July 1, 2016

CNN’s Kosinski: Darn It, Terrorism Has ‘Overshadowed’ What Obama Wants to Emphasize Yet Again

On Thursday, CNN’s Michelle “Canoe” Kosinski delivered the latest pity-party installment of “Darn Those Terrorists Getting in Obama’s Way.”

Moaning about “distractions” and the like has been a staple of media reporting since Barack Obama first took office in 2009. In recent years, as the number and severity of terrorist attacks has grown, largely as a result of feckless U.S. foreign policy, the press has taken to complaining on the White House’s behalf that those attacks are overshadowing its agenda and distracting the President and his minions from talking about allegedly more important things, like … climate change.

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Uh-oh: Construction Spending Dives Again (2.8 Percent in Two Months)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:38 am

From the Census Bureau:

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during May 2016 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,143.3 billion, 0.8 percent (±1.3%)* below the revised April estimate of $1,152.4 billion. The May figure is 2.8 percent (±1.6%) above the May 2015 estimate of $1,112.2 billion.

Expectations were for a 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent increase. April’s decrease was revised to a worse -2.0 percent from 1.8 percent.

A 2.8 percent dive in two months can’t do much to help second-quarter GDP. Let the declines in the experts’ estimates begin.

Construction spending spent most of last year as a relative bright spot. Now, it looks like it might be an ongoing drag.

The good news is that the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) value of contstruction spending has increased during the past two months, just not by as much as seen in previous Aprils and Mays. The bad news is that those smaller increases need to be recovered during the upcoming June-September busy season, or we’re probably going to see more near-term reported seasonally adjusted declines.

June ISM Manufacturing: 53.2 Percent, Up From 51.3 Percent in May

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:23 am

From the Institute for Supply Management (bolds are mine; paragraph breaks added by me):

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June for the fourth consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 85th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The June PMI® registered 53.2 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from the May reading of 51.3 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 57 percent, an increase of 1.3 percentage points from the May reading of 55.7 percent. The Production Index registered 54.7 percent, 2.1 percentage points higher than the May reading of 52.6 percent.

The Employment Index registered 50.4 percent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from the May reading of 49.2 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 48.5 percent, an increase of 3.5 percentage points from the May reading of 45 percent.

The Prices Index registered 60.5 percent, a decrease of 3 percentage points from the May reading of 63.5 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the fourth consecutive month.

Manufacturing registered growth in June for the fourth consecutive month, as 12 of our 18 industries reported an increase in new orders in June (down from 14 in May), and 12 of our 18 industries reported an increase in production in June (same as in May).

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 13 are reporting growth in June in the following order: Printing & Related Support Activities; Textile Mills; Petroleum & Coal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Paper Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Computer & Electronic Products; Chemical Products; Primary Metals; Machinery; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products. The three industries reporting contraction in June are: Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Transportation Equipment; and Plastics & Rubber Products.

The 53.2 percent result significantly beat expectations of 51.0 to 51.4.

Backlog of Orders returned to expansion, moving from 47.5 in May to 52.5 in June.

This would be a lot more impressive if the various ISM and Federal Reserve regional reports supported this national assessment, but they mostly don’t. An example from Monday: “The Dallas Fed Business Outlook has now been in contraction for 18 straight months. The underlying components are mixed but the average workweek has collapsed back to its lowest since Nov 2009. As one respondent noted, ‘This is a recession.’”

The four months of ISM survey expansion also don’t square with the Federal Reserve’s monthly Industrial Production reports, the latest of which shows manufacturing contracting in 4 of the past 6 months, and shrinking by 1.4 percent in the past year.

As I noted in February, I believe the ISM survey captures the outlook of firms that are doing relatively well, and doesn’t capture as much of the outlook of those who aren’t (or who have closed their doors). As such, I believe the real situation now is that manufacturing has stopped contracting, and might be expanding to a very slight degree.

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UPDATE: As has so often been the case during the past year or so, Zero Hedge has detected a suspect conversion seasonal conversion, this time in new orders.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070116)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: This 400 year-old saint’s story won big at a Rome film festival

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rome:

Jun 28, 2016 / 06:03 am

When EWTN director James Kelty produced a film about the first Native American saint Kateri Tekakwitha, he didn’t know that it would be recognized at one of the largest Catholic film festivals in the world.

The 2015 film “Kateri” was awarded the Capax Dei Foundation Award at the seventh-annual Mirabile Dictus film festival in Rome, Italy last week.

“I am very grateful to have received the Capax Dei award – it means ‘space for God.’ I think that says it all,” Kelty told CNA.

“It’s a recognition of all our work, and we knew it was a success, but it’s nice to get an acknowledgment. And this is for all the people who worked so hard on the film.”

The movie follows the story of Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th century Mohawk native living in Canada who converted to the Catholic faith through the example of Jesuit missionaries.

“Kateri is the story of a woman of great force and power. Although she only lived 24 years, her life was so impactful with those she lived with, that by the time she died she was already a legend,” Kelty said.

“We thought that Kateri would be a wonderful subject,” he said, adding that her life beautifully illustrated the work of the early Catholic Church in North America.

“Kateri” took about two years to produce, which included research, writing, location scouting, filming and post-production. EWTN started the project in 2013 and it officially aired in 2015.

It was among over a thousand other films from all over the world entered at Mirabile Dictus. The festival’s founder Liana Marabini was particularly touched by Kateri’s story and called the film a beautiful expression of the Catholic faith.

“I was really impressed by the beauty of the script and the fact that Kateri was explained with all her story – she’s very inspiring through her faith and her strength,” Marabini told CNA.

“It has a very high technical quality and beautiful performing of the actors and beautiful places,” she said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.