Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's still all Greek all the time (with a side salad of midwest nuke meltdown drama)

The markets will have to keep its eyes on the Greek Parliament this week as they look to pass measures to ensure bailout part 5 or 6 (I've lost count at this point). This is the latest in a series of threats to the Euro but so far the coalition seems to be holding together. There is a lawsuit pending in Germany to block the bailout of Greece, but I don't expect much to come of that.

I read about the Fort Calhoun, NE nuclear plant being in the flood zone about 2 weeks ago but I felt confident that the situation was under control because the plant was already in shutdown mode due to April maintenance. However, today's news that the flood waters have breached the containments may have some warming their NetJets over at the private airstrip in Omaha (wow, that's really inside baseball talk - I hope my wife gets the joke).

"The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the breach in the 2,000-foot (600 meters) inflatable berm around the Fort Calhoun station occurred around 1:25 a.m. local time. More than 2 feet (60 cm) of water rushed in around containment buildings and electrical transformers at the 478-megawatt facility located 20 miles (30 km) north of Omaha."

A great compilation of jobs data was put forth this weekend looking at data since the beginning of the recession in 2007. Total jobs lost in that period 6.3 million but there have been bright spots.

Industries adding jobs: Healthcare - 1.3 million; Finance/Insurance - 444k. Oil & Mining - 422k, educational svcs 295k, & government 90k.

To summarize our economy's growth areas: we are a sick, diabetic ponzi scheme driving our SUV to classes at the University of Phoenix so we can get a desk job with the Social Security Administration :)

Industries losing jobs during that same period: Construction: -2.52 million, manufacturing: -2.29 million, retail/wholesale: - 1.85 million, Admin/Support: -774k, Transportation: -486k, etc.

Ah, finally we're getting huge relief at the pump as oil prices have tumbled 21% in the last 6 weeks. Wait, what's that you say gas prices in NYS have only fallen by 7% from their peak 5 weeks ago? As we've discussed before gas prices seem to race upward every time there is talk of rising oil prices (even though the oil in the refineries is still lower priced oil), but when oil prices fall, gas prices tend to be EXTREMELY sticky on the downside.

Well, as the world is in turmoil it's good to know that somethings remain the same - the rich still get richer.

"According to the annual world wealth report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the wealth of high net worth individuals reached $42.7tn in 2010, rising nearly 10% in a year and surpassing the peak of $40.7tn reached in 2007.

The report also measures a category of “ultra-high net worth individuals” – those with at least $30m of free cash. The number of individuals in this super-rich bracket climbed 10% to a total of 103,000, and the total value of their investments jumped by 11.5% to $15tn, so even among the rich, the richest get richer quicker.

Altogether they represent less than 1% of the world’s wealthy but they speak for 36% of total wealth."


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