Wholesale Sales and Inventories Strange in February 2014

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The headlines say February 2014 wholesale sales improved, and inventories jumped. This data series is very noisy, and has been on a roller coaster of one good month / one bad month. This whole data series was revised this month so talking about relative change to last month is pointless. Consider that the three month rolling averages for unadjusted sales is accelerating, but unadjusted inventory levels jumped unusually and are above the range for non-recessionary periods.

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Fiat Money and Business Cycles in Emerging Markets

by Roger McKinney, Mises.org

After the stock market collapse of 2008 and a decline of 3.4 percent for U.S. GDP in 2009, investors rushed to stash funds in emerging markets (EM) where economies were growing at a 3.1 percent annual rate. But the US stock market fell in January of this year largely due to financial trouble in emerging markets. 

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The Takeaways from the Latest Fama-French Research

by Michael Edesess, AdvisorPerspectives.com

Eugene Fama and Kenneth French’s research has gained considerable attention in the world of investment finance since their articles on size and value effects in 1992 and 1993. Their latest work, A Five-Factor Asset Pricing Model, covers five factors: size (i.e., capitalization), value (i.e., book-to-market ratio), broad market factor, profitability (profits-to-assets ratio) and investment (how much of a company’s earnings it invests in new or expanded ventures).

My question is whether this work provides any information that can be of practical value to advisors or investors. After careful evaluation of their paper, I conclude that the answer is no. The work is too opaque to allow thorough independent analysis or confirmation, and it provides no explanation or motivation to believe that its findings based on historical data have any implications for future investments.

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February 2014 JOLTS Exceeds Expections But Data Is Mixed

April 8th, 2014
in aa syndication, employment

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The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future jobs growth, and the predictive elements show that the jobs situation growth rate is mixed. This was an annual revision month which negates past analysis.

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Stratfor: U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

April 8th, 2014
in aa syndication, stratfor, russia

By George Friedman, Founder and Chairman, Stratfor

Ever since the end of the Cold War, there has been an assumption that conventional warfare between reasonably developed nation-states had been abolished. During the 1990s, it was expected that the primary purpose of the military would be operations other than war, such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and the change of oppressive regimes. After 9/11, many began speaking of asymmetric warfare and "the long war." Under this model, the United States would be engaged in counterterrorism activities in a broad area of the Islamic world for a very long time. Peer-to-peer conflict seemed obsolete.

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