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20 сентября, 11:09

Shifting Trends in U.S. Alcohol Consumption in the 21st Century

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How has the taste of Americans for alcohol changed since the start of the 21st century? We're going to answer that question today using excise tax collection data reported by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to the Internal Revenue Service from 2000 through 2017, which can give us an idea of how much beer, wine and distilled spirits Americans are consuming because the federal excise taxes that apply for these products are assessed by the gallon or barrel. Since the excise tax rates for these products have been stable since the beginning of the century, the amount of taxes per capita (or really, per American adult Age 21 or older) should be directly proportionate to the amount of each of these alcohol types that Americans have consumed in each year since 2000. The following chart shows what we found in doing that math: Overall, the amount of alcohol excise taxes collected per Age 21+ American has risen from $41.12 in 2000 to $44.89 in 2017, which suggests that the average adult American has increased their alcohol consumption by 9%. Within that consumption, there are clear rising trends for wine and especially for distilled spirits, which are displacing beer as a source of alcohol excise tax revenue for the U.S. government. These trends can be seen more clearly in the following chart, where we show the relative share that each type of alcohol has contributed to federal excise tax collections from 2000 through 2017. ReferencesPolitical Calculations. U.S. Federal Alcohol Taxes in the 21st Century, 23 August 2018. U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Federal Excise Taxes or Fees Reported to or Collected by the Internal Revenue Service, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and Customs Service. 1999-2016. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 18 August 2018. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Intercensal Estimates of the Resident Population by Single Year of Age and Sex for States and the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010. [CSV Data]. 12 December 2016. Accessed 18 August 2018. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Single Year of Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017. [Online Database]. 12 June 2018. Accessed 18 August 2018.

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19 сентября, 11:38

From a Trillion Dollar Stock Market to Trillion Dollar Companies

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When it was first officially established on 3 March 1957, the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) had a total market capitalization of $172 billion. Over twenty five years later, at the end of 1982, the market capitalization of the entire S&P 500 had grown to more than $1 trillion. Now, nearly 36 years later, at least two of the 505 companies that currently compose the index have market caps that have reached values of $1 trillion or more: Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), neither of which existed in 1957 and only one of which existed in 1982. Overall, the market capitalization of the entire S&P 500 stands at roughly $25.8 trillion through the end of August 2018. The following chart tracks the history of the index' market valuation since it reached $1 trillion in value. We also have a chart showing the vertical axis on a logarithmic scale if you would prefer to see that version! A third company, most popularly known as Google but officially called Alphabet (Nasdaq: Amazon (Nasdaq: GOOG and GOOGL), which also did not exist in either 1957 or in 1982, could also reach that lofty market valuation during 2018.

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18 сентября, 11:27

The Rent Is Too Damn High!

