The market got crazy today.
Theories: Delays in health care. Delays in tax reform. Delays in Muslim banning. Delays in wall building.
Lots of delays.
Maybe we’re finally getting sick of Russia?
The banks had an awful day, viz BAC (Bank of America) down 6%. I bought 1,000 BAC a few minutes before close. By close I was up the grand sum of $55. What a genius!
There is good news. Here’s the latest Economist:
Here are excepts from the Economist:
There are still plenty of reasons to fret: China’s debt mountain; the flaws in the foundations of the euro; Donald Trump’s protectionist tendencies; and so on. But amid these anxieties are real green shoots. For six months or so there has been growing evidence of increased activity. It has been clearest in the export-oriented economies of Asia. But it is visible in Europe, in America and even, just, in hard-hit emerging markets like Russia and Brazil.
The signals are strongest from the more cyclical parts of the global economy, notably manufacturing. Surveys of purchasing managers in America, the euro zone and Asia show factories getting a lot busier (see chart 1). Global trading hubs such as Taiwan and South Korea are bustling. Taiwan’s National Development Council publishes a composite indicator that tracks the economy’s strength: blue is sluggish, green is stable and red is overheating. The overall economy has been flashing green lights for seven months and is pushing up towards the red zone.
This reflects, among other things, demand for semiconductors around the world; this February exports from Taiwan were up by 28% compared with 2016. Although that is the most striking example, exports are up elsewhere in the region, too. South Korea’s rose by 20% in February compared with a year earlier. In yuan terms, China’s were 11% higher in the first two months of 2017 than in 2016.
This apparent vigour is in part just a reflection of how bad things looked 12 months ago; suppliers who overdid the gloom in early 2016 are restocking. Asia’s taut supply chains also owe something to the two-to-three-year life-cycle of consumer gadgetry. On March 10th LG Electronics launched its new G6 smartphone. Its larger rival, Samsung, is due to unveil its Galaxy S8 phone by the end of the month; a new iPhone will be out later this year.
But the signs of life run deeper than just those specifics would allow. Business spending on machinery and equipment is picking up. A proxy measure based on shipments of capital goods constructed by economists at JPMorgan Chase, a bank, suggests that worldwide equipment spending grew at an annualised rate of 5.25% in the last quarter of 2016.
The good news goes beyond manufacturing, too. American employers, excluding farms, added 235,000 workers to their payrolls in February, well above the recent average. The European Commission’s economic-sentiment index, based on surveys of service industries, manufacturers, builders and consumers, is as high as it has been since 2011. After a strong fourth quarter, the Bank of Japan revised up its forecast for growth in the current fiscal year from 1% to 1.4%. Such optimism raises two big questions: what is behind this nascent recovery and will it take hold?
There are skeptics who say that when the Economist gets bullish, markets get bearish. That’s correct for today — Dow down 238 points.
I’m optimistic, especially for tech, which took some of the smaller hits today — e.g. AMZN, FB, EXPE, and HON.
You can read the Economist’s leader here and the main, long “Briefing” article here.
Tomorrow’s another day. Play tennis early. Win. Start the day on a high.
Colbert on Trump’s Budget
To watch, click here.
Fascinating reading: A new book called “Blitzed” is out.
The Nazis, knowing they were vastly outnumbered, went to war stoned out of their mind. They institutionalized getting stoned. Only way to get the courage, or madness. Amazing variety of drugs. Read a review. Click here.
From the Wall Street Journal:
+ Texting doesn’t always work instantly. It can take hours. I don’t know why. For “instant” urgent communications, pick up the phone and speak in person — the old fashioned way.
+ Don’t activate your new credit card — unless you really want to use it. Which you probably don’t. The moment you activate it, you’ll get hit with an annual fee.
+ What is WiFi calling on my cell phone, a reader asked? It means you’re calling on the Internet, not over the through-the-air, iffy, cell system. You want to use WiFi calling on your cell phone where cell service is awful. Don’t talk too long. There are data charges.
+ There are two ways to get a gadget working: 1. Download the manual. 2. Watch the repair video on YouTube.
My new favorite laptop is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon made by Lenovo. Pluses:
+ It’s ultra-light. Much lighter than the Apple laptops. Close to the lightest Windows machine I’ve ever lifted. Super portable.
+ A 14 inch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels. That gives it great web site readability. I’m not kidding. The letters are more defined, sharper and easier to read. My ancient eyes appreciate this.
+ A hugely powerful new Intel processor –the i7-7600U. Finally an i7 that’s much faster than the previous 6600 –22% by my calculations — and still gets good battery life. All day.
+ A decent large keyboard with a pointing stick and a big touchpad. Use which you like. I like the red pointing stick. Both work well.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the machine is blow-out popular. And you can’t get it — for another month or two. Drat.
When was the last time you heard that an Intel-powered laptop was on backorder?
Still not a good reason to buy either Intel (INTC) or Lenovo (LNVGY).
Best tennis photo. Read the sign. She did.
Not having a good day?
You can buy it on Amazon (where else?) for $189. Best child toy ever invented. Click here.