Mid Day Rambling

The employment report today proved to be a non event–as almost all reports of any type have been lately.  Given that the wage component of this report was relatively benign at a plus .2% the rest of the report is somewhat ignored.  If the wage component it was +.4% instead we would have had real fireworks in the interest rate complex as it would be like screaming ‘fire’ in a theater.

This leads to a bit of a quandry–we used to write about the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.   The ‘have nots’ are feeling pretty good about their situation (whatever it may be), but if we stay in this stagnant low wage growth environment we wonder how long they will stay feeling good.  We know that CEO’s are making out like bandits (in some cases they are really bandits–in my opinion)–but is the lower end really doing that well?  Consumer confidence numbers say folks are happy–but these reports show very low wage growth–somebody is telling a fib we think.

The 10 year treasury is pretty flat–up and down a basis point.  The stock market is in the normal start weak and come blowing back mode.  This is all about the traders who detect the trend.  When the DJIA starts off down 100 or 300 points the short term traders pile in driving it up 200 or 300 points.   If you are playing with a $10 million bankroll this has been providing some tidy returns.

I just looked over the baby bonds and preferreds and see everything is quiet.  Maybe the biggest item today is the 2 HSBC trust preferreds that were announced for call today.  Guess all of the holders at $26.15 took a tad bit of a spanking on that call–hopefully they knew the risk they were taking and didn’t just buy yesterday so they could get the high 7’s% yield–if it was a newbie holding the shares they learned a lesson–if it was Gridbird he had the risk factored in.

We have been waiting all week for a money transfer to make a new investment, but just checking the account it has still not arrived.  Never had a transfer from my checking account take this long (a week).  We will likely write about the new investment this weekend regardless of whether the money arrives.

Hopefully everyone will have a good weekend.  Spring finally arrived in Minnesota so I have laid down a nice nitrogen on our lawn–this sets us up to ride the tractor every 4-5 days.  Unlike some of our neighbors we love to mow with the tractor–we almost fight over who gets to mow.  Our lawn is almost an acre and an hour ride on the tractor really allows one to do some mindless labor and de-stress.



19 thoughts on “Mid Day Rambling”

  1. Speaking of Minnesota Tim, my mother -in-law is from there. All kinds of relatives in the Saint Peter and Mankato areas in the southern part of the state. Only been there once myself back in the mid 1970’s (other than passing through the airport in Minneapolis). It was late July and it was hot and humid. I’m not a person that does well wit humidity, so I’ll stay right here. None of that in Idaho.

  2. Speaking of calls…I got one today….How many preferreds get called that last traded almost 30% under call price? Well my precious water preferred CTWSO bit the dust with an anticipated merger. Been callable since 1963. Bought my roughly 1500 shares at $14.50-$15.50 and they are taken from me today at $21.

        1. I think my GF would burn through that way quicker than a winter… A couple weeks is about all that would last. That is why I like to stay home! CTWSO was such an old tiny issue, my 1500 shares was about 10% of the entire float!

  3. I am with you on a lawn comment! I love a good ride on my zero turn, 6 acres every week and I wish it was 10.

    1. Hell ray – that isn’t a lawn that is a pasture. My wife would put on her music earphones and ride all day if she could. We have 3 acres–1 acre with a house and 2 acres of creek/ravine–they call it a ‘ravine lot’. I haven’t walked into my ravine for 10 years–going down is fine–back up not so good. I’d rather have 3 acres of lawn.

    1. Charles–sure the hell felt like it this year. I think the last of the snow in the country ditches just melted off finally in the last week or so.

      1. I saw snow yesterday in the shade. This has been a hellish winter in North Idaho. Three weeks ago I drove down to Phoenix (1350 miles) when I got up one morning and it was snowing. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Packed up a suitcase and off I went on a whim. Only stayed 4 days and drove back as the weather changed. I can hardly wait for next winter. I’ve already booked the month of January in Hawaii.

        1. An entire month in Hawaii?! Good grief, it must take you one full day just to count your money…lol.

          1. LOL! Only if I count by one’s Charles. Relatives with connections gets us a beach front condo for about $1500/mo. 20 miles outside Honolulu. It’s a great deal.

        2. Geez–I only wish. North Idaho can be kind of snowy. Lived in the ‘magic valley’ twice when I was with Pillsbury. Lived in Twin Falls–really enjoyed the weather there.

          I look forward to jumping in the car on a whim and going south–my problem is a young wife–its the only regret on a younger wife—having to have health insurance at a huge cost.

          1. I passed by Twin Falls. I normally don’t go that way but it was snowing pretty hard when I left and I didn’t want to travel towards Butte in that weather. Went west into the Columbia Basin and south trough Boise, Twin Falls and over to SLC.

            I worked for the Post Office as a carrier the last 20 years so we’re fortunate to have her and myself covered under my retiree healthcare. If I’d stayed in my original profession (CPA ) who knows.

            My wife is my age but I’m retired and she works P/T. but I had to go alone. After 42 years together, she was probably glad to see me go for a few days, lol. I did the same thing last summer and drove to Alaska. It was on my bucket list.

  4. Thanks Tim always enjoy your market & life reflections .. If you ever find a free moment ..I know 🙂 and want to take a look under the hood of one of my Favs ..Glacier Water Trust I (GWSVP)
    I picked it up years ago love the business they are in and see your article on it as well a few years ago..It just keeps crusing along sending me $$$ .. Guess my questions is what are your thoughts lately on it.. Have a great spring weekend

    1. Hi G.–will look it over this weekend I hope. I had it for maybe 7 years and sold when the Primo merger occured–I should have probably held it.

  5. Tim, where did you find the hsbc call news. I looked everywhere and called schwab, no news.

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