The Audacity of MOPE

Thu, May 16, 2013 - 11:49am

With the metals down again today, I thought it was time to spread some information, not misinformation or disinformation.

The common MOPE regarding the rising U.S. stock market and potential Fed "tapering" is that finally, after four years of fits and starts, the U.S. economy is recovering and growing based on the improving economic statistics and burgeoning housing recovery. So is that really the case?

Yesterday, we discussed the fallacies of the latest BLSBS data and, as any regular reader of ZeroHedge knows, over the past 90 days almost every key metric of economic activity has "disappointed". Just today we had:

And, again, that's just today. The meme is that everything is finally getting better. Really? Really?? Hmmm. Let's go back to that housing starts thingy. As discussed yesterday, there's a certain LAW called The Law of Supply and Demand. For those who failed Econ 101, think of it in terms of a chart with a vertical axis and a horizontal axis. In it's most basic form, it looks like this:

What this is showing you is that price exists at the intersection of supply and demand. If you increase the supply or decrease the demand of an item, the price equilibrium is reset lower and price falls. Conversely, decreasing supply or increasing demand has the impact of raising prices. (See, it's not complicated. Maybe if you had spent more time studying and less time at the bar, you might have had a higher GPA!)

So, what does this mean for our supposedly robust housing recovery? While admitting that this is not the be-all-end-all, these four charts should be enough to give you pause and prompt you to consider whether the mainstream media is giving you the facts or just a heaping pile of MOPE.

If you're going to build a house, an apartment complex or an office building, you need to acquire a number of things. Most of the process is summarized quite neatly by Thornton Mellon in the clip below:

For the purposes of this discussion, however, let's keep it simple. For our house, we'll need lots of lumber for construction, copper for wiring and plumbing, aluminum for all the HVAC stuff and steel for the support columns and crossbeams. Again, price is a function of supply and demand so one might expect that a "robust" housing sector would be causing increased demand for these raw materials. One might expect that but one would be wrong.

Let's see, how's that lumber market doing?

And I think we all know that ole DrC hasn't been doing too well, either...

Uh-oh. Zero for two. Maybe aluminum and steel are faring better? Nope.

Ahh, but what do I know. I'm just a dope with a MacBook (that's for Turdle ). But it sure looks to me that there isn't much of a housing recovery going on. And if there isn't a housing recovery, then the U.S. economy isn't getting any better. And if the U.S. economy isn't getting any better, then tax revenues won't be increasing. And if tax revenues won't be increasing, then the federal deficit won't be falling. And if the deficit isn't falling, then the Fed will have to keep propping up the bond market. And if the Fed has to continue propping up the bond market, the idea of them "tapering" is simple nonsense. And if tapering is nonsense, explain to me why the metals are once again falling this week.

Well, the past three days, it's all started in London. I think I recall that Ranting Andy has a term for this action but I can't remember what it is. What I do know is that when the selling starts at 2:00 am New York time and carries on until about 7:00 am New York time, the selling is originating in London. And who's in London? Just the bullion banks, that's all, doing their dirty deeds to slant the market in the thin, pre-Comex trading, trying to set the tone for the spec momo HFT money to come charging in at the 8:20 EDT Comex open. It's not complicated and it's all right here for everyone to see:

For today, at least, their efforts have been thwarted by all the crappy economic news and we've got a bit of a bounce on our hands. (That hat is still looking tasty, though.) Maybe, just maybe, we're getting a double bottom painted onto the charts? We'll see. Time will tell.

One last thing to discuss today. You know, back in the day, over two years ago when silver was soaring, there was a lot of talk about Comex defaults and commercial signal failures. I have to admit being sucked in a bit by this back then. Obviously, it didn't happen and I've since been very wary of this kind of talk. Again, if we've learned anything these past three years or so its that the primary power held by TPTB is the power to postpone the inevitable. That said, the Comex gold inventory numbers are really beginning to capture my attention on a daily basis.

We discussed this a bit yesterday but it's worth going over again today. After JPM reclassified another 160,000 ounces of gold from Registered (able to be used to for contract delivery) to Eligible (not ready for delivery), the TOTAL Comex registered inventory fell again yesterday and it now stands at just 1,676,000 troy ounces or about 52 metric tonnes.

