Monday, December 08, 2008

Gas, Housing and Markets


A couple of years ago I posted the gasbuddy gas map that highlights gas prices across the country. Not much has changed, the central part of the US still pays below average because of lower gas taxes but it's still painful to see most of NYS deep in the red (paying the highest state average by a pretty wide margin).






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This is a pretty troubling article on the failure rate of mortgage workouts so far.......


"More than half of delinquent homeowners whose mortgages were modified earlier this year ended up redefaulting within six months, a top bank regulator said Monday.


Some 53% of borrowers with loans modified in the first three months of 2008 and 51% of those with loans modified in the second quarter could not keep up with payments within six months, according to U.S. Comptroller John Dugan, who spoke at a housing conference.


The high redefault rate raises concerns about the long-term effectiveness of loan modifications, which many are pushing as a key solution to the nation's financial crisis."


I remain convinced that many, many homeowners continue to walkaway or fall behind because they feel that they are throwing good money after bad as their home values continue to tumble.


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The markets continue to look the other way as they wound higher on a plan to pave America, save the Auto Industry (for at least a month), and Tribune filing for bankruptcy (anything bad for the Cubs has to be good for stocks!).


The news remains startling. Texas Instruments warned tonight on 4th Qtr revenues and earnings. They cut their estimated revenue by 17% and their estimated earnings by 60%!!! I'm not sure that I can emphasize how unbelievable this is. TI isn't some fly by night Internet ad company, this is a major tech company that delivers consistent results. Their business shouldn't swing 60% in a quarter.


Oh and Fedex said "significantly weaker macroeconomic conditions are expected to offset the benefits from lower fuel prices and the announced departure of DHL from the U.S. domestic package market" when they cut their earnings forecast by 10 to 25% for next year. We'll see how the market digests this info.


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Consumerism run amok part 2. This lovely hat can be yours for the low, low price of just $300 at Neiman Marcus.




'Tis the season!

Cheers!

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