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Five Things Yule Need to Know: Inflation: Vanished?, Personal Savings?, What Is a Yule?, It's a Festivus Miracle!, Airing of Grievances


What you need to know (and what it means)!


Minyanville's daily Five Things You Need to Know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street:

1. Inflation: Vanished?

Consumer prices were flat in November, the Commerce Department reported this morning. Is inflation dead?

  • The year-on-year increase in core inflation (measured by the PCE Price Index) is now down to 2.2%, closer to the Fed's stated upper boundary of 2%.
  • Although still above the upper boundary of the Fed's comfort zone, the trend for PCE is clearly lower... at least for now.
  • The Fed has been watching closely for wage pressures and wages and salaries increased by 0.3% in November after a 0.2% increase in October.
  • But what about the Fed call for inflation to moderate (so far, so good) while the economy expands modestly?
  • Well, the news there is less good.
  • Durable goods orders rose 1.9% in November, beating expectations of a 1.3% rise, but take a look at what that headline number hides.
  • Durable goods excluding transportation fell 1.1%. Yes, FELL 1.1%.
  • Moreover, real spending on services (and we are a services-based economy) increased a paltry 0.1%, the smallest gain since July.
  • Good luck dressing all that up.

2. Personal Savings?

Savings? We don't need no stinking savings.

  • Personal Savings came in at negative 1% after last month's reading of negative 0.7%.
  • Personal Savings has now been negative for 20 consecutive months in the U.S.
  • So much for consumer balance sheet repair.

3. What Is a Yule?

  • Yule is apparently the winter solstice celebration from Scandinavian mythology and Germanic pagans.
  • According to Wikipedia, Yule and Yuletide are also archaic terms for Christmas.
  • A yule log is a traditional holiday pastry smothered in coffee or chocolate-flavoured icing and decorated with sugared holly leaves and roses.

4. It's a Festivus Miracle!

Festivus, the non-existant holiday celebrated by Seinfeld's Costanzas, has resulted in sales of nearly 300 Festivus Poles this season. Truly, a Festivus miracle.

  • Festivus is a fictional holiday featured in an episode of the television sitcom, Seinfeld.
  • According to the episode, Festivus is celebrated each December 23 using an aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree.
  • At the Festivus dinner, a meal featuring non-holiday comfort food, each participant tells friends and family all the instances in which they disappointed him or her that year in what is called "The Airing of Grievances" (See also, below).
  • The slogan for the holiday is "A Festivus for the rest of us."
  • The Wagner Companies, a Milwaukee-based maker of hand-railing components, has this year sold about 300 Festivus poles, according to the New York Times.
  • Wagner offers a 6-foot Festivus pole for $38 and a 2-foot-8-inch tabletop model for $30.

5. Airing of Grievances

In honor of Festivus, I hereby present the Airing of Grievances.

All of the following have disappointed me greatly at some point this year.

  • The Stock market
  • NY Mets
  • Delta Airlines
  • Tony Stewart
  • Starbucks at 50th and Lexington Ave.
  • Orlando "Tubby" Smith
  • March Orange Juice futures
  • Oxford Cafe
  • Jumbo Bagels
  • MTA Subway NYC Transit
  • Continental Airline Baggage Handlers
  • Wu Liang Ye on Lexington Ave.
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Gulfstream Park races 2,3,4,5,6,8,9, January 24
  • Keeneland Race Course races 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, April 13
  • Churchill Downs races, 6,7,8,9,10,11, May 6
  • Pimlico races 9,10,11,12, May 20
  • Belmont races 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12, June 10
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Dell
  • Lucky Charms
  • KFC
  • Frederick's on Madison
  • Euthamol Toothpaste
  • Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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