Recall that every Comex gold contract is for 100 ounces. This means that the Comex registered vaults only have enough gold on hand to physically settle just 16,760 contracts. Big deal, you say. So what, you mutter. And you may be right. Most likely, The Shell Game & Charade will continue through the clever reclassification of more than enough rehypothecated gold from Eligible to Registered. OK, maybe. But chew on this for a minute.

The first "delivery" month for gold this year was February. That month, the total number of contracts standing for delivery totaled more than 13,000. This was somewhat odd in that that was nearly more than August, October and December of 2012 combined. That got my attention. Then, when April delivery rolled around, just 6,600 initially stood for delivery. Crisis passed, right? February was just a one-off. An outlier. Uhhh, nope. Over the course of the month, money continued to flow into the April contract for immediate delivery. These buyers were ponying up 100% margin and "jumping the queue" to some extent in that they were seemingly unwilling to wait for June. In the end, when it was all said and done, the Comex ended up delivering to 11,632 contracts in April.

And now here we come toward June. First Notice Day for the June contract is two weeks from tomorrow, the 31st. Again, on that day, the June13 stops trading and all contract holders must put up 100% margin in order to indicate their intent to take delivery. As of yesterday, the total open interest in the June contract was still 200,477. No doubt the vast majority of these are paper traders who, as we approach the end of this month, will sell or cover and roll into August. However, some will hold, intent upon taking delivery. (Maybe if you're Shanghai and you're currently completely cleaned out of gold in your vaults, you might take delivery of a few contracts? Hey, a guy can hope, can't he?) Of course, the question is, how many?

Again, as of this moment, The Comex only has enough Registered gold to settle 16,760 contracts. For some perspective, when we were 11 days out from FND for the April contract, the OI for April was 196,135. When we were 11 days out for the Feb13, the OI was 200,441. So, having the current June OI stand at 200,477 tells us very little. However, we must watch this very closely in the days ahead. Let's keep an eye on Comex vault changes and compare that to the daily drawdown of June open interest.

OK, that's all for today. Once again I plead with you to keep the faith and stand defiant. The laws of supply and demand are currently impacting paper metal which, in turn, impact the price of physical metal, too. This cannot and will not last forever. Hang in there.


About the Author

turd [at] tfmetalsreport [dot] com ()


May 17, 2013 - 2:45am

Well, they sure as heck are

Well, they sure as heck are putting the pressure on one of Syria's backers.

Al Arabiya and Reuters -

The United States is to rigorously enforce a ban on gold sales to Iran from July 1, in a further tightening of sanctions over Tehran's disputed nuclear activities.

David S. Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told lawmakers in testimony there had been an increase in gold sales to Iran in response to the sharp depreciation in Iran's currency, the rial.

The U.S. will enforce "without fear or fail" sanctions starting on July 1 that ban governments or private companies from selling gold to Iran, Cohen said on Wednesday.

The rial has lost two-thirds of its dollar value since late 2011 as a result of Western sanctions targeting the banking system and oil exports over Tehran's disputed nuclear activities, putting many Iranians under financial pressure.

"I can assure you we are looking very carefully at evidence that anyone outside of Iran is selling gold to the government of Iran," Cohen told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in testimony on Iran.

From July 1, the United States will ban the transfer of any precious metals or gold to Iranian state and private institutions, as well as Iranian citizens, as part of its effort to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear program.

May 17, 2013 - 3:03am

OT - recommendations in Vancouver? + LCS report + MidEast

I will be traveling to Vancouver soon for the first time. Any West Coast Canadians (or other well-travelled Turdites) care to recommend worthwhile family destinations in or around the Most Liveable North American city? If so, please PM so as not to clutter the board with such non-metal-related frivolity... :-) Decent/friendly LCS recommendations also welcome.

