Political Calculations
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February 19, 2019

After last week's failed breakout attempt, the second week of February 2019 saw the level of the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) broke out above our redzone forecast range on Friday, 15 February 2019, boosted by the speculation of improved prospects for a trade deal being reached between the U.S. and China.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2019Q1 - Standard Model with Annotated Redzone Forecast - Snapshot on 15 Feb 2019

The other big news of the week is that there seems to be a growing consensus at the Fed for no further rate hikes in 2019. In fact, the CME Group's FedWatch Tool is suggesting that investors are giving small, but increased odds of a rate cut in December 2019, though the much greater probability at this point of time is for rates to be held steady at today's Federal Funds Rate target range of 2.25% to 2.50%.

CME Group FedWatch Tool Rate Hike Probabilities - Snapshot 2019-02-15

Here's the other headlines of the week that stood apart from the regular noise from the news cycle....

Monday, 11 February 2019
Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Thursday, 14 February 2019
Friday, 15 February 2019

Elsewhere, Barry Ritholtz scanned the week's markets and economy-related news to identify the positives and negatives, finding six of each, though we wonder if one of the positives (flat inflation) is really a negative....

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February 15, 2019

Two years after it first went into effect, the negative fallout from Philadelphia's controversial soda tax continues to pile up. Here's a short summary of the news that has broken since we last reviewed what has perhaps become the most unpopular tax in the City of Brotherly Love.

Unsplash - Ashkan Forouzani: Cans of soda displayed in refrigerated cases

A Philadelphia ShopRite convenience store will close, with the owner citing lost business related to the city's soda tax as the primary reason for its closure. The store is located near Philadelphia's city limits, where local residents appear to have taken a good portion of their business across the border to avoid paying the tax. Jeff Brown, the store's owner, whose efforts in bringing supermarkets into impoverished areas of Philadelphia was lauded by President Obama in his 2010 State of the Union address, indicated that reduced sales at all his stores since the soda tax went into effect has cumulatively reduced his total payroll by about 200 jobs, which he has achieved through attrition rather than through layoffs. The store closure is expected to add another 100 jobs to that running total of attrition.

A second independent study has confirmed that net soda consumption among Philadelphia's total population has not meaningfully declined, where "the tax did not improve nutritional intake by encouraging consumers to substitute to healthier beverages". The study's authors, Stephan Seiler, Anna Tuchman, and Song Yao, also found that nearly 100% of the tax is being passed through to Philadelphia consumers, confirmed that many of these shoppers are avoiding the tax by shifting their grocery shopping to stores outside of the city's limits, and that the tax is achieving a disproportionately negative impact by imposing "a relatively larger financial burden on low income/high obesity households that are less likely to engage in cross-shopping at stores outside of the city."

A 116-count federal indictment against International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers president John J. Dougherty (aka "Johnny Doc") and Philadelphia city councilman Robert "Bobby" Henon, among others. In a city like Philadelphia where political corruption scandals are common, that news itself might not stand out, except in this case, because it says quite a lot about the true motivation behind Philadelphia's soda tax.

According to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, corrupt Democratic city officials and electricians’ union leaders pushed through the soda tax in 2016 in a revenge feud against the Teamsters union, instead of a motivation to affect public health.

The Justice Department’s indictment reveals how Philadelphia Councilman Robert Henon, who was on the payroll of Mr. Dougherty’s union, introduced the soda-tax proposal as payback against the Teamsters for criticizing Mr. Dougherty in a political advertisement a year earlier.

The Teamsters opposed the soda tax because they believed it would cost them jobs by reducing demand for soft drinks.

When aides to Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney tried to explain to Mr. Dougherty the public health benefits of the soda tax, the indictment alleges, the union leader replied, “You don’t have to explain to me. I don’t give a f–.” He predicted it would “cost the Teamsters 100 jobs in Philly.”

A very predictable negative outcome that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney neither disputed at the time nor sought to diminish in the time since, all while Kenney's claims that positive public health benefits would be achieved from imposing the city's soda tax are proving to be unfounded in practice.