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We're going to have some fun exploring some of the trends in the average American household spending data contained within the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX), where we'll start with what Americans are paying to either own a home or to rent a residence in the United States. The chart below shows all the historic data recorded for the amount that all American household "consumer units" have paid on average if they're buying a home, where they pay principal and interest on a mortgage, or if they are renting their dwelling from 1984 through 2017. In this chart, you can see where the cost to buy a home in the U.S. rose rapidly before peaking in 2007, after which, the cost to own crashed until 2016, where it has recently started rising. Meanwhile, we can see that the cost to rent a dwelling has steadily increased without serious interruption from 1984 through 2017, where the rate at which American household expenditures for rent have grown at a faster pace since 2005 than they did in the 20 previous years. It's important to note here that the data reported by the Consumer Expenditure Survey is spreading all these payments out over all household consumer units in the United States. In 2017, those 130,001,000 households include 48,231,000 that pay rent and 47,129,000 that have mortgages. The remaining 34,641,000 households own homes with no mortgages, and thus have $0 expenditures for either mortgage principal and interest payments or for rent. We can do some back-of-the-envelope math to work out what the average rent payment or mortgage principal plus interest payment is for the Americans who have these payments. In the case of rent, we can start with 2017's $4,167 average annual expenditures on rented dwellings and multiply it by 130,001,000 households to get the aggregate amount of rent paid in the U.S. according to the 2017 CEX survey of $541,714,167,000. Dividing that amount by 48,231,000 renters gives us an annual average rent of $11,232. To get to the average monthly rental payment for the renters surveyed by the BLS and Census Bureau, we divide by 12 to find out that it is $935 per month. That figure is lower than the "record-high average of $1,405 per month" rent figure that RentCafe estimated using data from Yardi Matrix covering apartments in cities with over 100,000 residents. The CEX data also covers smaller population centers, so it's reasonable that its reported rent figure would be less than that figure, but we should note that it is also likely a record high. Looking at mortgage holders, the average principal paid in 2017 was $1,839 and the average mortgage interest and other charges paid was $3,265), which combined for an average mortgage payment of $5,104 for all 130,001,000 American household consumer units. Doing similar math to what we did for rent, we came up with an average monthly mortgage principal plus interest payment of $1,173 for Americans buying their homes, which is about 25% higher than the average monthly payment of American renters. Or if you prefer, in 2017, the average rent in the U.S. costs 80% of what the average payment to a mortgage lender is. In doing this analysis, we're omitting other costs that are often included in mortgage payments, such as property taxes and homeowner's insurance. We may come back and revisit the topic at some point in the future, but since you've now seen how to do the math, if you want factor those expenditures into it, you're more than welcome to beat us to the punch! As we close, we'll leave you with the immortal wisdom of Jimmy McMillan, who back in 2010, represented New York's The Rent Is Too Damn High Party in that state's election for governor. In 2018, he would be a much better governor for New York than any of the current candidates! ReferencesSzekely, Balazs. National Apartment Rents Hit New Milestone, Demand for Small Apartments Catches Up with Family-Sized Rentals. RentCafe Blog. [Online Article]. 4 July 2018. Lane, Rachel. U.S. housing rents hit record-high average of $1,405 per month. MoneyWatch. [Online Article]. 6 July 2018. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau.  Consumer Expenditure Survey.  Multiyear Tables.  [PDF Documents: 1984-1991, 1992-1999, 2000-2005, 2006-2012, 2013-2017]. Reference Directory: https://www.bls.gov/cex/csxmulti.htm. Accessed 11 September 2018. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau.  Consumer Expenditure Survey.  Table 1702. Housing tenure and type of area. [PDF Document]. Accessed 11 September 2018. 

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17 сентября, 11:37

The Fed Sets Expectations for the S&P 500 in Week 3 of September 2018

