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Seven Things You Need to Know Right Now

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1. German Economy Actually Doing Pretty Well, Thank You
While the "recovery" in the U.S. is debatable and entirely dependent on whether you are a real person with a real job, elsewhere things seem to be doing pretty okay. German factory orders rose 2.4% month-over-month in February and the improvement was spread among both domestic and foreign orders. That's the good news. (See chart below). Of course, while domestic orders improved, the bearish take on that according to Bloomberg economist David Powell is that the economic recovery in Germany is still overly dependent on foreign orders which exposes the economy there to the rest of Europe.

2. Closer to Home: KB Home Tells It Like It Is... and It Isn't Good
"Due to the financial impact of the events in the quarter, we do not anticipate a net profit for 2011," KB Home (KBH) CEO Jeff Metzger said yesterday on the company's conference call. Metzger added that while the macroeconomic landscape has improved, the improvement has not included new jobs and thus has not spread into housing. "The recently reported Case-Shiller home price index and consumer confidence data further underscore the headwinds that housing markets continue to face," Metzger said. "These headwinds will not go away, and a sustained, broad-based housing recovery will not occur until we start to experience material job creation and higher consumer confidence levels."

3. A Quick Look at Sector and Asset Class Correlations and Dispersion
Bespoke Investment Group has a fantastic report out on their free site providing a visual for something we've been talking about here for some time: dispersion among stocks and asset classes. During bear markets, asset classes, particularly sectors, become more correlated. During bull markets dispersion occurs.  "During the last bear market, sectors generally were more correlated with each other than they have been during the current bull," BIG notes. Below are two correlation matrices. Check out the full report for more details.

4. Hawaii Hotels Worry Japan Radiation Disaster May Threaten Business
While Hawaii hotels saw robust tourism in February, with occupancy figures rising 6.1% to 81.7%, enough to raise room rates, and after similar gains in March, there is concern now that the radiation scare in Japan may bring a halt to those gains. Bookings from Japan, Hawaii’s third largest visitor market, began falling in the islands after March 11.

5. "The Debt is the New Global Warming and Paul Ryan is the New Al Gore"

It's a good line that made me laugh at loud... via Twitter @TheStalwart and this article at Business Insider.

6.New York City's MTA Subway Among Most Efficient In the Country!

Hahaha. Well, it is! At least  it is ccording to a report today from the Citizens Budget Commission, which, let's be honest, neither of us have ever heard of before. According to the CBC, MTA has the lowest cost per passenger trip among the nine large urban area comparison systems, at $1.40 per passenger.

Meanwhile, below are two NYC subway-related videos that are highly relevant to this discussion. The first shows passenger efficiency. The second shows how far the subway system has come since 1986.

7. Edgar Cayce Predicted Japan Quake, Destruction of Manhattan Looms
This is amazing. Edgar Cayce, the man known as the "sleeping prophet," and who passed away in 1945, apparently predicted the Japan earthquake!  Cayce predicted a shift in the world’s axis in 2011. And sure enough, the Japanese earthquake affected the earth’s axis on Friday, March 11. But wait, there's more. Cayce believed, among other things, this would eventually lead to "the destruction of Manhattan and disappearance of New York."  Which raises the following question: shouldn't someone tell them?!

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.