Results 1–50 of 56 found.
Muni Time of Trade Disclosure - Why a New Rule and Why the Delay?
The objective of the rule is simple: protect the retail investor. And, when it comes to the municipal market, the rule already exists. So why is Proposed Rule G-47 pending approval by the SEC, and how will it differ from the existing rule? Why is this well-intentioned and, as some believe, needed Rule the subject of an SEC Order that has delayed its implementation?
A Budget Deal Wimpy Would Like, Saturday Night Debate & A Word on Pensions
Saturday evening, I was asked by a reader (I was surprised to learn she was a regular reader) why I am always pointing out the potential pitfalls associated with data we capture and why so harsh on the good folks in our nations capital. "Things are actually pretty (darn) good - a deficit reducing budget is about to be passed, unemployment is the lowest it has been in years and the housing market is abuzz. Not to mention, the stock market has been pretty good to those that have invested." I responded that I respected her view but was truly bothered by the data, as evidenced by this weekl
A Week To Remember in Muni Land! Detroit and Illinois and Must Read Employment Data
What a week! Illinois passed pension legislation (I would have lost that bet) and Detroit can proceed with its bankruptcy. On the former, lets see if the long-overdue pension fix survives legal challenges from unions and helps Chicago address its pension issue. Perhaps those contemplating the legal challenge will look to Judge Steven Rhodes opinion in the Detroit bankruptcy case to find that he believes pension obligations are no different than any other contractual obligation.
Philly Fed, the Geo Score and A Housing Stat Making Some Blue
Following a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday that involved way too much food, I found myself doing all I could to avoid the Black Friday masses and succeeded until I took to the highway for a journey to Albany, NY - they were leaving the malls and, perhaps it was exhaustion from their day of shopping, but the traffic and driving skills left something to be desired. Those weary shoppers amassed along I-87 brought to mind the question of how healthy (or not so healthy) is the economy?
Talkin' Baseball and the Game (Data Really) of the Week
A lot to cover as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday. Last week saw some very interesting data - some of which I will get to and the balance of which I encourage you to explore (see the last page for "Data Updates"). Before I get to the data of the week, I take a look at baseball - well, not really. I offer some perspective around the Braves picking up and moving from Atlanta to nearby Cobb County.
Under the Spotlight, Pensions and Damn it Janet
Recently, I spoke on a panel regarding the State of Illinois (our panel literally Under the Spotlight). Our panel touched on many topics affecting the State but, when all was said and done, it seemed that the panel uniformly recognized that Illinois needed to do something about their pension problem (we had an interesting discussion about one party rule and speculated as to why they cant seem to get anything done on pension reform can you say re-election).
Confounding Friday Report, Pesky Housing Details, Stamps and Election Results
The markets rallied on Friday ostensibly because of the First Friday employment data was it good news (job creation) or bad news (rate is up and the Fed will keep juicing the market). Read on. Next, it is on to a look at housing data that seems to have been under the radar screen of the media. I conclude this week with a look at my election predictions. While I hit a touch over 50% (worthy of baseball hall of fame induction) the folks at the major networks wont be inviting me to work the election map anytime soon.
Geo Scores and Election Predictions
Its the economy, stupid. Im sure many of us remember that statement from a few years back. With a couple of gubernatorial and many mayoral elections at hand, I thought it might be fun to provide our call on these races by looking at how the economies of those States and cities have fared over the past year. If it is indeed the economy, stupid, the below may provide some insight into where incumbents are safe and where change may come. This report will print longer due to the inclusion of more tables than usual.
Crawling, Economic Impact of Stubbing Your Toe and Employment
I have to admit, I had a lot of trouble figuring out where to start this week -- unemployment from last week, post-shutdown observations, exports or sobering observations around expected growth of the US economy and expected implications. It was a Barrons article, Slowing to a Crawl that pushed me to address the latter first. Why? Much of what the article focuses on hit very close to home the impact of demographics and economic data on our economies.
Winners and Losers - Pensions and Food Stamps
To the brink they went and a deal was had. I dont know if I call it much of a deal I kind of feel like Ive seen this B movie before. I could go on but that would put me in the same stature as the talking heads on the left and right news channels that prophesize to their viewers without regard for the rest of us. That said, one quick digression.
A Look at Stale Data (Not Due to Gov't Shutdown) and Housing
I am confident that some type of deal will be reached to avert a default. And, lets keep in mind that, according to the CBO, the 10/17 deadline is really just a deadline to start making decisions about what to pay with the remaining $30 or so billion as they project another one or two weeks before the day of reckoning when there is only enough money to pay about 70% of the governments bills which bills to pay.