Dougherty's support for the controversial tax was essential because of the IBEW Local 98's money and political influence within the city, where the union's backing often made the difference between candidates winning elections or not. In addition, Johnny Doc's influence extends to appointed positions, including gifts to judges, who might then be counted upon to back the union-supported positions such as on the soda tax when its legality was challenged in court. The full magnitude of the unfurling political scandal as it relates to how the Philadelphia's soda tax was passed and survived legal challenge is not yet known.

Finally, with eleven months of Philadelphia Beverage Tax revenue now counted for 2018 (taxes assessed in December 2018 and collected in January 2019 will be reported either later this month or early in March 2019), we anticipate that the full year's tax collections will fall short of its second year target.

Desired vs Actual Estimates of Philadelphia's Monthly Soda Tax Collections, January 2017 through November 2018

From January through November 2018, Philadelphia's Beverage Tax has accumulated $70,348,376 in the city's coffers, which is nearly $8.5 million short of the city's $78.8 million target. The most the city has ever collected from its soda tax in a single month was $7,567,159 in September 2017, so if it were to collect that much once again, it still would fall about one million dollars short.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia's original revenue target for its controversial tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages for retail sale in the city was $92.4 million, where actual revenues of $77.8 million would be 84% of that figure. In 2017, Wharton Business School Professor of Finance and Public Policy Robert Inman indicated the Philadelphia Beverage Tax could be considered a success if it collected 85% to 90% of the city's original revenue target.

It will almost certainly miss clearing that low bar needed to be considered successful in 2018. The only question now is by how much will it fall short?

Previously on Political Calculations

We've been covering the story of Philadelphia's flawed soda tax on roughly a monthly basis from almost the very beginning, where our coverage began as something of a natural extension from one of the stories we featured as part of our Examples of Junk Science Series. The linked list below will take you through all our in-near-real-time analysis of the impact of the tax, which at this writing, has still to reach its end.

Image Credit: unsplash-logoAshkan Forouzani

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February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day to all lovers of math!

y=1/x x^2 + y^2 = 1 y = |2x| x = -|sin(y)|

We used Microsoft Excel to generate the charts to go along with each equation, where convincing it to draw a proper circle on an x-y scatter plot for the "O" was especially challenging. If you ever want to attempt it yourself, we found Tushar Mehta's instructions to be invaluable!

Meanwhile, if you haven't yet geeked out enough, do check out Hannah Fry's discussion of the Mathematics of Love from 2014....

P.S. If you're accessing this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, you might be seeing the charts at the top of the post in reverse order. If you would like to see them in their proper order, please click through to our site!...

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February 13, 2019

Together, Texas and California are home to over one out of five teens between the ages of 16 and 19 in the United States. Of the two states, California's teen population is larger than that of Texas, although its population has been slowly declining in recent years while Texas' teen population has been growing. The following chart shows the population trends for working-age teens in both states from 2003 through 2018, where we find that Texas has grown from having three-fifths of California's teen population to nearly four-fifths.

Age 16-19 Civilian Noninstitutional Population in California and Texas, 2003-2017, with Preliminary Data for 2018

Since we're focusing on working-age teens in both states, let's next look at teen employment levels in both states from 2003 through 2018.

Age 16-19 Employment in California and Texas, 2003-2017, with Preliminary Data for 2018

In this chart, we see that California's working teen population plummeted by 40% from 2007 through 2011, before flattening out through 2014. It went on to rebound somewhat in 2015, but has stagnated at roughly 27% below its 2007 peak in all the years since.

By contrast, Texas saw a 29% decline in working teens from 2006 to 2011, but has since largely recovered. More remarkably, the number of working teens in Texas has periodically surpassed the number in California, in 2014 and again in 2017, despite having a teen population that is considerable smaller than that of California.

That's a pretty remarkable observation, so we've calculated the employment-to-population ratio for working-age teens in California and Texas from 2003 through 2018, showing the results in the next chart.

Age 16-19 Employment to Population Ratio in California and Texas, 2003-2017, with Preliminary Data for 2018

Here, we see that both states start out in a similar place, where from 2003 to 2005, the share of the teen population with jobs in California and Texas was about the same.

Since 2006 however, a persistent gap has opened up, with a larger share of Texas' teen population working as compared to California. In 2018, 28.1% of Texas' working-age teen population were earning paychecks, while only 22.7% of California's Age 16-19 population had jobs.