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The S&P 500 closed out the third week of September 2018 on an upnote, but not by so much that it resumed setting the kind of new record highs that it was just a few weeks ago. The following chart shows the latest update to our spaghetti forecast chart for the trajectory of the S&P 500, where we find that investors would appear to be currently splitting their forward-looking attention between the future quarters of 2018-Q4 and 2019-Q1, with a somewhat heavier focus on 2019-Q1. As for why investors would appear to be looking at these two future quarters in particular, we suspect that it has a lot to do with the Federal Reserve's plans for changing its Federal Funds Rate (FFR), the interest rate that banks pay for borrowing money from the Fed, which sets the floor for short term interest rates in the United States. When we last reported upon investor expectations for the future for the FFR just over a month ago, investors were anticipating that the Fed would hike that rate by a quarter point twice more in 2018, in both September and December, then take a breather until June 2019 before doing it again. Since then, the combination of reports of continued strength in the U.S. economy with multiple statements by the Fed's minions in recent weeks is giving investors reason to anticipate that there will be no breather in the Fed's latest series of short term interest rate hikes. The following table indicates what the CME Group's FedWatch tool anticipates for the future of the Federal Funds Rate based on information from the FFR futures market. (Please click here to view a screen shot of the table if you're reading this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, but which doesn't properly render the table.) Probabilities for Target Federal Funds Rate at Selected Upcoming Fed Meeting Dates (CME FedWatch on 14 September 2018) FOMC Meeting Date Current 175-200 bps 200-225 bps 225-250 bps 250-275 bps 275-300 bps 325-350 bps 350-375 bps 26-Sep-2018 (2018-Q3) 0.0% 97.4% 2.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 19-Dec-2018 (2018-Q4) 0.0% 20.0% 77.0% 3.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 20-Mar-2019 (2019-Q1) 0.0% 8.0% 41.9% 45.0% 5.0% 0.1% 0.0% The table confirms that investors are now anticipating quarter point rate hikes in September 2018 and December 2018. In addition, as of the last week, investors are now also given just over a 50% probability that the Fed will again hike interest rates by another quarter point or more in March 2019 (as can be determined by adding the probabilities in the table cells highlighted in yellow for the Fed's March 2019 meeting). That assessment isn't just based on this data. It's also based in part from the news reports we reviewed during the third week of September 2018, where the following stories appeared noteworthy in describing the noise in the market. Monday, 10 September 2018 Oil steadies as U.S. inventory concerns curb gains S&P, Nasdaq edge higher after recent losses but Apple dragsEarlier headline: US STOCKS-S&P, Nasdaq edge higher on tax optimism despite Apple drag Tuesday, 11 September 2018 Oil rises as U.S. sanctions on Iran squeeze supply Wall Street gains as Apple, tech rebound; oil lifts energy shares Wednesday, 12 September 2018 Brent reaches $80 a barrel after fall in U.S. crude stocks Trump 'definitely' boosted U.S. growth, Fed's Bullard says Fed has room to raise interest rates for some time, Brainard says Fed says it whipped U.S. unemployment, maybe too well Dow, S&P 500 end up slightly after trade talk news; Apple slips China welcomes U.S. invitation for trade talks Thursday, 13 September 2018 Oil has steepest drop in a month as economic concerns threaten demand House panel backs bill to make Trump tax cuts permanent Impact of U.S. tax reform may last longer than expected: Fed's Bostic Atlanta Fed's Bostic: Rate hikes can continue for several more quarters Fed's Bostic says taking 'wait and see' attitude toward fourth 2018 rate hike Wall Street rises with Apple, easing trade concerns Friday, 14 September 2018 Oil mixed as China tariff talk scotches early rally Trump readies tariffs on $200 billion more Chinese goods despite talks: source Fed policy to turn mildly restrictive in 2019, Evans says Fed's Evans says premature to read much into yield curve Fed's Evans sees one or two more rate hikes this year Yellen: Fed should commit to future 'booms' to make up for major busts Wall Street flat as looming tariffs offset gains in financials For additional aspects of the week's economics and markets-related news, be sure to check out Barry Ritholtz' list of the positives and negatives he found in the week's data.

