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Jumping Wholesale Inventories, Declining Credit Card Volumes and China

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I am going to give up trying to figure out today’s market activity … as if any day is easy or even possible … for the market was down over 100 points for a while (everyone seemed to blame Chinese talks) and at the moment both the Dow and S&P reside in close-to-positive territory.

There is one worrisome bit of data I saw this morning … and that relates to inventories. Why? If inventories rise, manufacturers have lesser reason to keep on pumping out product … and, according to Daily Shot, “the December wholesale inventories jumped by the biggest percentage in years” and was “well above economists’ expectations.” At the same time, credit card transaction volume has been on the decline.

I will note something though, which really gets my goat (which is why I often walk around goatless) … as Moody’s is reporting that “interest on credit cards hit the highest level in at least two decades!”

Really? Oh come on! Rates are still quite low compared to where they’ve been, historically, and credit card rates are going through the roof? This is just an opinion of course … and an angry one … but maybe lawmakers should stop thinking about those issuers paying for their campaigns and get on the side of the American people on this one for a change. You can assume many of the wealthy are paying off credit card bills every month … but those who already are struggling? 20 to 25 % as an annualized borrowing cost? Ridiculous … absolutely ridiculous.

I saw something else which caught my eye this morning, as reported by Deutsche Bank Global Research. The median age of the Chinese population in 1990 was 24.9 years … okay … we get that. 50% of the population was above and 50% below. But let’s look at the 2050 projection … where the median age is projected to be 48 years old! What an incredible jump!

Ladies and gentleman … rising ages in Japan, the U.S., Europe, China. Sorry to say, but as a result of this …we’ve got some problems ahead if this continues.

And just one final note for today … speaking of aging … and it is listed as the last story below.

A man is getting on in years and looked at the (crazy) price of a nursing home and realized he is better off … in a lot of ways … at a Holiday Inn. This is not as outrageous as it might appear at first. I think at some time in the future, a few elderly people will get together … have a nurse on-call … buy an incredible house … and party with like mad until the lights go out.

Not such a bad way to go.

… maybe I’ll start planning now.

… as of 11:21 AM today …

The recent rise in home prices is slowing down … and … as the article claims … “homebuyers have a limit to what they can afford …”  (CNBC)

… still, consumers feel pretty good about thing right now … and one survey gives indication that consumers are in a buoyant mood (CNBC)

If you were able to see an avatar … shaped like you … would you find buying clothes easier? You might think so, but if I saw my chubby avatar I’d probably not buy anything for a while … including food (BBC)

Have you hesitated to use one of those DNA kits because you are worried about privacy? Ha! It might not matter as a relative – even distant – might supply a database with all the information it needs (Vox)

Well … you’ve seen the healthy-looking commercials and opted for fruit instead of soda. Sadly, some of the popular once contain lead and arsenic (PhillyVoice)

… but you might not drink juice and not care too much … but you should … especially since it is possible that weed killer is a possible ingredient in your wine or beer (USAToday)

… and if you are looking for a nursing home … you will want to look at the cost. If it is room service you desire … you might not need to look any further than a local hotel (USAToday)

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