Diary of a Financier

Top Newsstuffs (February 9-15)

In Bookshelf on Sun 15 Feb 2015 at 06:27

Top reads from the week that was…


Rail traffic weekly (Week 5, 2015) | Association of American Railroads (AAR)
Big deceleration after having gained steam over the past couple weeks; growth remains above GDP trend amidst easy yoy comps (that’re getting easier due to 2014q1’s severe winter weather), but record snowfall in the Northeast probably dented this week’s data:Weekly railtraffic 2015 week 5
Weekly traffic: -5.1pp @ +0.8% yoy
Growth rate: -0.5pp @ +2.9% ytd
Carload groups: 8 of 10 posted gains for the week yoy
    Grain: +15.9
    Minerals: +8.7
    Forestry: +7.3
    Petroleum: +5.0
    Metals: +4.7
    Coal: +4.1
    Motor vehicles/parts: -0.1; just can’t seem to gain traction, despite the subsector’s bullish outlook
#Neutral #Noisy $XLE $USO $XLB $KOL $XME $XLI

Retail sales (January 2015) | US Government Census
Another bad report with sales missing expectations and core decelerating, despite alleged “consumer stimulus” from lower energy prices:Retail sales (%change yoy, 2015.01)
Headline: +0.1pp @ 3.3% yoy, -0.8 mom (miss -0.5e); prior months unrevised
Core (ex-autos): -0.2pp @ +1.7 yoy, -0.9 mom (miss -0.5e); prior month revised up (+0.1pp @ -0.9% mom)


Investor sentiment survey (2015.02.11) | American Association of Individual Investors (AAII)
Completely retraces last week’s big plummet, bringing sentiment back above exuberant extremes; 2015 has started with volatile swings in sentiment after the alarming complacency seen in 2014, when continued “buying-the-dip” mentality persisted through multiple market events (e.g. 2 internal corrections & energy bear market):
Bull/Bear ratio: +88bps wow @ 1.97 (over 1.28 historical average & 1.8 extreme high)
Bullish: +4.5 @ 40.0% (over 39.0 avg, under 45 extreme high)
Bearish: -12.1 @ 20.3% (under 30.5 avg & 25 extreme low)
Neutral: +7.6 @ 39.7% (over 30.5 avg)
Measures respondents’ expectation for equity performance over next 6 months (through 8/2015).
[Previously: Retail asset allocations neutral, Fund managers extremely bullish US equities & Strategist sentiment remains a bullish signal]
#Bearish #Noisy


Video interview: President Barack Obama on domestic & foreign policy | Ezra Klein (Vox.com)
Candid piece with beautiful cinematographic vision that’s a shining example of the future for media production.
Dwells on the causes of income inequality.
#Wealth gap

The problem with payments | Ben Thompson (stratechery)
A complete guide to payments technology, including infrastructure & fees.
Two broad categories of payment opportunities:
1. Building on top of credit cards: tight margins (e.g. Square, Apple Pay, Google Wallet)
2. Replacing credit cards: capital intensive (e.g. Pay Pal, Venmo)
Credit card swipe fees for the former category:
1. Interchange fee: 1.51% + $0.10 (goes to issuing bank)
2. Assessment charges: 0.11% + $0.03 (goes to credit card co)
3. Merchant charge: 2.75% (goes to Square)
#Cash #Debit $XLF


  1. […] have redirected that savings to deleveraging instead — paying down debt. [Previously: Retail sales disappoint again] $XLY $XLE #GDP #Deleveraging […]


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