Home prices fell in December in most US cities

February 28, 2012

OK, the recovery is speeding right along, in the ditch.

Home prices fell in December for a fourth straight month in most major U.S. cities, as modest sales gains in the depressed housing market have yet to lift prices.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index shows prices dropped in December from November in 18 of the 20 cities tracked. The steepest declines were in Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. Miami and Phoenix were the only cities to show an increase.

Still, prices fell in 19 of the 20 cities in December compared to the same month in 2010. Only Detroit posted a year-over-year increase. Prices in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa dropped to their lowest points since the housing crisis began.


Durable Goods Orders in U.S. Slump 4%, Most in Three Years

February 28, 2012

So what are all those “new hires” gonna do?

Orders for U.S. durable goods fell in January by the most in three years, led by a slowdown in demand for commercial aircraft and business equipment.

Bookings (DGNOCHNG) for goods meant to last at least three years slumped 4 percent, more than forecast, after a revised 3.2 percent gain the prior month, data from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Economists projected a 1 percent decline, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.


PPP: Santorum up by 10 among election-day voters in MI

February 28, 2012

Hey won’t be long now … Michigan will be the battleground tonight, and Public Policy Polling says that Rick Santorum may have recaptured the momentum over the weekend — but with a twist:

It’s always good to be cautious with one night poll numbers, but momentum seems to be swinging in Santorum’s direction. Romney led with those interviewed on Sunday, but Santorum has a 39-34 advantage with folks polled on Monday. The best sign that things have gone back toward Santorum might be that with those polled today who hadn’t already voted, Santorum’s advantage was 41-31.

Much has been made of Democratic efforts to turn out the vote for Santorum and we see evidence that’s actually happening. Romney leads with actual Republican voters, 43-38. But Santorum’s up 47-10 with Democratic voters, and even though they’re only 8% of the likely electorate that’s enough to put him over the top. The big question now is whether those folks will actually bother to show up and vote tomorrow.

Romney may have booted Michigan over the weekend:

Romney hasn’t made a good last impression on Michigan voters. His favorability in Sunday interviews was 57/36, but in Monday interviews it was only 47/48. Santorum saw little difference in his reviews between the two days: 54/39 on Sunday and 56/36 on Monday. If Romney does indeed end up losing tomorrow there’s not much doubt he will have blown it in the final 48 hours.

It might also be that Santorum has been emphasizing economics the last few days in Michigan.

He took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to compare tax plans.  Santorum borrowed Newt Gingrich’s criticism that Romney only wants to tinker around the edges, and added a swipe at Romney’s “last-minute conversion” to tax reform as well as repeating the accusation of Romney being an “Occupy Wall Street” candidate:

Meanwhile, my opponent in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, had a last-minute conversion. Attempting to distract from his record of tax and fee increases as governor of Massachusetts, poor job creation, and aggressive pursuit of earmarks, he now says he wants to follow my lead and lower individual as well as corporate marginal tax rates.

It’s a good start. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough. He says his proposed tax cuts would be revenue neutral and, borrowing the language of Occupy Wall Street, promises the top 1% will pay for the cuts. No pro-growth tax policy there, just more Obama-style class warfare.

Will this be enough to carry Michigan


Daytona 500: Matt Kenseth wins wild Great American Race

February 28, 2012

Then there was the 500 itself.

Rained out from Sunday to Monday for the first time in 54 years. Delayed again from noon Monday to 7:05 p.m. Interrupted for more than two hours when Juan Pablo Montoya hit a jet dryer under caution, igniting jet fuel that burned his car and the safety equipment and damaged the track. And the series of late-race accidents that turned the 200-lap, 500-miler into a 202-lap, 505-miler that Kenseth won for team owner Jack Roush.

When runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr. lamented that “NASCAR just can’t catch a break,” he had to be kidding, right? The Sunday to Monday afternoon to Monday night delays landed the season-opening race on Fox in prime time for the first time. The spectacular turn-three wreck and fire–there were no injuries–will make every sports-highlight show. Patrick’s three wrecks–she wasn’t necessarily at fault in any–put her in front of the American media in all her glory.

So, yeah, Speedweek ’12 was very, very good to the folks on International Speedway Boulevard.

Kenseth never put a wheel wrong in giving Roush his second 500 win, after his rain-shortened one in 2009. In a Ford, he led twice for 50 of the 202 laps, first between laps 146 and 157 and then the final 38, from 165 to 202. He took the point for good when Dave Blaney pitted when the red flag finally was lifted for the Montoya-jet-dryer accident at lap 158.


Armageddon 2040: Nasa identifies new asteroid threat which ‘could hit Earth’ in 30 years time – and UN teams are working out how to divert it

February 28, 2012

What they are thinking about …

  • Asteroid has 1 in 625 chance of hitting Earth
  • UN team debating options including nuclear weapons and ‘steering’ it away with a probe
  • Scientists will measure rock further in 2013

It is about 460 ft wide and soaring through space – on a possible collision course with Earth.

Nasa has identified a new asteroid threat to our planet that could potentially impact on February 5th 2040.

The 2011 AG5 has already attracted the concern of the UN Action Team on near-Earth objects, which has begun discussing ways to divert it.

It’s just a photoshop picture.

The asteroid 2011 AG5 will pass near to Earth in 2040, with a one in 625 chance of hitting our planet, according to scientists.

Scientists have not yet been able to work out much more about it than its size as they have only been able to observe it for half its orbit.

But between 2013 and 2016 they will be able to monitor from the ground and will make a more detailed assessment.

In 2023 the rock will make a ‘keyhole pass’ of Earth, which is an area it passes through on the orbit before it would hit Earth.

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, this will will be within a mere 0.02 astronomical units of our planet, or 1.86 million miles.


Dell “No Longer a PC Company” as It Focuses on Enterprise

February 28, 2012

Another one sees the light …

Dell will still devote energy to its XPS lineup

Dell, a company that rose to prominence on direct sales to customers, lean operations, and competitive prices is moving its focus away from the PC market. According to PC Pro, this revelation comes courtesy of Brad Anderson, Dell Solutions Group President.

“We’re no longer a PC company, we’re an IT company,” said Anderson. “It’s no longer about shiny boxes, it’s about IT solutions [that let companies drive efficiencies].”

The company killed off its netbook lineup in late 2011.

Dell experienced record growth in its enterprise solutions and services divisions with $18.6 billion in revenue for fiscal 2012 ($4.9 billion for Q4). Revenue from its consumer unit dropped 2 percent for Q4 to $3.2 billion.


George Osborne: UK has run out of money

February 28, 2012

The Government ‘has run out of money’ and cannot afford debt-fuelled tax cuts or extra spending, George Osborne has admitted.

Obama’s future for America.

In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy.

Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers.

“The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said. “The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.”


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