How big is that difference? If the same share of its teen population were working as in Texas, over 108,000 more Californian teens would have had jobs in 2018. At the same time, if the same share of its teen population were working as in California, over 84,000 fewer Texan teens would have jobs in the same year.

According to the BLS' preliminary data for 2018, California had 457,000 employed teens while Texas had 440,000.

There is, of course, one big difference between the two states that affects whether employers in each state even consider hiring teens to work for them.

California and Texas Average Minimum Wage, 2003-2018

That's far from the only difference between the two states however, where things like the composition of the two states' economies and the rates at which different industries in each state are growing also play a role in determining whether there are sufficient jobs that teens can land.

Teen employment is a positive factor that help boost household incomes, help the teens gain experience that will translate into higher incomes later in life, and can even reduce the amount of student loan debt that a college bound teen might otherwise have to take on. Which state's teens do you suppose are coming out ahead?

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local Area Unemployment Statistics: Expanded State Employment Demographic Data. [PDF Documents: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (Preliminary)]. Accessed 8 February 2019. [Note: The BLS has data that goes back to 1999, but it changed its survey methodology in 2003, making it difficult to make valid comparisons with data collected in earlier years.]

Bureau of Labor Statistics Wage and Hour Division. History of Federal Minimum Wage Rates Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938-2009. [Online Article]. Accessed 8 February 2019.

State of California Department of Industrial Relations. History of California Minimum Wage. [Online Articel]. Accessed 8 February 2019.

Texas Workforce Commission. Texas Minimum Wage Law. [Online Article]. Accessed 8 February 2019.

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February 12, 2019

In November 2018, the year-over-year growth rate of the value of goods imported by the U.S. from China dropped into negative territory.

That observation comes from our analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's report on the U.S.' trade in goods with China, which had been delayed for over a month due to the partial U.S. government shut down. It marks the first month since the U.S.-China trade war began on 22 March 2018 where we can point to a month where the total value of goods that the U.S. imported from China dropped below the value reported a year earlier, where the U.S. had largely been able to avoid following China's fate in that respect. Until November 2018.

The following chart shows that development and also reveals that the year-over-year growth rate of the value of U.S. exports to China became more negative in November 2018. That outcome largely occurred as a consequence of China's retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-produced soybeans, which has prompted China's soybean buyers to effectively boycott the 2018 U.S. crop (until they began making some relatively small buys in December 2018).

Year Over Year Growth Rate of Exchange Rate Adjusted U.S.-China Trade in Goods and Services, January 1986 - November 2018

Taking a step back to look at the combined value of goods and services directly traded between the U.S. and China, we find the size of the gap between where that level of trade is today with respect to where it would likely be in the absence of the trade war between the two nations opened up in November 2018, increasing by over 50% from $1.6 billion in the previous month to $2.5 billion.

Combined Value of U.S. Exports to China and Imports from China, January 2008 - November 2018

In percentage terms, November 2018's level of direct trade between the two nations is a little over 4% below where we estimate it might otherwise be based on the pre-trade war trend for this data.

References

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. China / U.S. Foreign Exchange Rate. G.5 Foreign Exchange Rates. Accessed 7 February 2019.

U.S. Census Bureau. Trade in Goods with China. Accessed 7 February 2019.

U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Trade Online. Accessed 7 February 2019. 

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February 11, 2019

For a moment during the first week of February 2019, the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) looked like it might fully break out of the range described by our redzone forecast, but alas, it only poked just above the upper end of the range for a few days before dropping back into it.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2019Q1 - Standard Model with Annotated Redzone Forecast - Snapshot on 8 Feb 2019

Had the S&P 500 stayed above that level, it would have been an indication that investors were starting to look further forward to 2019-Q2 according to our dividend futures-based model of how stock prices work. Since they subsequently dropped back within the redzone forecast range, which is based on the assumption that investors would remain focused on the current quarter of 2019-Q1, it's more likely these data points were just temporary outliers.

Perhaps a better question is: why didn't the S&P 500 drop further? We could argue that if investors are more focused on 2019-Q1 in setting stock prices, we should see more of a reversion to the mean that corresponds with that assessment, where the mean would be vertically located in the middle of the redzone forecast range.

