Economics Update

First-time jobless claims skyrocket to 375 thousand. Last week was 306 thousand, so it’s about a 20% increase, and well over the consensus estimate of 320 thousand first time claims, though week to week data points are always noisy.

That being said, Consumer spending slowing in December, up only 0.2% from November is a lot less noisy, and at least as scary. First, 0.2% is a drop in real dollars, and second, this was December, the height of greed and excess season.

And in the “another day, another downgrade department”, S&P is looking at downgrading about $500 billion more in mortgage related securities.

We are not near the bottom.

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