Wolf Richter

No Wonder German Workers Drag Down Retail Sales – And Much Of The Economy

Not that 2013 was such a great year in Germany, economically speaking, with growth stalling at barely above the zero line. But it was a superb year for extracting taxes from hard-working people. And it shoved Germany deeper into two decades of retail quagmire.

The Exquisitely Reengineered Frankenstein Housing Monster

It’s back, a new and improved contraption, a synthetic structured security that on its polished surface looks like that triple-A rated mortgage-backed toxic waste that helped blow up the banks and your 401(k) in 2008. But this time, it’s different. It’s even worse.

Stocks on Speed: Margin Debt Spikes, So Does Risk Of Crash

The Fed must have seen the relentlessly spiking margin debt. Leverage is a sign of investor confidence. The great accelerator. On the way up. And on the way down. Margin debt has a nasty, very consistent habit of peaking just when the stock market begins to crash.

Chaos Breaks Out In Natural Gas, Price Tripled Since April 2012

“Volatile,” a word that is often used to describe the price of natural gas with its random-appearing jumps and plunges, head fakes, and whiplash-inducing turnarounds, no longer describes the price of natural gas. “Chaotic” would be a better term.

Icahn’s “No-Brainer” Goes To Heck (Manipulation Works Only Most Of The Time)

Carl Icahn must have tossed and turned Monday night, after the Apple debacle. Reeling from his losses, he was out there on Tuesday hyping the stock with all his might. They’re all doing it, from Warren Buffett on down, guys with billions of play-money and a loud voice.

Why Japan’s Trade Fiasco Worries Me So Much

According to Japan’s state religion of Abenomics, devaluing the yen would boost exports and cut imports. The resulting trade surplus would jumpstart the economy and induce Japan Inc. to invest at home. It would save Japan. But the opposite is happening.

From “Glut” To Panic: Natural Gas Soars

On Friday, when stocks were plunging, natural gas soared nearly 10%. The highest close since June 2010. Up 20% for the week. Up 170% from April 2012. And it’s just the beginning. Because after the glut comes the panic.

A Very Unfinished Recession, For Most Americans

Statistically speaking, the Fed’s heroic actions conquered the Great Recession years ago.The economy has been growing at a measurable clip, statistically speaking, with the unemployment rate inching lower over the years, though again, that’s just statistically speaking. But most Americans, struggling to make ends meet in the real economy far from the hoopla, hype, and buzz of Wall Street or Silicon Valley, have a more accurate answer.

Housing Bubble 2.0 Hits Messy Resistance In California

The salary you must earn to be able to buy the median home in San Francisco is $125,071. That home costs $705,000 – up 24% from a year ago. San Francisco tops the list of the most unaffordable cities. Households earning the median income of $51,000, well, forget it.