Shane's Feed
Nov 6, 2013
via Data Dive

Planned layoffs jump in October

The number of planned layoffs in the US was up 13.5% in October from the previous month, Reuters writes. However, there is some good news:

For the first time in five months, the October figure was lower than the year-ago tally, which came in at 47,724. For 2013 so far, employers have announced 433,114 cuts, close to the 433,725 seen in the first ten months of last year.

Nov 4, 2013
via Counterparties

Aging bull

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The S&P 500 is up 23% since the beginning of the year in what Bloomberg calls “the broadest equity rally on record”. Are we in a bubble?

Nov 1, 2013
via Data Dive

Bubbles and the global housing market

“Fast-rising property markets are haunting the global economy again, five years after the U.S. subprime mortgage bubble burst and triggered the worst financial crisis since the 1930s,” Reuters reports. Still, ”the warning signals are flashing amber, not red, and several countries have acted to cool overheating markets,” Alan Wheatley and Tim Reid report.

The US housing market has been held back by tight mortgage standards, an unemployment rate of 7.2% and stagnant wages. In Canada, however, home price-to-income ratios are at the highest levels in 10 years, and many European countries have higher than average price-to-income ratios.

Oct 31, 2013
via Counterparties

Affordable Care Ack

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The rollout of healthcare.gov has been a disaster. But what about the rest of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? There are a couple of sticking points, many of them related to the way in which the individual insurance market has been overhauled.

Oct 30, 2013
via Counterparties

America’s own sovereign debt crisis

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A Puerto Rican bond crisis is approaching. The territory (suzerainty, actually) is “one of the municipal bond market’s most prolific debt issuers, with around $70 billion in debt outstanding” according to the WSJ, and its bonds are just barely holding on to investment grade ratings. In September, the territory drastically cut down on its borrowing through the end of 2013 after yields on its outstanding bonds rose higher than Greece’s. Its 5-year CDS mid-spread is over 700 basis points, and S&P gives it a 78% probability of defaulting. Simone Foxman points out that yields on its municipal bonds have doubled in the past year.

Oct 30, 2013
via Data Dive

The problem with moving away from coal power

On Tuesday, the US government announced it would stop investing coal power plants around the world in an effort to combat climate change. Here are the details from Reuters:

The U.S. Treasury said it would only support funding for coal plants in the world’s poorest countries if they have no other efficient or economical alternative for their energy needs.

Oct 29, 2013
via Counterparties

Apple’s billions

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Apple’s earnings came out yesterday, and the headline figures featured higher sales and lower margins, with reactions ranging from “meh” to generally pleased.

Oct 29, 2013
via Counterparties

#KittenFail: Uber’s clever marketing worked, even though you won’t pet a kitten today

Today is National Cat Day. This wouldn’t be America if some entrepreneurial company didn’t find a way to exploit the internet’s love of kittens.

It was thus not that surprising that the private taxi service Uber sent out an email notifying its customers that “Uber is delivering kittens on-demands in Seattle, New York, and San Francisco!” from 11am to 4pm.

Oct 29, 2013
via Data Dive

Apple’s earnings: higher sales, lower margins

Apple’s quarterly earnings were released yesterday, with results that were in line with forecasts but down significantly from this time last year. From Reuters:

Gross profit margin for the fourth quarter was 37 percent, down from 40 percent a year ago as intense competition from the likes of Samsung Electronics took a toll. That was roughly level with analysts’ average 36.9 percent forecast.

Oct 28, 2013
via Data Dive

The great economic reshuffle

Branko Milanovic, the lead economist at the World Bank’s research department, has a new paper out on global income inequality (the paper was first spotted by John McDermott). Among other things, Milanovic compares the change in global income from 1988 to 2008:

He writes:

Global income distribution has thus changed in a remarkable way. It was probably the profoundest global reshuffle of people’s economic positions since the Industrial revolution. Broadly speaking, the bottom third, with the exception of the very poorest, became significantly better-off, and many of people there escaped absolute poverty. The middle third or more became much richer, seeing their real incomes rise by approximately 3% per capita annually.