NATIONAL RAIL STRIKE has been AVERTED is the BIG STORY so far TODAY ~ Sept. 15, 2022

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Word that the national Rail Strike had been averted was the big story here early today.  Has us looking at a possible upside pop today and wondering “Is this a ‘Be Long or Wrong’ moment for traders?”

A lot of other data has landed, though.  Let’s roll through them:

Retail Sales

This one is the psychological lynchpin.  And, as you know, we have been watching the dynamic that develops when inflation is afoot:  To what degree will people buy-forward, realizing that with 8.3 YoY inflation things will likely cost more – lots more- in the future?  Today, a partial answer:

“Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2022, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $683.3 billion, an increase of 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, and 9.1 percent (±0.7 percent) above August 2021. Total sales for the June 2022 through August 2022 period were up 9.3 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago.

Big Box stores and onliner’s will be using this as input into Christmas sales forecasts.  Christmas is in 102 days from now (101 to hit Christmas Eve).

Import-Export Prices

Again, another closely-watched indicator.  Thanks to the recent strength of the US Buck (and the mess Europe has made of things) we expected some moderation, especially with falling oil prices:

“The price index for U.S. imports declined 1.0 percent in August and 1.5 percent in July, the first time import prices have decreased in consecutive months since February, March, and April 2020. Prices for U.S. imports advanced 7.8 percent for the year ended in August, the smallest 12-month increase since the index rose 7.1 percent from March 2020 to March 2021.

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices decreased 6.8 percent in August, after a 7.5-percent decline the previous month. The declines in August and July were the first consecutive 1-month drops since the index decreased
in October and September 2020. Despite the recent declines, import fuel prices rose 48.5 percent from August 2021 to August 2022. Lower petroleum prices in August, down 7.1 percent, led the decrease in fuel
prices. The decline followed a 6.9-percent drop in July and was the largest monthly decrease since petroleum prices fell 7.7 percent in December 2021. Natural gas prices also declined in August, decreasing 2.8 percent, after falling 20.4 percent in July. The price indexes for petroleum and natural gas each increased over the past year, rising 48.1 percent and 66.5 percent, respectively.”

We expect that the Oil prices will move up as soon as the election is done, so we’ve got the attitude “Enjoy it while you can, sport.”

Empire State Manufacturing

First of two Fed regions to put on their look-ahead spec’s and tell us how they see future arriving:

“Business activity held steady in New York State, according to firms responding to the September 2022 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed thirty points to -1.5. New orders edged higher, and shipments increased sharply. Delivery times held steady, and inventories expanded. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in employment and no change in the average workweek”

This isn’t the only District-level view out today.  there’s also the…

Philly Fed Report

This one doesn’t usually contradict the NY Fed outlook:

“Manufacturing activity in the region declined overall in September, according to the firms responding to this month’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The indicator for current activity returned to negative territory, the new orders index remained negative, and the shipments index also declined but remained positive. The firms reported continued increases in employment. The price indexes continue to indicate increases in prices overall. Expectations for growth over the next six months were subdued, as the future general activity index improved but remained negative.”

Between these two forward-looking reports, you can hedge your bets on whether the Fed will deliver a half, three-quarters, or a full one percent rate hike at 2 PM (Eastern time) Wednesday of next week.

UKR-UFO’s — Seriously Worrying

Just listen for a minute because while this sounds nuts…

We start with the story out that Ukraine’s Astronomers Say There Are Tons of UFOs Over Kyiv (vice.com).  Key part to take note of is when this flurry of activity actually started.  It’s not clear.

The story goes on a bit about how these might be UFOs under control of the US government.  But seems to us, that’s a crock.  The reason is?  There is not a lot of military concern about Kiev.  Rather, if there was a military aspect to this, it  would be the likelihood of the UFO sightings being more adjacent to actual fighting.

What we find TERRIBLY WORRYING is that Kiev could be a nuclear target in the near future.

Our reasoning is quite simple:  UFOs are a common event ahead of major earthquakes.  In fact, there’s a book on Amazon )”UFOs, Earthquakes and the Straight Line Mystery: The Answer to the UFO Enigma“) where some of the evidence is collected.  I don’t personally agree on the author’s view of the cause, however.

To my way of looking at the data, it’s more likely related to portaling phenomena and, as a results, when we have things like (possible) UFO near the Trinity site (Roswell case) as well as major quakes (earthquake lights?) then we might want to consider that just as the 2004 sightings came ahead of the Banda Aceh quake, then so too, the worry here is that UFOs could be coming to look at the area where a dimensional shift is likely (earthquakes and nukes may be involved).