We haven't seen a good answer for that question as yet, where none of the market-moving headlines we noted during the past week stood out as potential explanations for why not.

Monday, 4 February 2019
Tuesday, 5 February 2019
Wednesday, 6 February 2019
Thursday, 7 February 2019
Friday, 8 February 2019

Barry Ritholtz listed each of the positives and negatives he found in the week's markets and economy-related news.

We'll see if the market provides any more clarity in the second week of February 2019, which will be noteworthy because China returns from its week-long Spring Festival/Lunar New Year holiday, where the output of data from that troubled economy will resume.

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February 8, 2019

Sentier Research has issued their estimate of median household income in the United States for December 2018, finding the typical income earned by an American household was $63,517 for the month, slightly down from the firm's initial estimate of $63,554 for November 2018. Sentier's revised, inflation-adjusted estimate for November 2018 is $63,518, where they describe their initial estimate for December's median household income as unchanged.

The following chart shows the nominal (red) and inflation-adjusted (blue) trends for median household income in the United States from January 2000 through December 2018, where the newest nominal data point shows up as the first month-over-month dip after a long uninterrupted upward trend that began in December 2017. The inflation-adjusted figures are presented in terms of constant December 2018 U.S. dollars.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Nominal and Real Estimates, January 2000 to December 2018

Meanwhile, the year-over-year growth rate of median household income has continued at near record-highs.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Year Over Year Growth Rate, January 2001 to December 2018

With that final estimate, 2018 proved to be one the best years ever for income gains for typical American households.

Analyst's Notes

The partial government shutdown has impacted our ability to develop an estimate of median household income using our alternate methodology, where the data we use won't be available until 28 February 2019.

In generating inflation-adjusted portion of the Median Household Income in the 21st Century chart and the corresponding year-over-year growth rate chart above, we've used the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to adjust the nominal median household income estimates for inflation, so that they are expressed in terms of the U.S. dollars for the month for which we're reporting the newest income data.

References

Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: January 2000 through May 2017, March 2018 through December 2018. [Excel Spreadsheet with Nominal Median Household Incomes for January 2000 through January 2013 courtesy of Doug Short]. [PDF Document]. Accessed 5 February 2019. [Note: We've converted all data to be in terms of current (nominal) U.S. dollars to develop the analysis presented in this series.]

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers - (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, All Items, 1982-84=100. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 11 January 2019.




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February 7, 2019

Following our first ever analysis of the total transaction value for existing home sales in the U.S., we're returning to more familiar territory in calculating the equivalent market capitalization for new homes sold in the U.S., where we find that it too appears to have peaked in March 2018.

Trailing Twelve Month Average New Home Sales Market Capitalization, Not Adjusted for Inflation [Current U.S. Dollars] and Adjusted for Inflation [Constant November 2018 U.S. Dollars], January 1976 - November 2018

In March 2018, the trailing twelve month average of the market capitalization of new homes sold in the U.S. peaked a bit over $20.3 billion. The trailing year average market cap went on to decline to $19.9 billion in June and to rebound to a high just shy of $20.3 billion in September. It has declined sharply in the months since, falling to an initial estimate of $19.2 billion for November 2018, the most recent month for which national data is available.

These significance of these changes are easier to see when we calculate the year-over-year growth rate of our trailing twelve month average for the new home market cap. The following chart reveals that the initial estimates for November 2018 have fallen into negative territory, which suggests that the new home market is experiencing some degree of contraction.

Inflation Adjusted Growth Rate of U.S. Trailing Year Average New Home Market Capitalization, January 2000 - November 2018

The initial year-over-year growth rate estimate for November 2018 is -3.3%, which if we re-do the growth rate math after adjusting all the market cap data for inflation to be in terms of constant November 2018 U.S. dollars, we find corresponds to an inflation-adjusted growth rate of -5.3%.

This deceleration parallels the trend we've seen in existing home sales since March 2018, but unlike that portion of the U.S. real estate market, the new homes market has greater economic impact, both for the businesses of U.S. homebuilders (Indices: ITB, PKB, XHB) and for the U.S. economy, where negative year-over-year growth rates indicate the industry has become an economic headwind.