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14 сентября, 11:15

Philly's Soda Tax Impact on City's Calorie Consumption

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How much of a health benefit can you get for the public by imposing taxes on products like sugary soft drinks? Advocates for soda taxes frequently cite positive health benefits as the reason for why governments should impose this kind of sin tax on the distribution and sale of sugary beverages to consumers within their jurisdictions. In doing so, many claim that such a tax would fix what in economics is called a "negative externality", which in this case, represents higher costs to public health systems for treating conditions such as obesity and diabetes, where sweetened beverages are targeted by soda tax advocates for their contributions to the problems they proclaim because of their popularity and their sugary calorie content. But for such an argument to be valid, the imposed tax would have to realistically achieve its desired aims without any unintended consequences that create new costs or other problems that offset any of the realized benefits. Since soda taxes have only been applied in a limited number of jurisdictions in recent years, the data available to assess their impact is relatively limited, so many of these advocates' claims of achievable health benefits have not been able to be challenged. We do however have evidence from what happened in Philadelphia during the first year of that city's experience with its controversial 1.5-cent-per-ounce soda tax, which it calls the "Philadelphia Beverage Tax". Using monthly tax collection data compiled by the Philadelphia Department of Revenue, and the city's expectation for what would be its annual revenue from the tax and its predicted reduction in sweetened beverage sales, we are able to identify the amount of soda that was distributed for sale in Philadelphia in 2017 and also how much city officials believe would have been distributed in the absence of its soda tax. The following chart shows those results. In the next chart, we've simply tallied up the monthly data for the number of ounces of sweetened beverages subject to the Philadelphia Beverage Tax to get the picture for the quantity of beverages that would have been distributed for sale in the city without the tax and also the amount of what was actually distributed in the city after the tax was imposed on 1 January 2017. In this second chart, we see that the Philadelphia Beverage Tax reduced the amount of diet and regular sweetened beverages in the city by the equivalent of 3.182 billion ounces in 2017, which is quite a lot, but should be expected to happen whenever a tax imposed by a government causes the price of a product that consumers buy to increase substantially. From here, we'll need to do some math to estimate how much that works out to be in potential calorie reduction. So we built a tool to do that math! The following tool will estimate the reduction in consumed calories from the implementation of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax on a per capita basis, where we've added a factor to account for the share of non-diet "regular" beverages that are consumed each year, since these are where the vast bulk of the sugary calories are to be found. If you're reading this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, please click here to access a working version of this tool. If you would rather not click through, you can view a screenshot of the tool's results with the default data. Population and Beverage Distribution Data Input Data Values Population Change in Quantity of Beverages Distributed to Population [Ounces] Portion of Change Offset by Tax-Avoidance [%] Beverage Nutrition and Consumption Data Regular Soft Drink Calories per 12-Fluid Ounce Serving Market Share of Regular (Non-Diet) Beverage Consumption [%] Impact of Changes in Soft Drink Consumption Calculated Results Values Total Change in Calories Consumed per Capita per Year Average Change in Body Weight per Capita Using the default data in our tool, we find that the reduction in the amount of sweetened beverages distributed in Philadelphia would have been sufficient to reduce the weight of every man, woman and child in the city by five pounds, assuming that none of these people increased their consumption of other calorie containing beverages and foods, and also assuming that they didn't leave the city to buy sweetened beverages that were not subjected to the city's controversial soda tax, or acquired them from bootleggers who smuggled them in. We've already run the numbers for the increased calories of alcohol-based beverages sold within the city, whose sales surged during 2017, which totaled the equivalent of an additional 114 12-ounce containers of beer consumed by each Philadelphian over the year. Assuming 149 calories per container per person, the average Philadelphian consumed an additional 16,986 calories during 2017. With 3,500 calories corresponding to the gain or loss of a pound of body weight, that increased alcohol consumption would, when spread over every man, woman and child in the city, put an average of 4.9 pounds back onto the bodies of every Philadelphian! [In reality, a larger amount of weight would be gained by the legal drinking age portion of the city's population, but you get the idea....] When you consider that we haven't yet accounted for sweetened beverage consumers shifting their shopping to outside the city to avoid the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, or the smuggling of untaxed soda into the city for sale by bootleggers, it's pretty clear that Philadelphia's soda tax failed as meaningful health improvement measure for the city's population, where the average calorie consumption per capita almost certainly was either flat or rising during 2017. One detailed marketing study found that sales of sweetened beverages increased by anywhere from 5% to 38% depending on beverage type in Philadelphia's suburbs during the first five months the tax was in effect, but we don't know the net extent to which this increased sales volume of sweetened beverages not subject to Philadelphia's soda tax offset reduced sales in the city for the full year. In our tool, we set the default value of the tax avoidance factor to 0%, but we believe a conservative estimate would fall between 10% and 20% - you're more than welcome to substitute these percentages or your own estimate into our tool to take this particular factor more realistically into account. Other factors that we're not considering is the extent to which reduced soft drink consumption may have offset by purchases of bottled water and untaxed packets of sweetened drink powders, where consumers could blend their own calorie-rich sugary beverage. Likewise, we're also not considering whether consumers in the city, instead of buying taxed soda pop, instead opted to increase their consumption of any of the many inexpensive, calorie-laden treats that are exempt from Philadelphia's soda tax to satisfy their sweet tooth. Since reduced calorie consumption would have provided the primary health benefit of having imposed such a tax, the absence of any significant reduction would mean that no positive benefits through reduced medical costs for the treatment of excessive calorie consumption-related health conditions were realized on average among Philadelphia's population as a result of the city's soda tax. But then, since the Philadelphia Beverage Tax was never intended to improve the health of Philadelphians, this outcome should not be a surprise.

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13 сентября, 11:31

Visualizing the U.S. Cumulative Distribution of Income in 2018

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The U.S. Census Bureau has published its annual report on Income and Poverty in the United States, which we've used to visualize the cumulative distribution of income for U.S. individuals, families and households in the following animated chart. The cumulative income data applies for the 2017 calendar year - if you're looking for income data for the 2018 calendar year, it will not be collected until March 2019 and will not published until September 2019. We set up the animation to present each of the frames for 7.5 seconds each, but if you'd prefer more time to inspect them, here are links to the static cumulative income distribution charts for U.S. individuals, families, and households. If you would like to estimate where you fall on the the income distribution spectrum in the U.S. using these charts, all you need to do is find your income on the horizontal axis, trace a vertical line up to where it intercepts the curve on the graph, then trace a horizontal line to the left side of the chart where you can roughly approximate your income percentile ranking on the vertical scale. But if you would like a more precise estimate, we have updated our "What Is Your Income Percentile Ranking?" tool with the 2017 income distribution data. Our tool can also estimate what your income percentile would have been in any calendar year from 2010 through 2016. Finally, if you would like more current estimates of median household income, we've been happy to accommodate your information needs since August 2017! We produced the chart above, covering through July 2018, just a few weeks before the Census Bureau published its annual report for 2017. If you've been following our series, you were not in any way surprised by what the U.S. Census Bureau reported for that year!