Shutdown, Debt Ceiling - Who Cares?
Driving home last week, the plight of furloughed Federal employees was on my mind. How could our elected officials in DC accept their pay for not doing their jobs while hurting folks that want to work but are told not to because the men and woman not doing their job (and still getting paid) shutdown part of the government? I was heartened to learn that Congress was going to take action but quickly realized that the fix paralleled the stupidity that got us into this mess. The legislation ensures that all furloughed employees will be paid for the furlough period.
DC Follies, Puerto Rico and A Report on Defaults and Bankruptcy
I start this week with some observations on the follies taking place in our nations capital, then provide some data around Puerto Rico and, finally, a look at a recently released report around municipal defaults. One might argue a common thread just might run thru this commentary. Be on the lookout for a special release later this week as the Geo Score is updated for States, Counties and over 330 Cities.
Shake & Bake and Pension Woes, One Man's Thoughts From the Frontline
This week I take a departure from form. After a few brief words around the Feds Shake and Bake maneuver and a very quick look at Food Stamp data, I return you to the capable hands of John Mauldin to dive into the Pension woes. We are honored that Mr. Mauldin based his work on DIVERs data and some of our tools. If you decide to follow Johns advice around your city, let us know if we can help. Be sure to check out the Data Released this Week as our data team was hard at work.
Tidbits Foreclosure, BK Signs and John Mauldin's Unrealistic Expectations
Some tidbits to start and then on to an outstanding guest commentary from the renowned John Mauldin. Our tidbits focus on Foreclosures and some insights around our review of some bankruptcy warning signs published by S&P Capital IQ. Our guest commentary, Unrealistic Expectations (I might have called it Unrealistic Assumptions), focuses on the daunting reality of underfunded pension plans.
First Friday Review, Opportunity Knocks, Pensions and Geo Score Bottom 10
This week I go far and wide.Initially, we take a look at the relatively poor First Friday Employment Report (you know the one the media loves to harp on).We then turn to a quick look at what some view as a buying opportunity and wonder if it is really so.Hint: if you know the answer with certainty, please let all of our readers know.We then move on to revisit the latest Pension data and ask the question: what would these figures look like if some of our factors were normalized?
Where's the Job Growth? Puerto Rico & Illinois and the ACA
Welcome back from your Labor Day weekend. This week we take a look at the employment data (pre-First Friday Employment Report) and try and find where there is Job Growth of any kind. We then take a closer look at Puerto Rico against the backdrop of some recent changes and comparative data, and close out with a look at the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
Chicago Post Script, Reported Data Errors (Really) and What is a “Geo Score”?
Regular readers know I periodically suggest looking at alternative data points to gain a broader perspective. In this instance, something a little different. At the core of the DIVER platform is our database and we take data integrity very seriously. So much so that we periodically find errors in reported data. Many times, the source will correct the data as we notify them. Typically, when we find an error in a CAFR, the source will defer the correction until the next CAFR is released. In DIVER however, we will display the accurate values.
Chicago and Detroit A Guest Commentary
A few weeks back, we brought you a guest commentary by Josh Laurito regarding the City of Detroit. His perspectives were well-received by our readers. This week, Josh is back by popular demand with some thoughts on his home town of Chicago. We believe there is great value in considering fresh perspectives from intelligent people that is precisely what Josh brings to the table.
Tapering, Munis and an Uneven Recovery
This weeks Tidbits are a bit longer text wise than usual. I focus on the end of QE (or the beginning of tapering) and then take a quick look at counties in Michigan feeling the impact of Detroits filing. I then move on to a review of a very uneven housing market and offer a quick observation on exports before concluding with some State Geo Scores to consider.
The Employment Situation and A Look at Housing
This week, we start with a return to our tidbits and then insight and thoughts around the Employment Situation as reported on Friday and our take on that and related data. We also take a look at Homeownership data and wonder if the glass is half full or empty.
Detroit A Guest Commentary and Noise from DC
This week I bring you a guest commentary from a friend and colleague, Josh Laurito. His blog post, Why Detroits Bankruptcy is a Bigger Deal Than You Think may rankle a few of you and cause others to challenge Joshs points. That is what he does so well he thinks outside of the box and offers context not necessarily shared by folks who are all munis, all the time. It is precisely these reasons that I encourage you to read on. In my years of knowing Josh, I have always found his thinking and approach to be insightful and, at times, a bit different.
A Tale from A Land Afar Comes Home, How Strong is This Recovery?
A break from our recent practice of tidbits. Theres a story you should read the similarities just might make you take notice. From there, I delve into the recovery and provide a bit more around our recently introduced Geo Score.