On that count, Calculated Risk recently featured economist Tom Lawler's characterization of recent earnings calls for several firms in the industry, notably D.R. Horton (NYSE: DRH), the largest U.S. home builder, which has benefited in recent years by focusing on lower-priced, entry-level homes:

Here are a few observations based on press releases and conference calls (note that NVR provides no “color” in its press release and does not do an earnings conference.)

First (and trivially), D.R. Horton’s YOY increase in net orders was boosted slightly by acquisitions of a few smaller builders, and “pro forma” net orders would have been up by close to 2% YOY.

Second, all builders noted that they experienced slower demand last quarter, and most attributed the slowdown to “affordability” concerns, partly but not even mainly association with the increase in mortgage rates during the third and early fourth quarter, but also to the rapid price increases of the past few years in many markets. There appeared to be greater weakness at “higher” price points, and several markets where home prices had risen sharply over the past few years – especially much of California and Colorado – were “especially soft”.

Most builders were peppered with questions about sales incentives, and while those reporting incentives on closings said that there was just a “modest” increase from a year ago, many also implied that a further increase in sales incentives in the first part of this year was a distinct possibility. Most builders also seemed to feel that in aggregate home prices, after outpacing income growth for the last seven years, would likely grow by less than income growth in 2019. That is also the consensus among competent housing economists.

Aggregate home prices growing slower than income would continue the pattern we've observed for median new home sale prices and median household incomes since February 2018.

References

U.S. Census Bureau. Median and Average Sales Prices of New Homes Sold in the United States. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 31 January 2019.

U.S. Census Bureau. New Residential Sales Historical Data. Houses Sold. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 31 January 2019.

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers - (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, All Items, 1982-84=100. [Text Document]. Accessed 11 January 2019.

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February 6, 2019

January 2019 was an average-to-below average month for dividend paying firms in the U.S. stock market. Whether we're counting the number of declarations, special dividend announcements, rises, reductions, or omissions, the month registered either close to or below the average levels recorded over the previous 15 years worth of January data that Standard and Poor makes available.

Let's run through the numbers for these categories and compare them to the previous month's figures and the same month from a year ago....

  • In January 2019, 2,476 U.S. firms declared dividends, a decrease of 3,458 from the record number recorded in December 2018. That figure is also down by 258 from January 2018's total.
  • 37 U.S. firms announced they would pay an extra, or special, dividend to their shareholders in January 2019, a decrease of 142 from the number recorded in December 2018, and also a a decrease of 14 from the total recorded a year earlier in January 2018.
  • A total of 217 U.S. firms announced they would increase their dividend payments to shareholders in January 2019, an increase of 79 over the number recorded in December 2018, and a decrease of 101 from the 318 dividend rises declared back in January 2018.
  • 27 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in January 2019, a decline of 13 from the number recorded in December 2018 and also a decrease of 9 from the 36 recorded in January 2018.
  • Just 2 U.S. firms omitted paying their dividends in January 2019, an increase of 1 over the number recorded in December 2018. That figure is also an increase of 1 over the total recorded in January 2018.

The following chart shows just the increases and decreases that have been recorded by S&P for each month from January 2004 through January 2019.

Number of Public U.S. Firms Increasing or Decreasing Their Dividends Each Month, January 2004 through January 2019

We've already covered the dividend cutters for the month from our near real-time sampling, which captured 18 of the 27 reductions recorded during the month. If you want to see the list, which we've expanded since we published it on 29 January 2019, please follow this link.

References

Standard and Poor. S&P Market Attributes Web File. [Excel Spreadsheet]. 31 January 2019.

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February 5, 2019

Since peaking in February 2018, the relative affordability of new homes being sold in the United States has continued to improve through November 2018, the last month for which the data is available, where rising mortgage rates, falling new home sale prices, and rising incomes has combined to produce that outcome in the national level data.

The following chart shows the history of interest rates for 30-year conventional fixed rate mortgages in the U.S. from April 1971 through November 2018.

30-Year Conventional Fixed Mortgage Rates in U.S., April 1971 through November 2018

In November 2018, 30-year conventional mortgage rates peaked at 4.87%, the highest they've been since February 2011, nearly a full percentage point higher than the 3.92% recorded in November 2017. Mortgage rates began falling in December 2018, pacing the decline in the yields of the 10-Year U.S. Treasury that began in mid-November as global economic growth began visibly deteriorating.