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12 сентября, 11:06

Visualizing Trends in Major U.S. Household Expenditures

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How much, and on what, does the average American household spend each year? And how has that changed over time? The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) for 2017 has been released, which provides the answers to these questions for each year from 1984 through 2017! Produced as a joint product of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, the CEX compiles the information collected through tens of thousands of surveys, diaries and interviews with by U.S. households, or "consumer units" as the BLS' data jocks affectionately calls them, which provides a tremendous amount of insight into how they allocate their limited resources. That data isn't just filed away. The results of each year's CEX are used to determine how to set the relative weightings of different types of expenditures within the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index, which is used to estimate the rate of inflation in the U.S. economy. With that introduction now out of the way, let's visualize the major categories of U.S. household expenditures for each year from 1984 through 2017. The following chart shows the average amount that some 130 million American household consumer units have collectively spent on things like housing, transportation, food, financial products, health care, clothing, entertainment, charitable contributions, and education. In the next chart, we show all those same expenditures, but this time as a percent of the average annual expenditures of a U.S. household/consumer unit: Finally, we'll present an update to one of our favorite charts that we've ever made showing how all these expenditures fit together as a percentage share of all expenditures. Here, the expenditures shown on the bottom of the chart (in shades of purple) show those expenditures whose share among the total has increased over time, while the expenditures shown toward the top of the chart (in shades of green) show the household expenses shose share has fallen. Here's the list of major categories of consumer expenditures whose share has risen from 1984 through 2017: Housing Financial Products (Life Insurance, Pension Savings, Social Security) Health Care (Health Insurance and Medical Expenses) Charitable Contributions Education And here's the list of major categories of consumer expenditures whose share has declined over the 34 years for which the data is available: Apparel and Other Products Food and Alcoholic Beverages Transportation Entertainment Data SourcesU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau.  Consumer Expenditure Survey.  Multiyear Tables.  [PDF Documents: 1984-1991, 1992-1999, 2000-2005, 2006-2012, 2013-2017]. Reference Directory: https://www.bls.gov/cex/csxmulti.htm. Accessed 11 September 2018. 

