No signs of catastrophe in housing market

Scott Grannis at Calafia Beach Pundit notes that the Case Shiller Home Price Index continues to show strength or at least stability in housing prices:

The Case Shiller Home Price Index for 20 major metropolitan markets hit bottom in the second quarter of last year and has been rising gradually ever since. Given the lags used in constructing the index, this means that prices likely hit bottom around March of last year. Even after adjusting for inflation, as this chart shows, home prices are up at a 3% annualized rate over the past 8 months.


S.F. Bay Area year-over-year median home price rises 25% in February

Yep, you read it right. The S.F. Chronicle:

A total of 3,582 existing single-family homes changed hands in the nine-county region in February, down 8.5 percent from the same time last year, according to the DataQuick report. Their median price was $370,000, a 24.8 percent increase from February 2009.

And then there’s this: “California’s median home sale price jumps 11.2% in February.”

RockTenn continues boosting the prices of its paper-based products

RockTenn (RKT), a manufacturer of paperboard, containerboard and consumer and corrugated packaging, has been busy this year with its price increases. RKT began the year by increasing the price of uncoated recycled paperboard by $50/ton. Since then, RKT has implement FOUR additional price hikes:

Jan 28: corrugated box prices increased by 10% and corrugated sheets by 12%.
Mar 02: prices on all grades of containerboard increased by $60/ton.
Mar 05: price increases for Classic NewsTM, AngelCote(R) and MillMask(R) coated recycled paperboard products equaling $45/ton.
Mar 09: prices on all grades of uncoated recycled paperboard increased by $60/ton.

Certainly, business continues to improve for the suppliers of paper-based products and packaging!

REITs power higher

Traders are betting that the real estate recovery is for real. Higher commercial and residential rents may be coming sooner than most people think.

Vanguard closed-end REIT fund

Breakfast just got a little more expensive thanks to orange juice prices

Florida’s freezing temperatures sent orange juice futures to two-year highs in January. The impact on the price of breakfast is upon us.

Tropicana will be shrinking one carton size and increasing the price on another:

“The 64-ounce container of orange juice drop to 59 ounces. The suggested retail price remains at $3.59.

The price of Tropicana’s gallon container of pure premium orange juice will rise between 5 percent and 8 percent. Right now it costs $6.49.”

Roubini protege expects inflation all around the world

The tagline for Inflation Watch is “Watching for potential inflation here, there and everywhere.” We borrowed this from money manager Bill Fleckenstein.

Apparently, there is at least one other person forecasting a time when inflation is “everywhere.” CNBC interviewed Arun Motianey, director of fixed income strategy at Roubini’s RBG Capital and a protege of economic professor Nouriel Roubini:

“We’re heading into a world of inflation because we are highly indebted and we are indebted here in the US economy in the household sector and in the financial sector…It’s going to be inflation everywhere and it’s going to happen really through the weakness of the US dollar…Then inflation in those other parts of the world that are expecting appreciating currencies, they’re going to inflate as well because that’s the way you ultimately correct this [economic slowdown].”

Motianey asserts that this inflation is required to avoid the apparently worse alternative of deflation.

What is copper telling us?

After a correction earlier this year, copper has rallied and is now approaching its 52-week high. It appears that fears about a slowdown in the global economy have receded.

Copper approaches its 52-week high