FWIW - LCS report in Seattle suburbs: LCS restocked with silver, but only a few hundred face 90%, generic rounds and 10 oz bars -- nothing else. 90% coins at $20.50 per dollar face value for dimes/quarters, $21 for halves. Generic rounds (Sunshine Mint, Golden State Mint) and 10 oz. bars at $2.75 over spot. No ASE or Maples, except wildlife series (buffaloes, I think) at $7 over spot. Decent collection of AGE in all denominations, but a smaller-than usual collection of other gold items -- sovereigns were pretty much all they had in non-US fractional gold. Valcambi break-off bars at spot+$10 per gram seemed like quite the rip-off.


PS: Interesting discourse about the realpolitik of the Syrian conflict on ZH -- what the Tylers miss, the readers fill in. Worth a look.

Other background reading: Pipelineistan by Pepe Escobar via RT:

"The key (unstated) reason for Qatar to be so obsessed by regime change in Syria is to kill the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, which was agreed upon in July 2011. The same applies to Turkey, because this pipeline would bypass Ankara, which always bills itself as the key energy crossroads between East and West.

It’s crucial to remember that the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is as anathema to Washington as IP. The difference is that Washington in this case can count on its allies Qatar and Turkey to sabotage the whole deal.

This means sabotaging not only Iran but also the 'Four Seas' strategy announced by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2009, according to which Damascus should become a Pipelineistan hub connected to the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The strategy spells out a Syria intimately connected with Iranian – and not Qatari – energy flows. Iran-Iraq-Syria is known in the region as the 'friendship pipeline.' Typically, Western corporate media derides it as an 'Islamic' pipeline. (So Saudi pipelines are what, Catholic?) What makes it even more ridiculous is that gas in this pipeline would flow to Syria and then Lebanon – and from there to energy-starved European markets close by."

In looking for an illustration on pipeline plans I stumbled across this -- related concept, with reverse flow direction:

Are Syria and Pakistan Pieces of the Puzzle for a Mega Gas Pipeline to China?

Additional background:

ISGS has been mandated by the Government of Pakistan (GOP) to develop natural gas import projects, and to serve as an interface between the GOP and other national and international agencies for the import and storage of natural gas in Pakistan.

Iran-Pakistan pipeline: Iran’s new lifeline (2009)

(Middle East Strategy at Harvard was discontinued at the end of 2009, archive of all articles in PDF here)

Pakistan’s Energy Savior: Iran

"One long-term solution the U.S. has pushed for is the “trans-Afghanistan pipeline” that would bring Turkmenistan gas to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan. For decades Washington has advocated running pipelines through Afghanistan as a way to circumvent Iran. Although the current reiteration of the trans-Afghanistan pipeline— which is sometimes referred to as the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline— has the backing of the Asian Development Bank, such projects have typically faltered in the past because of a lack of security inside Afghanistan. Still the parties continue to explore the feasibility of building the “trans-Afghanistan pipeline,” which would come on line in 2017 at the very earliest."

Cyprus, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan, Caucasus, Russia, China, US --- my, what a tangled web... All tied up in a bow. All but a few with an interest in (and existing trade agreements for) transacting in non-USD terms -- some already underway in gold-based deals... Roubini contributed to a report claiming Iran can/will trade as much as $20B per year in gold for oil in 2013 (I calculate that to be around 444 metric tons).

Add funding for various factions of Arab/Islamic/AQ/Uighur/nationalist/anti-superpower-of-one-flavor-or-another militants across all of the above by most of the parties involved... (See: Sibel Edmonds on Lew Rockwell or James Corbett shows, talking about US funding of 'freedom fighters' in various regions to advance strategic US interests or thwart Sino-Russian ones) The very fact that widespread regional war has not yet broken out is in itself an ominous development... ;-]

"In the war which we are now engaged, racial affinities are not severed by migration. [...] [T]he very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken."

(War Department 1942, 34) - Lieutenant General John L. De Witt, commanding general of the Western Defense Command, arguing that it was a military necessity to evacuate "Japanese and other subversive persons from the Pacific Coast."

PS: And all I wanted to do originally was to point to an interesting thread on ZH... :-)

May 17, 2013 - 3:26am


Don't tell me. It's a view of the M25 from space?

