chorus of a Celine Dion song, but the experiential act of travel is what makes it special. We dream of foreign shores and love filling our phones with pictures of beaches and historic buildings so we can look back when we tire of our workaday existence. If not for vacation photos, Facebook and Instagram would be wastelands of selfies. 

Excuse me, stewardess, but can you find me another seat on this flight? I don't like the scum I'm sitting next to here.

Gina Ciampa of the North End said she always dreamed of getting married in Paris, but while watching news of the terrorist attacks on CNN, briefly considered canceling her planned May nuptuals there. After some thought, Ciampa, who ran the Boston Marathon the year of the bombings, decided to move forward with her plans.

“This is what I’ve always wanted,” she said. “I’ve waited 38 years to get married. No one is taking that away from me. When I look back at my wedding in 10 or 20 years, I want to remember that it was beautiful. I don’t want to look back and remember that it was changed at the last minute because I was afraid.”

I wrote "FUCK OFF" in the margin of my printed paper!


Where are those flights coming from anyway?

"US airlines face uphill struggle against Mideast rivals" by Jad Mouawad New York Times   December 15, 2015

For the past year, the nation’s three largest airlines — Delta, United, and American — have waged a relentless campaign to convince the Obama administration that their business is threatened by Persian Gulf-based carriers who receive billions of dollars in state subsidies.

The airlines have pressed the administration to freeze all new flights from their three foreign rivals — Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways — and would ultimately like to change the pacts, known as open skies agreements, that allow unlimited flights between the United States and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. 

That's where the terrorists come from -- or so I have been told by my lying and obfuscating Jewish War Pre$$.

“We recognize how it is a difficult issue for our government to tackle right now,” said Doug Parker, the chairman and chief executive of American Airlines. “But our country will end up with no global service from US airlines if nothing is done. That’s the threat.”

But after months of arguments and quiet lobbying, accusations, and rebuttals, and millions spent to sway public opinion, the airlines have managed to attract some support, including from their unions.

But they have also galvanized their opponents, angered other airlines, airport, and consumer advocates who say open skies are good for travelers and business.

The campaign has raised questions about the state of the domestic airline industrywhich is earning record profits: Have the airlines gained too much power after their mergers and are they now trying to change the rules of the game? More fundamentally, should the nation’s air service policy favor the interests of a few major domestic carriers or should it preserve open competition for the benefit of the flying public?

Remember the record profits for later.

Meanwhile, the Gulf carriers have added more flights to the United States and increased seat capacity, even as domestic airlines have cut back some of their international service.

The US carriers, for their part, said the competition from the Gulf carriers has forced them to abandon most flights to the Middle East or India because they cannot compete with the lower fares offered.

Critics warn that meddling with open skies agreements, a mainstay of aviation policy for more than two decades, could lead to reprisals, and produce unintended consequences for airlines that have commercial ties with the Gulf carriers or cargo companies that use places like Dubai as global trading hubs....

Like terrorists flying jets in here.



"Mother Nature isn’t making it easy on airlines. Airlines have been helped recently by the El Niño pattern that has brought above-average temperatures to northern states. Besides the vagaries of weather, airlines in recent years have done a better job of adjusting schedules for peak holiday periods. Weather wasn’t the only culprit for travel headaches. A Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis had clogged roads around the airport and temporarily blocked access to one of the two terminals."


No mention of the windfall of low oil prices, of course. 

That's a wrap, folks! 

Merry Christmas, readers!