Seems to us, the appearance over Kiev could be a prequel to a nuke in the ‘hood and something to be very much concerned about as time rolls along.

Various and Sundry

Sundry: (n) “Various items not important enough to be mentioned individually.”

The Migrant Dumping Wars are on.  First, Texas shipping illegals to New York.  Then, New York shipped some to Florida.  Then presidential hopeful governor DeSantis got serious: Ron DeSantis ships 2 planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard (nypost.com).

The Case for Big Caliber guns: Hunter attacked by moose after attempting to bow-hunt it.

Speaking of Hunters, the Kid Cover Ups continue:  Judge won’t force disclosure of records on alleged episode with Hunter Biden’s gun.Special People, Special Treatment: Which part of the judge in this being appointed by a democrat (Barack O), surprises you?

 Meanwhile, Hunter Biden trying to lower child support for 4-year-old love child.  Did he give too much to Pops?

Mah-Mah-Mah-My Fiona: (An old man  riff off My Sharona, the Knack, 1979)

Say, wouldn’t this be an ideal time to set up and own a kite shop on Grand Turk, maybe a short walk from the Kitina?  Meantime, I was shocked (speaking of Turks and Caicos) that one of my haunts on Providenciales  when we were setting up jet service there in ’84, or so, was learning the Third Turtle Inn was no longer providing the best tourist view of the small fleet of Cigarette boats running “agricultural products” into the Florida Keys from points south badck then.  Magic times, the eighties, in the Caribbean… Like living on the fringes of Miami Vice sometimes. (All night long. L. Ritchie, 1983).  Lunch at Christy’s in Boca, anyone?

Speaking of riffs:  Are we the only ones to notice the Queen’s burial Monday will come on International Talk Like a Pirate Day?

ATR:  The 7-hour Roof

Great crew (all five) who put the new roof on our old trailer in the woods Wednesday.  It was like watching choreography how the shingles went from ground level up to the roof:

One worker would get a bundle, shoulder it and up the ladder.  As soon as he was loaded, a second worker on the ground (resting) would pick up his load to follow.  While the first worker got on the roof with his bundle, another worker already on the roof would come down.  He’d become the new stand-by to come down.

As the shingle laden worker took his bundle to the right spot, the fifth worker moved in queue to the ladder, and the process repeated like that, with the worker having dropped his bundle in place came back to stand for his place going back down for another load.

It was really useful to watch.  Absolute team work.

We tend to forget, I think, on American construction projects in particular, that in the end, it all comes down to humans doing things.  Anymore, construction sites (especially on big data centers and the like) tend to having too many people with noses in computers, tripping over each-other’s dick and just ruining good work by making upo bullshit/useless reports and “supervising” people they’re wholly unqualified to either judge or work with.

Reminded me that human labor is what counts.  Not reports in Excel or pages of change orders in Project.

Watching the work going on as a whole roof *(down to the decking and with new membranes and vents) all happened in an Amazing 7-hour stretch.  All helped by usiung a 10-gallon add-on air tank so that when the nailing began, there was always plenty of air and no waiting on anything.

Even the cleanup was minimal.  Because the crew backed the 16-foot high-rise trailer right up to the sidewall.  As things came off the roof, they didn’t go on the ground – right into the dump rig.

When I see crews like that, I sometimes think that before today’s “project managers” should be allowed on ANY worksite, they should be required to reach senior apprentice or journeyman status first.  THEN when you go to school, the theory will make a lot more sense.  Remember, I didn’t bother with my first college degree until age 37, or so.  I was the “come up on the working side” and have a ton of respect for anyone who does.  Because they can handle a hammer, read a plan, and  actually make shit happen.

Not saying all project managers are bad.  But mostly, my first-hand experience is that they’re on scene only because the shitheads in HR hire based on politics and checkboxes instead of teamwork and getting the job done.  I was the “contracting company” boss on a lot of construction projects.  I made it a practice to do my (other, real) management job and only go to the sites being built once or twice a week, and then it was only for decisions the end-user/customer needed to make.  Maybe move a light which didn’t look right on the plans.

I stayed the hell out of the way and let the journey do he journey.  Next time you hear about late and over budget on any project?  Count the number of managers.  If more than 1 per 20 real workers, something’s off.  Yesterday, my “project management” duties consisted of 2-minutes lining out where NOT to run the truck over the septic field and a few words about my ladders.

Pappy always told me in his firefighting days, a 3 (sometimes 4) man engine company didn’t need a “supervisor” – they needed another hand on an inch-and-a-half to knock down the fire. Oftentimes, too many chiefs and not enough hoses on the fire.

We live in hope for change but looks like a long shot.

Write when you get rich,

George@Ure.net

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