Friday, June 26, 2009

Economic Rebound, Not Yet! Rates to Remain Great.

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose for the first time since February 2009, gaining 3.2 percent in May. May’s increase, which raised the SA index to 102.3, wasn’t large enough to offset the March through April cumulative reduction of 6.7 percent. ...

Compared with May 2008, tonnage contracted 11 percent, which was the best year-over-year result in three months. Despite the improvement from April’s 13.2 percent plunge, May’s decrease is still historically large.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the month-to-month improvement was encouraging, but cautioned that tonnage is unlikely to surge anytime soon. “I am hopeful that the worst is behind us, but I just don’t see anything on the economic horizon that suggests freight transportation is ready to explode,” Costello said. “The consumer is still facing too many headwinds, including employment losses, tight credit, rising fuel prices, and falling home values, to name a few, that will make it very difficult for household spending to jump in the near term.” He also noted that he doesn’t expect tonnage to deteriorate much further and that any growth in tonnage over the next few months is likely to be modest.

Note on the impact of trucking company failures on the index: Each month, ATA asks its membership the amount of tonnage each carrier hauled, including all types of freight. The indexes are calculated based on those responses. The sample includes an array of trucking companies, ranging from small fleets to multi-billion dollar carriers. When a company in the sample fails, we include its final month of operation and zero it out for the following month, with the assumption that the remaining carriers pick up that freight. As a result, it is close to a net wash and does not end up in a false increase. Nevertheless, some carriers are picking up freight from failures, and it may have boosted the index. Due to our correction mentioned above, however, it should be limited.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing nearly 69 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods ...

repost from our favorite blog: Calculated Risk.

Expect to see good conforming and jumbo loan rates for the next six months at least. It will take some time for the inflation rate to budge and force rates higher.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Recession Over as Wall St Relocates to an Island

Now back to the mainland where everyone else lives:

Any illusion that prime loans would emerge unscathed was shattered by a May 28 report from the Mortgage Bankers Assn. "For the first time since the rapid growth of subprime lending, prime fixed-rate loans now represent the largest share of new foreclosures," the bankers said. The grime in prime was responsible for the worst performance on record for the U.S. mortgage sector in the first quarter: Nearly 13% of loans were delinquent or in foreclosure, the most since the bankers started keeping tabs in 1972. The problems were worst in the bubble states of California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada.
The biggest factor in this second wave of foreclosures is the inability of distressed homeowners to sell in order to pay off their debts. Prices in bubble cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Miami are down less at the high end of the market than at the bottom, according to data from Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price indexes. But that's cold comfort to people who haven't managed to sell at all. According to research by the National Association of Realtors, there are enough $750,000-plus homes on the market to cover more than 40 months' worth of demand at the current rate of sales. That's four times the rate of oversupply in the housing market as a whole. .

Business Week Article

Recession Over? Wall St Thinks So..

I think not. Chart of the day:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tax Dollars: The Bad and The Good?

The sickening feeling in my stomach continues to worsen. AIG is looking to clawback a $490 million endowment and the $27 million in donations already made to charities to pay employee bonuses instead. The New York Post has the details on this underhanded, disgusting move by a company and board that has long been disgraced.

From the NY Post:
Insurance giant AIG is trying to seize a $490 million charitable endowment — and claw back $27 million it already awarded to New York charities — to pay executive bonuses, The Post has learned. The endowment, called Starr International Foundation, is run by former AIG chairman Hank Greenberg, and has given millions to the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, Citymeals and other local groups. My favorite part about this all? AIG is in court to get the money back of course - spending taxpayer dollars to take money out of the needy’s hands and put in to lining pockets of mostly overpaid hacks who can’t run a hot dog stand, let alone an insurance conglomerate. When will the depravity end?

Now the Good?

The minute-long commercial, which can be viewed by clocking on the image or visiting GM Reinvention, admits right off the bat that "No company wants to go through this," and goes on to frame the situation like this: "GM needs to start over in order to get stronger." Amidst a siezure-inducing barrage of scenes from Americana, the narrator explains in a nutshell that the old way wasn't working and the new way will be "Leaner, Greener, Faster, Smarter."w the video for yourself and let us know if it gets the right message across about "New GM".[Source: re:invention]

So the larger question should be, who derserves our tax dollars more? Have a take, make a comment, it's your money after all.