May 17, 2013 - 3:39am

@JY896 Great post

Why is always about pipelines, oil, gas & water? Sure makes some economic sense to try to have them go through areas LESS conflicty (?). Anyway why doesn't this surprise me? With Iran having Caspian Sea access it really is of little wonder why the Westerners want to deal with Iran...hmmm..elections coming up there right now. No time to jangle the old belltower, wait and see.

If you're going right into Vancouver and not just the lower mainland then to eat I would say The Wallflower cafe is good, not fancy but the food is insane.

Oh and we have to pay a significant amount more than our US counterparts for restaurant prepared!

I really like Kitsilano beach...actually the whole area but it may not be beach weather when you arrive. Deep Cove is interesting, feels like a small mill town but its right close to Vancouver, a boat rental there is not bad if you have the cash. Les Miserables is performing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, nice enough theatre, none too shabby. Lynn Canyon is okay assuming the family is into some parklike activities.

Really the whole lower mainland and Vancouver has everything, maybe not to USA standards but good for Canada. ;-)>

There is a Childrens Festival at Granville Island (downtown Vancouver) on the 27th and 28th of May, might need tickets for that. Kayak/bike rentals down at Granville island, used to be a Harley shop right close by too in case you wanted to compare prices and kick tires.

Horseback riding is all over the lower mainland and even inside the confines of Vancouver. If you want to play board games with the kids while eating breakfast/lunch you could try The Rumpus Room.

May 17, 2013 - 4:03am

@philipat Nah brah

M25 still has lots of room.

May 17, 2013 - 4:08am


Is it possible that the holders of GLD are selling paper shares and this is what is reducing the inventory? Could this GLD sold into the market also be what is driving spot prices down? If so when all the GLD is sold what happens?

May 17, 2013 - 4:16am

Eating The Japanese Bear

As I write the Nikkei is 15,000 and I have just closed my leveraged longs because the end of such a run can be so volatile you may as well take 5,000 points in profit and leave the other 1,000 to the birds.

It doesn’t take a genius to see 16,000 as a first stop for the market. The chart underlines why it is good to be cautious too.

What next then?

Are there bears in the woods and what are they doing?

There is a market dump that could hurt Japan and the Nikkei—the JGB, the government bond. Something looks likely to halt the vertical progress of the market, at least for a time and the JGB could well be the brake.

Suddenly JGB bond yields have rocketed, at least by Japanese standards. At the initial stages of the new Japanese QE, interest rates vanished but they have come back and now are fast approaching 1%.

This is scary on several levels. The government has such titanic debts it can’t afford to pay high interest rates to service them, at least not in the long run. That’s not an acute problem to force a correction, but what could be is that banks have a good deal of their assets in government debt and higher interest rates would smack down the value of these bonds and hence dent the banks’ capital asset.

There would be bears everywhere if interest rates hit 3%-4% and Japanese banks’ capital adequacy was eviscerated. This is, of course a global QE unwinding issue, but that’s another article.

So what will likely happen? The answer is more QE where the BOJ will buy back bonds forcing the yield down and of course cancelling a fair proportion of the Japanese national debt. Inflation up, GDP up, debt to GDP down.

This is the set up for a mighty bull.

Once 16,000 conniptions are out of the way, and interest rates are kept in check through more QE, it’s risk on again. The sky is the limit on many good, and not so good, ways.

So Bull is off the menu and in the market to stay; Kobe beef is going to get very expensive before the end of this new era.

May 17, 2013 - 4:26am

For JakeBlues, Gold Dog and all Retronauts

(allegedly) never-before-seen Blues Brothers Photographs by Norman Seeff, 1978/1981

If you have a bit of time to waste, I can recommend the site

Among other gems:

- Nancy Reagan in Mr. T's lap

- Martha Stewart as a model

- The Beatles aged 64

- Reddi-bacon, 1964 (toaster-friendly bacon)

- “Mick Jagger Forms Group”, 1962

- 1957-59: The Quarry Men

- The Beatles waiting to cross Abbey Road

Ladies fashion for Blythe:

...and much, much more.

PS: Thanks, Hagarth. Great stuff!

