Monday, May 14, 2018

Brief observations...

--- North Korea's sudden decisions to stop all testing and to pull back on and "eliminate" its main facility is being seen by some as a win by Trump.  It is clear that Kim is cooperating with China on this.  It is unsettling in its own way, as in too good to be true.  Nobel Prize for Trump?  One thought could be that China is playing the long game, while the U.S. culturally and Trump compulsively plays the short game.  North Korea will still have the technological and intellectual capability in place and likely much more that is tangible.  They will be under the umbrella of China.  China's goal is full control of North Asia, if not by direct rule certainly by default.  If they are betting that Trump gets eight total years in office of nativist navel gazing, their patience is explained.

---Unemployment statistics remain positive but, as has been mentioned by many, that is not the whole story.  Wage growth is modest and, of more concern, the decline in solid middle class jobs continues.  Still, most jobs do inspire confidence to spend, as optimism is a core American trait, and to Borrow.  More aggressive credit card offers are now out there and home equity retirement loan advertising is back again.  Some of the credit card offers are so generous that it is already built in that the issuer will not have a profit for two to three years.  The hook has been cast.  Yet today, that's now, subprime auto lending is at a default rate higher than 2008, so some fraying around the edges of credit is clear.  This is worth some thought.

--- Speaking of a return of certain advertisements, what about Online Trading Academy.  That's a memory, and it's back.  Free 30 day offer, learn to trade like a pro, "I made $12,000 in just the first month."  Mentioned here before, TD Ameritrade continues to have its commercials focus on low cost options trading, for everyone. Easy peasy.  Now there is National Securities of Eatontown seeking traders for great opportunities, that's in New Jersey, not First Jersey.  Stretching memories with that one.  More thought required.

---Remember the IPO game in which some small private companies in tech would spend heavily on advertising and on their products, build some recognition, and then cut back on spending for a year before the IPO to boost profitability.  While true professionals should have seen what was going on, transparency was a problem.  Could this happen in retail.  A company that has been liked here, American Giant(sweat shirts, t-shirts, casual athletic wear, shorts etc.) could be into this ruse.  Products bought from them about three years ago were exceptional.  The catalogues of this Bay area company were especially attractive.  The only issue in the past was that care with size had to be focused on.  The name of the company is indicative.  BUT, a recent small order arrived, just four "premium" t-shirts, two the usual short sleeve and two long sleeve, and the cotton is coarse and thinner than the past, the size decidedly not generous.  The size, large, is right but the short sleeve ones are marginal on length, an almost fatal flaw if you are not a plumber.  This is research only seen here!  IPO coming?

And as to politics in general, fatigue has set in, at least for today.  Comments not forthcoming.


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