Detroit, Addicted to Fed $$
Last week, I left you with a hint that the July 8 commentary was to be a collectors edition. After reading this weeks you will know why (hint: it is in the title). I start this week with a guest commentary from Kate McDonough who takes a look at the Detroit Emergency Managers Proposal for Creditors. I then take a look at just how reliant we are on the Federal Government for revenue (beyond what the Federal Reserve is doing).
Defaults, Growth, Philly Fed and a Collector's Addition
The first Friday has come and gone. Initial reports were seemingly positive and then, I think, people read the report or they simply were shaking off the cobwebs from their Independence Day celebration. As always, we await the more detailed State, county and city numbers to avoid revisions to data of up to 30%.
Headlines, Patience, Pensions, Tax Collections, Income and Send a Letter!
Muni Tax Exemption Justification Please: Back in the news. As Congress makes another run at overhauling the tax code, the Senate Finance Committee had a pretty good idea lets start with a blank slate when it comes to deductions, exemptions and credits. The Committee has asked Senators for proposals around deductions and exemptions and to support the same.
Tidbits, Employment and Quotes to Make You Say...
The Fed roiled the markets this week announcing the end of QE may be near if A few things to consider: weve heard this before, the if is a big if (see below for some insightful quotes from John Mauldin) and, remember QE was the extraordinary measure taken by the Fed after dropping rates no longer accomplished the Feds goals. This month, the Fed noted that the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and labor market [has] diminished since last fall while in May they noted that they continued to see downside risks to the econ
Tidbits, Stabilization Funds, Rearview Mirrors and Magic 8-Balls
This week I decided to try something new think of it as the appetizer, dinner and dessert. The appetizer is our section of Tidbits, a look at some headlines and a thought or two around the same. The meal is where we take a deeper dive into a subject or two and dessert is where we round things out whats new, whats coming up and the like. If you dont like the new format, let me know.
Growth in GDP, A Quick Look at Droughts (Yes, Drought) and Pension Data
Im simply not going to take the bait and respond to the Employment Situation report. Regular readers know my thoughts around this monthly report that garners way too much attention (take a look back at the May 6 commentary and others around employment data). This week I focus on how and where State economies are growing, remind you of the availability of some critical data points and pass on some observations and opportunities around Pension data.
Employment Data, State of the States and Interesting Quotes Worth Exploring
I simply cant seem to shake the notion that some basic issues continue to exist despite some of the favorable headlines and discussions with some pretty smart people who think the worst is behind us (I do subscribe to the view that it is critical to seek out views contrary to my own to keep me in check). During these discussions or when revisiting their basis, I cant help but revert back to the data. After all, facts are facts.
The Puzzle Is Complex: Education Funding, Assessed Values and Housing Prices
While many look to Memorial Day as the official beginning of summer, we hope all took time to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day as a time to thank, recognize and remember those that have, are and stand ready to defend our country and all we stand for. I, for one, am incredibly grateful to the men and women that serve our country and put their lives on the line to defend our freedom, democracy and way of life.
Federal Spending, the Deficit and Debt Ceiling
As our regular readers know, we have a level of concern with regard to the budget deficit, the debt ceiling and all things related thereto. And, while many of us have concerns regarding maintenance of the tax-exemption for muni debt and the tax-deductibility of muni fixed income interest, this week we are approaching the world from a slightly different angle. The focus: how reliant are States and counties on the Federal Government and who is most reliant.
An Idea Around Disclosure and Something to Consider on Pension Reform
A fair amount was written this week regarding the SEC Cease and Desist Order against the City of Harrisburg (Order) and, while certainly not privy to all that was said, we want to take a slightly different perspective. Before getting there, a very brief summation of the Legal Discussion from the Order and the SECs Report of Investigation (Report).
Beyond the Headlines: Job Growth, Exports and Housing
Congress has done something for the American public. FAA, sequester, flight delays we can fix that! While I would usually take a cynical swipe at Congress (something like, did they act because they, too, were impacted by their own stubbornness), Ill let well enough alone and simply pass on a heartfelt thanks. Perhaps this is the start of something. I hear they are working closely on immigration reform and an exemption for Congress and their staff from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Ok, so two of three initiatives garnering bi-partisan support are purely self-ser
Employment Trending the Right Way and the DC Two-Step
Spring is in the air and it has nothing to do with the lovely weather we are experiencing here on the east coast. Congress both houses have done something for the American public. FAA, sequester, flight delays we can fix that! While I would usually take a cynical swipe at Congress (something like, did they act because they, too, were impacted by their own stubbornness), Ill let well enough alone and simply pass on a heartfelt thanks. Perhaps this is the start of something.
