I'm Lovin' It: Even though McDonald's 4Q sales were weak, the company's earnings came in a penny more than anticipated. Globally, comparative store sales fell 0.1% while in the US they were a -1.4% and in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa grouping comp sales were of -2.4%. If Macky D is a bellwether for the global economy, we just got our bell rung.
Slip Sliding Away: Existing home sales fell at a 27.9% annualized rate in 4Q2013. A separate report noted that the 30 -34 year old cohort has the lowest rate of homeownership on record for that group, a full 6.5 percentage points lower than those five years older had achieved at the same age. Realtors claim this is good, because it means “pent up demand” is growing in pentedliness.
Wrong In So Many Ways: That Warren Buffett has a billion dollars to wager on college basketball is dubfoundlingly sad when there are millions of hungry and homeless children in this country. It's not Warren, it's the system.
Asked & Answered: Why are wage so low today? Because you do not belong to a union. It's that simple. The anti-labor movement’s greatest victory has been in convincing a huge sector of the population that they don't need unions. If you don't own the business, you are a worker with essentially no power. You need to join a union.
Flippantly: All-cash purchases accounted for 42.1 percent of all U.S. residential sales in December, up from 18.0 percent in December 2012." In Florida 63% of house purchases were for cash. The rich and cash heavy institutions that are buying these houses don't need mortgages – although it would add leverage to their profits when they flip these places off onto the unwary.
Data Point: Adverse reactions to prescribed medications are the fourth leading killer in America, right behind doctors.
The High Paid Spread: Not only do the richest 85 individuals own more of the world's wealth than the poorest 3,500,000,000, the richest 1% own 46% of all the wealth, and the top 10% control 86% of all the riches. The 4 billion in the bottom half get to share just 1% of the world's accumulated wealth. If you've got $4,000, you are in the top half of the pile. It only takes $75,000 to be one of the globe's top 10%. Despite American's self-proclaimed superiority in all things, most of us are worth less than most Italians (and we're in 27th place in that category).
Too Much Of A Bad Thing: It's time to fight over the debt ceiling again. The Treasury Secretary has warned Congress that the Federal govenment would reach its borrowing limit by Early March. The country should be warned that the Republicans are coming, again.
Porn O'Graph: Think of it as a sandpile, where one more grain might start an avalanche.
The Parting Shot: