Thursday, December 16, 2010

Morning notes

Europe remains on edge with protesters hitting the streets in Greece and investors getting fairly aggressive in Spain. However, we haven't seen any scenes of burning cars in the streets today so it seems all is back to normal :)

* The Build America Bond expiration has many states sweating at night. The big states like NY, NJ, CA, IL and TX were all pushing their Congressional reps to approve this act, but it seems like it's dead in the water. If we fail to extend the BAB program (a bad program that I don't support) the consequences could more than offset the perceived "benefits" of extending the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits. A related story yesterday came from California when newly-elected Gov. Jerry Brown basically said "I'm shocked. The mess is much worse than I thought." I imagine our own newly elected Governor is having a similar revelation (however, massive bonuses on Wall Street this year might soften the blow for NYS).

* Today's data dump - unemployment claims were about in line (slightly down, but still elevated), but the number of people claiming unemployment benefits during the last week of November jumped by over 800k people. This seems like an unusually large move.

* Surprisingly, mortgage applications plunge as rates rise.

"The Refinance Index decreased 0.7 percent from the previous week. This is the fifth straight weekly decline for the Refinance Index. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5.0 percent from one week earlier."

* Here's a pretty cool clip of a lighthouse on Lake Erie that was covered by icy mist during the winds of the past couple of days.


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