Although U.S. economic growth has been stronger than the global economy, rising mortgage rates have made it more costly to afford the monthly payments for high-priced homes in the regions of the U.S. that have been experiencing shortage conditions, particularly in the western region states of California, Oregon, and Washington, causing those markets to sharply slow, sending both sale prices and the number of sales lower.

Nationally, November 2018 saw the initial estimate for the median sale price of new homes sold in the U.S. drop to $302,400, the lowest level recorded since February 2017 and 12.5% below the peak value of $343,400 recorded in November 2017.

Smoothing the month-to-month volatility in median new home sale prices out by calculating their trailing twelve month moving average, we find the initial estimate for November 2018 marks a downward turn in what had been a relatively flat trend since April 2018. At the same time, median household incomes in the U.S. have continued to rise. In the following chart, we've shown the trajectory of the trailing year averages of median new home sale prices against median household incomes from December 2000 through November 2018.

U.S. Median New Home Sale Price vs Median Household Income, Annual: 1999 - 2017 | Monthly: December 2000 - November 2018

Falling median new home prices and rising median household incomes are combining to improve the relative affordability of new homes sold in the U.S. The following chart shows the ratio of median new home sale prices to median household incomes since 1967.

U.S. Median New Home Sale Price vs Median Household Income, Annual: 1999 - 2017 | Monthly: December 2000 - November 2018

After peaking at 5.45 times median household income in February 2018, the ratio of median new home sale prices to median household income has fallen to a preliminary value of 5.22 in November 2018. Although this figure is still historically elevated, it does mark an improvement in the relative affordability of new homes sold in the U.S. to levels last seen in late 2014.

This trend can be considered to be the silver lining in an otherwise cloudy environment for the new home market in the United States. We'll take a closer look at what falling prices means for the real estate industry later this week.

References

Freddie Mac. 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Since 1971. [Online Database]. Accessed 1 February 2019.

Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: November 2018. [PDF Document]. Accessed 28 December 2018. [Note: We've converted all data to be in terms of current (nominal) U.S. dollars.]

U.S. Census Bureau. Median and Average Sales Prices of New Homes Sold in the United States. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 31 January 2019.

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February 4, 2019

The biggest news for S&P 500 (Index: SPX) investors in the final week of January 2019 was the Fed's announcement that it would pause both its series of interest rate hikes and its quantitative tightening program aimed at reducing its holdings of U.S. Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) on its balance sheet.

Investors responded positively to the Fed's official capitulation in the face of market reality, boosting stock prices up to the top of the range indicated by the redzone forecast in our alternative futures spaghetti forecast chart, which assumes that investors are maintaining their forward looking focus on the current quarter of 2019-Q1.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2019Q1 - Standard Model - Snapshot on 1 Feb 2019

Should stock prices break above their current level, it would indicate that investors are shifting at least part of their forward-looking attention toward 2019-Q2, which is a real possibility since the expectations for dividends to be paid out in this more distant future quarter rose from $14.65 per share to $14.75 per share during the past week.

The danger for investors continues to lie in what is expected to happen after 2019-Q2, as the rate of dividend growth appears set to considerably slow. If and when investors turn their attention to 2019-Q3 or 2019-Q4, the likely impact to stock prices will be to drop considerably. Just like what happened in December 2018.

Here are the major headlines that affected the outlook of investors during the final week of January 2019.

Monday, 28 January 2019
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Thursday, 31 January 2019
Friday, 1 February 2019

Elsewhere, Barry Ritholtz outlined the positives and negatives he found in the week's markets and economy-related news.

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February 1, 2019

Technology can be an amazing thing. Just consider today's cameras, which have become so small that they can fit inside spaces that would have been inconceivable even a few decades ago.

But that also means that they don't necessarily work the way we expect. How many times, for instance, have you accidentally taken a picture of something while fidgeting with your mobile? Better still, how many times has it turned out to be a picture worth keeping? Or something that you couldn't ever duplicate, no matter how hard you might try.

We imagine that's how the following image came to be, where we're not even sure that this is the right orientation to display it....

Spilling Light

More food for thought: When Accidental Art Is Better Than Your Actual Art

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