May 17, 2013 - 5:51am

@Hagarth…….lol Kobe beef is

@Hagarth…….lol Kobe beef is going to get very expensive before the end of this new era. Yeah but it is damned good. Melts in the mouth

May 17, 2013 - 6:14am

People who think there is a

People who think there is a gold and silver shortage are IMHO delusional. Gold falls $250. And I am suppose to get excited over physical bars trading $5/ounce over the paper spot price???? As if that is anything but noise in a volatile market.

We are now about 2 weeks away from the summer doldrums in the commodity markets. Better stock up on your antacid or look the other way for a couple of months.

May 17, 2013 - 6:24am

I wonder

I wonder how much of the recent PM weakness is due to the USD index trying to breakout above 84.10.

If you look at this mornings 2 am hit (london open) it corresponds with a run in the USD index to 84. The 84.10 level was last hit back in June 2012 and is the high since Aug 2010, so kind of a big deal if it can be breached. The current run reached as high as 84.09 on Wednesday, just before gold was taken back under 1400.

Today's USD index high was reached at 2:30 am at 83.98 but since has started to fade with both the Euro and Yen strengthening.

Given the seeming built in correlations between the USD index and PMs I'd be very happy to see the run to 84 fail again, but it definitely bears watching because a breech would set off all kinds of interrelated stops.

May 17, 2013 - 6:25am

@ Motley Crew

Man did you strike a killer blow at the heart on the wild side.

"Go share your amazing insights with people who are willing to hear them."

Mötley Crüe - Wild Side (Official Music Video)

Yes. We are all a bunch of

Audacious MOPE

alan2102 J Y
May 17, 2013 - 6:52am

JY896 - The Great Game

Hagarth: "Why is always about pipelines, oil, gas & water?"

Because those are the essentials of modern life. With enough oil and water, you can get or make (mine, refine, grow, etc.) just about anything else.

JY896: "In looking for an illustration on pipeline plans I stumbled across this -- related concept, with reverse flow direction:
Are Syria and Pakistan Pieces of the Puzzle for a Mega Gas Pipeline to China? "

Great link, great post, thanks!

From that link:

The “Great Game” is being played out by two rival blocs in Syria. On one side stand the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, while on the other stand China, Russia, and Iran. Hence the following can be restated: “The Mediterranean has literally become an extension to the international and dangerous rivalries for control of Central Asian and Caucasian energy resources” (Nazemroaya 2007). Israel is also a player in this game.


Ultimately, in context of Eastern Mediterranean natural gas supplies, Syria is about China, just like the present “Second Scramble for Africa” that has targeted Sudan, Libya, and Mali. In this regard NATO’s war on Libya and the siege against Syria are two fronts in the same war, which is aimed at neutralizing the Chinese. The same goes for the internal crises in Pakistan.

“The bifurcation of military and financial power globally as well as the economic rise of East Asia both continue” as part of what scholars like Giovanni Arrigghi (2010:381) believe is a “hegemonic transition.” Washington’s shift towards the Asia-Pacific is aimed at dealing with the Chinese and preventing Beijing from outmatching the United States on the world stage. Washington has worked to destabilize the planned Eurasian energy corridor(s) to China.

...... reflects what I've been posting about recently regarding the two great global power blocks: the U.S./U.K./Israel/NATO/etc. side, and the BRIICS/Eurasian side. It is an epic struggle, being played on multiple fronts. Our concern here is with the monetary front; we advocate physical gold and silver over paper/dollars, which is directly contrary to the interests of "our" side. We are in effect advocates for BRIICS -- friends of the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians. As I said before, some (crazy) people might even characterize us as traitors, or "financial terrorists", when the reality is that we are just trying to introduce some sanity into a world gone mad.

May 17, 2013 - 7:41am

speaking of Beef

I had a steak in Jacksonville Wednesday night that easily the best I've had since some apple-fed Nagano Prefecture beef a decade ago. It was grass fed from Florida (this restaurant uses local foods if they can). Seriously, the filet didn't need a knife.

For Katie if she hasn't seen this.

May 17, 2013 - 7:58am


Stock and bond markets never going down again despite a lack of real growth in economy. Precious metals never going up again as Dick Cheny correct: deficits don't matter. US never going to be the same as more and more go on various forms of welfare. Never is never right. Everything goes in cycles. Its not over till its over. Just some early morning thoughts. Biggest profits this year? GLL and ZLS.