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11 сентября, 11:09

Dividends by the Numbers for August 2018

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Standard and Poor's market attributes report came out a bit late this month, but with its release, we find that like the previous month, August 2018 has been a fairly solid month for the U.S. stock market. The following chart shows the number of dividend increases and decreases that have been declared in each month since January 2004. Let's run through the U.S. stock market's dividend numbers for August 2018: 3,552 firms issued some kind of declaration about their dividend policies during August 2018, which was up by 299 from the 3,253 that issued annoucements about their dividends in the previous month, and also up by 98 from the 3,454 that declared dividends in August 2017. August 2018 had 31 U.S. firms announce that they would pay an extra, or special, dividend to their shareholders, which was up by from the 22 that make special arrangements to pay the owners of their stock in July 2018, and up by 6 from the number that did in the same month a year ago. If there was disappointing news to be found for the month, it was in the 128 companies that announced they would increase their dividends in August 2018. This figure was down by 46 from the number that announced dividend rises in July 2018, but was down by just 4 from the figure recorded in August 2017. The best news of the month was that there were only 15 U.S. companies announcing dividend cuts in August 2018, which was eight less that the amount cutting dividends in July 2018 and one less than in August 2018. In fact, August 2018 saw the lowest number of dividend cuts reported since April 2017's total of 14. Just 2 firms declared that they would omit paying dividends, up from July 2018's null entry and down by 13 from August 2017. Because it was such a good month from the perspective of dividend cuts, and also from the perspective of omitted dividend payments, we put together the following chart showing the combined total of each, which provides a pretty good picture of the overall level of distress within the publicly-traded portion of the private sector of the U.S. economy, and as it happens, when infrequent changes in U.S. tax laws affect how companies set their dividend paying policies. We're afraid that we don't have any details on which firms omitted paying dividends during the month, but we were able to identify 12 of the 15 companies that announced dividend reductions, which can provide some insight into what sectors of the U.S. economy are potentially experiencing at least some level of distress. Carlyle Group (NYSE: CG)  R.R. Donnelley & Sons (NYSE: RRD)  Sabine Royalty Trust UBI (NYSE: SBR)  Farmland Partners (NYSE: FPI)  New Senior Investment (NYSE: SNR)  Orchid Island Capital (NYSE: ORC)  Marine Petroleum Trust (NASDAQ: MARPS)  Permian Basin Royalty Trust (NYSE: PBT)  PermRock Royalty Trust (NYSE: PRT)  Cross Timbers Royalty Trust (NYSE: CRT)  Annaly Capital Mgmnt (NYSE: NLY)  Spirit Realty Capital (NYSE: SRC)  Of the 12 dividend cutting firms in our sample, half are either financial firms or real estate investment trusts, five are monthly dividend paying firms out of the oil and gas sector whose dividend payouts are a fixed percentage of their variable earnings, and one, R.R. Donnelley & Sons, makes money in the business services and marketing industries. Update 14 September 2018: A very knowledgeable reader reports that Annaly Capital Management doesn't properly belong in this tally, writing that "NLY is not a dividend cut. Since the merger with MTGE the dividend was split. NLY dividend still 0.30 for the quarter; paid September (0.222) and October (0.078) of this year. This fakes out a lot of data gathering tools." Data SourcesStandard and Poor. S&P Market Attributes Web File. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 7 September 2018. Seeking Alpha Market Currents. Filtered for Dividends. [Online Database]. Accessed 3 September 2018. Wall Street Journal. Dividend Declarations. [Online Database]. Accessed 3 September 2018.

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10 сентября, 11:16

The S&P 500 Backs Off Its Record High in Week 2 of September 2018

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The S&P 500 (Index: SPX) declined during the second week of September 2018, where the prospects for escalating interest rates in the U.S. and for tariffs to negatively impact the earnings of the S&P 500's largest component closed the week on a low note. While news related to the increased likelihood of rate hikes continuing longer than had previously been expected was spread out over the week, the trade news was concentrated on Friday, where ZeroHedge captured the negative sentiment from the market's reactions to the day's trade-related news the way that only the Tylers can. And yet, the damage to the overall S&P 500 wasn't as bad as it could have been, with the magnitude of the daily negative changes falling well within the market's typical day-to-day volatility. Unless something changes dramatically before the end of Tuesday, 11 September 2018, the redzone forecast that we first introduced back on 13 August 2018 is set to expire without the trajectory of the S&P 500's daily closing value having fallen anywhere outside of it while it ran. When it does expire, we anticipate that the level of the S&P will be consistent with investors looking forward to the future quarter of 2019-Q1. At least, in the absence of a news or noise event that might prompt them to suddenly focus on another point of time in the future and the expectations associated with it as they go about setting current day stock prices. As for what might influence investors to shift their forward-looking focus, here are examples of kinds of things that we look for from the news of the Labor Day holiday-shortened second week of September 2018. Tuesday, 4 September 2018 Oil steady ahead of Storm Gordon; weighed by dollar, Cushing build Amazon touches $1 trillion, on pace to overtake Apple Facebook, Nike drag Wall Street lower; trade concerns linger Facebook shares fall after downgrade on 'toxic brew' of slowing sales growth and regulation risk Nike shares dip as Kaepernick ad spurs boycott Wednesday, 5 September 2018 Oil falls more than 1 percent as storm fears ease, demand concerns mount Fed's Bullard makes case again for halting interest rate rises Fed's Bullard says timely to reassess balance sheet size Nasdaq falls as U.S. lawmakers grill Facebook, Twitter executives Thursday, 6 September 2018 Fed likely to need to hike rates 'a bit beyond neutral': Evans NY Fed's Williams says economy 'as good as it gets' for U.S. central bank Possible yield curve inversion not deciding factor in rate debate: Fed's Williams Fed's Rosengren calls for better ammunition for downturns Meanwhile, some QE hobbles on... U.S. Fed buys $1.8 billion of mortgage bonds, sells none Trade jitters and tech woes weigh on S&P, Nasdaq Friday, 7 September 2018 Oil falls with weaker equities, stronger dollar U.S. job growth surges; annual wage growth largest since 2009 Cleveland Fed's Mester: Wage bump signals Fed, economy on track Fed's Loretta Mester Says Strong Economy Supports Further Rate Hikes Fed's Kaplan sees 2019 as decision time on rate hike path Fed's Kaplan: too early to decide when to end rate hikes Wall Street drops on tariff worries, with Apple in crosshairs Trump says has tariffs ready for further $267 billion worth of Chinese imports Apple says proposed tariffs to hit a range of products Meanwhile, the week's trade data and President Trump's threats of new tariffs both made the negative side of the ledger in Barry Ritholtz's succinct summary of the positives and negatives in the week's broader news of the economy and markets.