Federal Funds, Interest Rates and Defaults and Bankruptcies
This week we focus on Federal Funds delivered to the States and consider some interesting data points to contemplate as folks pretend to get a bit more serious about addressing fiscal issues at the National level. We move on to an interesting and surprising quote on rates and then a look at some facts and figures around bankruptcies and defaults.
Housing Is it Getting Better, A Second Look
This week we take a quick look at some of what is in the Presidents budget and then focus on the housing market (the title harkens back to something we wrote a few months back). You may sense, as you read on, Im a bit cranky this week. As you read through the housing section youll understand why.
Repealing Tax Exemption and Illinois Settlement Guest Commentaries
This week we are pleased to present two guest commentaries both from Ron Bernardi, President and CEO of Bernardi Securities, Inc. The first is an excellent white paper entitled Repealing Tax Exemption Impact on Small and Medium Sized Communities and highlights the impact of a repeal of tax exemption. The second covers three topics, Rons home turf, Illinois, a bit about Stockton and a bit on the Ways and Means hearing regarding tax-exemption.
Employment 401, Muni Index Says and New Data
This week we spend time looking back at employment data (promised two weeks back) and offer some perspective from a soon to be published book. We take a look at the DIVER Muni Index and conclude with an introduction of some new and meaningful data now available to our subscribers.
Smart People's Opinions, The Data Says and Some Looming Deadlines
Being on the road gives me a lot of time to read the views and opinions of many very smart people (Faber, Mauldin, Hussman, Hunt and Zhao this week citations below as they all are worth a read). An interesting thread runs through much of what I absorbed this week: they dont believe the hype.
Conflicting Data and Market and Credit Risk
Conflicting data and information is everywhere. The equity markets make new highs, the talking heads on the various business shows talk of the new bull run, unemployment is down and a recent article in Barrons highlights the fact that State tax revenues have increased for 11 quarters running fueled by a recovery in home prices (citing BlackRock). Others challenge the recently released employment numbers saying the headlines do not tell the whole story and, once the Fed steps back and the inevitable budget cuts (less increases) come, the economys true status will b
Spring is in the Air, Who's Buying Fixed Income and Exports
This week we start with a look at some bizarre coincidences that have us wondering if it is Spring that is the cause. We next look at who is buying so much debt and to contemplate the implications for the muni market. We conclude with a look at Exports and a reminder that the world really is a small place.
Federal Government Employment, Tax Exemption and the Drought
This week we focus very briefly on the sequester and Federal government employment and then revisit a subject that has faded but has the potential to reappear this Spring and Summer (the drought) and conclude with a quick look at housing prices. Well, as expected (how awful that this is what I've come to expect from our elected officials), the can was kicked down the road.
Sequester and Pension - Two Topics We Can't Get Enough Of!
This week we take a look at which States may be hit hardest by the imposition of the sequester. We then turn our attention to pensions and focus in on funded status, annual required contributions and just who may be left holding the bag (hint, it is who you think).
A Look at California, Thoughts on Employment and Why I Worry
This week we consider recent information and data regarding California, GDP and the employment picture. We also touch on why I worry about the next six months (at least). We conclude with a wrap up of the data imported into DIVER last week and coming road trips. Also, be on the lookout for a Lumesis press release and "Topic of Interest" paper later this week.
A Few Things to Consider. Plus a Look at Maine and Illinois
This week's commentary is a slight departure from our standard format. It's been a few weeks since we mentioned the fiscal cliff, sequestration and the like. This is due to our collective saturation and the perspective of so many that the problem was solved. Well, we want to provide a reminder or two and throw a few thoughts at you to kick around. We conclude with a quick look at Maine and Illinois.
Pensions, Housing and The Inauguration
This week we look to 2011 pension data for States and Cities and zero in on funded ratios, unfunded liabilities and some of the assumptions of the underlying plans. We also touch on recent housing data that gives us some hope and offer some thoughts following inauguration day. We conclude with a reminder to take a look at the MMA/Lumesis FAQ addressing Municipal Holdings and OCC/FDIC Compliance.
Population Trends, The Labor Force and a Look at the Muni Index
We start this week with a look at the DIVER Muni Index and then jump into a discussion about population trends, employment and wages. If you get no further than this opening, the short of it is that you really need to look closely at the data and where things are getting better really and where things are perceived to be better. This is especially so as some pundits suggest the higher tax rate on the wealthy will be beneficial to muni-land as more wealthy people seek to offset the increased tax burden.
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