May 17, 2013 - 7:58am


Stock and bond markets never going down again despite a lack of real growth in economy. Precious metals never going up again as Dick Cheny correct: deficits don't matter. US never going to be the same as more and more go on various forms of welfare. Never is never right. Everything goes in cycles. Its not over till its over. Just some early morning thoughts. Biggest profits this year? GLL and ZLS.

May 17, 2013 - 8:06am


It'll hit 85 and then some before it hits 75 or below. Kudos to JY896 and his interesting and informative posts lately. Good job(s), it hasn't gone unnoticed. Also, P4 had a succinct and spot on view about a shared currency and a euro comparison came to my mind also when I read the global CB article. Remarkably coincidental and to my surprise, I did a post on here many moons ago (thousands ago) that I spoke conceptually of a shared currency scenario and I called the instrument the "banco". Looks like I was close to what the author called their unit recently....the "bancor". I'm sharing GL's outlook on that and think it unlikely that the Fed would ever share their current power or yield the USD's hegemony to anyone else or the IMF willingly. If it ever comes down to it I see a gold implied FRN and gold wildly and arbitrarily re-inflated by the Treasury to some figure that gives everyone lots of current debt cushion and ceiling room for growth. Sadly imho they'll be a war before that's allowed and it'll be an oily & golden one at that.

May 17, 2013 - 8:33am
May 17, 2013 - 8:37am

safe to say

I think it is safe to say our shit is going no where until the dollar starts tanking and yields start rising. I also think we are going no where this summer and most likely not this year. Shorting the market is foolish. We are at the beginning stages of hyperinflation. I see the dow hitting thousands of points higher from here until this thing collapses from hyperinflation. A government against its people is a rotten thing. I never thought that it could go on this long either. What a fucked up world we live in.

Gold Dog
May 17, 2013 - 8:42am

Thanks JY!

It was a golden era with those guys showing up at various places, (bars), around Chicago!

Your friend,


May 17, 2013 - 8:42am


i'm thinking that was the Orsay...........on Park street.

i've heard about it but its alittle too far to go to dinner for me.

thanks for the autism chart..............i musta missed that on mercola.

May 17, 2013 - 8:50am


it was called Seasons 52, next to the Costco at Butler and Gate.

May 17, 2013 - 8:51am

I've said it before and I

I've said it before and I will continue to say it. This is an American/UK/Canada/Europe heavily currency denominated bias (obviously) here.

Now go look at the rest of the world (i.e the majority of the planet) then come back and tell me how the price of au is.

Some people here need to get a serious grip on things.

edit. Feel free to ignore this bit but to the dude that dissed The English and called them whiners, go fuck yerself :) Nonce. yeah we are having a shocking time in Tokyo. Just awful

argent rampant
May 17, 2013 - 8:59am

G20 working group in Istanbul

It has been over a week since this conference on "Global Finance In Transition" was supposed to take place. One of their topics was "Reinventing Bretton Woods". Lots of web articles before the conference, but NOT A SCRAP of news since (at least not that I have found). What gives?

DPH - what's up, man??

May 17, 2013 - 9:00am
May 17, 2013 - 9:01am


USDX breaks 84.1, currencies keep falling, gold drops, then stops and reverses ..... this may be a key point ... or not ... but it should be clear which way relatively soon ....

in other news ... $C getting pounded today .. usually a good sign of US economic weakness (resource driven).

May 17, 2013 - 9:08am

Bee intelligence

Just forwarded on the link about Putin making Kerry wait because he is pissed about the Bee situation to a friend who has bee hives.

Just got a note back that said all his 10,000 bees in his hive, died suddenly this late winter/early spring


May 17, 2013 - 9:13am

What's Wrong with Crude??

What's Wrong with Crude??...momo chasing algos driving it higher or what....Base metals....Precious Metals..nice turnaround...what's going on??

Gold Dog
May 17, 2013 - 9:14am


Please work!

This is beautiful! Posting pictures will help tons!


May 17, 2013 - 9:17am


but why?????????????????????????????


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