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Stock Market Facts and Figures

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
I mentioned yesterday how the PPI came out a little hotter than expected, and that I wanted to see today’s CPI come out in line with it. That turned out to be the case. When you subtract the core, producer prices increased .2% in September, while consumer prices rose .3%. That tells me that operating margins are intact—good news if you’re looking at equities going forward.

I know what some of you are saying: Jack, that’s not good news, that’s inflation. And you’d be right. But consumer prices actually rose at their slowest rate in half a year. Remember: we want a little bit of inflation in a healthy economy; what we don’t want to see is runaway inflation. As it stands, the rate of inflation seems to be contained.

I also mentioned yesterday that I was eagerly awaiting the housing numbers, and folks, hold on to your hats: housing starts were up 15%, the fastest pace in 17 months. That’s encouraging, especially considering the way it hints at the availability of financing. Unfortunately, permits were down 5%, a five-month low—indicating that the bump in new construction could be temporary.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: jobs and housing are the two things that have been killing our economy for the last few years, and until we can fix those two things we won’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, as long as my fellow Chicagoan is sitting in the Oval Office and devising new Taxulationist policies to “create” the jobs that will in turn lift housing, we’ve still got some dark days ahead of us.


I’d like to thank my good friend Jeff Carter, independent speculator and author of the wonderful blog, for pinch-hitting on The Jack B. Show this morning. Jeff had some wonderful guests on, including Howard Marella of Index Futures Group and Nick Mueller of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. If you missed the show—and Jeff’s breakdown of transaction taxes, which was terrific—be sure and download the podcast.


Don’t forget, folks: Biz 880 Miami Money Expo, November 3, Mayfair Hotel, Coconut Grove, FREE. There are only a few dozen spots left, so be sure and send me an email if you’re going to be down in the Miami area and would like to learn what the pros are doing right now and how you can learn to navigate your investments in uncertain times.
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