What We’re Reading

by CC May 25, 2011 9:17 am • Commentary

S&P Futures:      1308.8     -4.7999 Last Updated: 09:10:00 AM



(Reuters) – Sales of newly built single-family homes rose for a second straight month in April and supply was the lowest in a year, but an overhang of previously owned houses on the market could hobble recovery.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday sales increased 7.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted 323,000 unit annual rate, the highest since December, also giving prices a lift.

The UK’s austerity cuts seem to be damaging growth (Bloomberg)

Today’s daily-dose-of-austerity…


Other data out includes, ironically, government spending growth of 1%, vs. the 0.2% expected. Imagine how bad things would have been if the number came in as expected.

Meanwhile, Q1 GDP was unrevised at 0.5%, but household spending tanked.

Oh yeah, and the UK’s deficit is getting worse, not better. (Seeking Alpha)

For Britain to miss its deficit target by $5 billion in a month is like the U.S. missing its deficit target by $360 billion in a year–it’s not a small miss. Just saying.

And in the US, how many elections does it take to prove that voters don’t want their Medicare cut? (NYT)

But after a 2010 election that seemed to signal not just a Republican resurgence but a rejection of big government and a need for bold, Tea Party-type steps to slash spending, the politics now look a whole lot more complicated. Both parties are being reminded anew that voters like the idea of budget cuts, but they often recoil when those cuts threaten the programs that touch their lives.


The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 1.1 percent in the week ended May 20.

The MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications rose 0.9 percent, holding at its highest level since December.

The gauge of loan requests for home purchases gained 1.5 percent.


Costco Wholesale Corp posted a higher quarterly profit as it sold more gasoline and got a boost from stronger foreign currencies.

The largest U.S. warehouse club earned $324 million, or 73 cents a share, in its fiscal third quarter ended May 8, compared with a profit of $306 million, or 68 cents a share, a year ago.

Costco, which sells everything from gas to diamond necklaces at a discount to its members, said net sales rose 16 percent to $20.19 billion in the quarter.


Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT), the world’s largest producer of chipmaking equipment, declined in Frankfurt trading after forecasting third-quarter profit and sales that missed analysts’ estimates, raising concern that semiconductor makers are trimming orders.


Bonus successful and now safe  Violet Beauregarde Immitation

A New Zealand truck driver who inflated “like a balloon” when he fell buttocks-first onto a compressed air nozzle is being described as lucky to be alive.

While working on Saturday, Steven McCormack slipped between the cab and the trailer of his truck and was impaled in the thigh by a high-pressure air cylinder which saw his body pumped full of compressed air.

The 48-year-old Bay of Plenty truckie told the Whakatane Beacon he felt as if he was going to explode and began to scream as his neck, feet and hands swelled up.

“I was blowing up like a football… it felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon,” he said.