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07 сентября, 11:00

A Universal Pattern in Math, Biology and Physics

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What do the eyes of chickens, the nuclei of uranium atoms, the distribution of prime numbers and the profit maximization scheme of Cuernavaca, Mexico's bus drivers have in common? Quanta kicks off the second season of its video series In Theory with the surprising universality of a mathematical pattern hidden within all these things! The emergence of a pattern of universality between random and ordered systems will often represent an optimized solution for a hybrid system where complex interactions are involved, which can have immense practical applications. For example, it is the sort of thing that might be used in setting adequate staffing levels for more rapidly processing international travelers through an airport's immigration customs facility. Or to accurately predict whether social conflicts may arise in a public setting. Or in the case of artificial intelligence, to replace the Cuernavaca bus drivers' spies in developing more responsive methods for setting bus stop arrivals and departures. Or if you really want to go out on the edge, where the "disordered hyperuniformity" discovered in chicken retinas is being applied in newly developed materials that may be "potentially useful for energy-saving materials that prevent heat accumulation by allowing the free transmission of infrared radiation", which would lead to more efficient batteries among other real-world applications.

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06 сентября, 11:00

The Impact of the U.S.-China Trade War on Their Trade to Date

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States' trade deficit with China hit a record high in July 2018, with U.S. imports of Chinese goods rising year over year and Chinese imports of U.S. goods falling over the same period. The following chart shows what the year over year growth rate of trade in goods and services between the two nations looks like after adjusting for the relative value of the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and Chinese yuan. In the absence of its strategy to minimize its economy's intake of U.S. goods and services, the near-zero growth rate of China's imports of U.S. goods in July 2018 would be consistent with recessionary conditions being present in that country, which was certainly suggested in early 2018 prior to the implementation of any new tariffs being imposed by either nation on the other's goods. However, since China's political leaders have adopted that strategy, it is contributing to the appearance of slow growth in China's economy from this particular data series. We can however use that data to get a sense of the extent to which the tit-for-tat tariffs that both nations have imposed on each other since the trade war between them began after mid-March 2018 by looking at the combined value of the U.S.' imports to and exports from China, where we can use the trend established in the months before any tariffs were first imposed as a counterfactual to tell us what the value of trade would be in the absence of their budding trade war with each other. The following chart shows the combined value of that trade from January 2008 through July 2018, with the counterfactual shown as a projection of the linear trend that was established in the trailing twelve month average of the monthly data over the period from March 2017 through March 2018. Based on this very simple counterfactual, we think that in the absence of the U.S.-China trade war, the combined monthly value of goods and services traded between the two nations would be roughly $1 billion, or 2%, higher through July 2018 that what actually has been recorded. Assuming that China's organic economic growth hasn't itself also slowed, which is a real possibility. ReferencesBoard of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. China / U.S. Foreign Exchange Rate. G.5 Foreign Exchange Rates. Accessed 5 September 2018. U.S. Census Bureau. Trade in Goods with China. Accessed 5 September 2018.

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05 сентября, 11:30

Between Order and Chaos in the S&P 500

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Since December 1991, the S&P 500 has gone through 10 distinct periods of order and chaos when measured against the index' trailing year dividends per share.... Now for the latest trillion dollar question: Is the current trend, which we're marking from April 2016 onward, made up of one period of order, or two? Better still, is the inflation and deflation of what we've identified as the Corporate Tax Cut Speculative Bubble of September 2017 through April 2018 a simple disruptive event within a longer period of order, like the Apple Dividend Speculation Bubble of January 2012 through May 2012, or is it a harbinger of a breakdown in order, like the chaotic period that took hold after December 2007? Which option do you hope is the answer?