Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Alcoa to report later today, from the Wall Street Journal:
Alcoa Inc. has struck a $1.5 billion long-term supply contract with General Electric Inc.’s aviation unit, underscoring the aluminum producer’s efforts to offset difficult conditions in its raw-aluminum business.
Under the deal, New York-based Alcoa will supply advanced nickel-based superalloy, titanium and aluminum components for engines and for engine parts made by GE.
Alcoa shares rose 1% in recent premarket trading.
The announcement comes ahead of what is expected to be Alcoa’s worst quarterly report since early 2014, due after the market closes Monday, including a 17% drop in revenue from a year earlier and earnings of two cents a share, according to a poll of analysts. Raw-aluminum prices have fallen over 25% to about $1,500 per ton in the past year.
As usual, it will be first major U.S. company to report, setting the tone during a volatile time for the stock market.
Front page, on-line edition, but way, way at the bottom, from The Los Angeles Times, google in North Dakota, an oil boomtown doesn't want to go bust.
It may be tempting to write off Williston as another boomtown heading for a bust, a story that has defined the American West, whether the resource was fur, gold or timber.
But Williston believes it can build something more enduring. The way city officials tell it, closing the camps is a show of faith in the future.
"It's very difficult to build a sustainable community on man camps," said Ward Koeser, who retired as mayor in 2014.
The city used its newfound wealth to build a $70-million high school, a $68-million recreation center, and new water and sewer systems. It renovated Main Street and created a city position for someone to write parking tickets. Highways have been widened, and an airport is under development.
The biggest transformation may be in the city's housing stock. As the population tripled to more than 36,000, developers built about 10,000 houses and apartments.
Active rigs:

Active Rigs58167192182197

RBN Energy: Zombies: Shrinking Cash Flow And Rising Debt Turn Some E&Ps Into The Walking Dead. Folks may be interested in the chart showing the walking dead.

Politically Correct

From CNN:
Police are hunting for a gunman who shot and killed a fellow passenger on board a train in Oakland, California.
Description of the suspect, in broad daylight or at least a well-lit train, with at least one witness.
The suspect was wearing blue jeans, military-style boots and a dark jacket. 
So politically correct we don't know whether the suspect is male, female; tall, short; thin, fat; white, black; hat, no hat; tattoos, no tattoos; long hair, short hair, no hair. But we do know the suspect was wearing --OMG -- "military-style" boots. 
From The Boston Globe 

Shire finalizes deal to buy Baxalta with $32 billion offer.

David Bowie dead, cancer, at age 69.

Burdened students confront candidates on college loans.   

Boston Globe delivery problems persist. For the second consecutive week, thousands of Sunday newspapers did not reach subscribers. The Globe continues to print daily "apologies" to its subscribers. Comment: there's a huge backstory here that is not being reported.

The LA Times

Google: The Saudi-U.S. relationship: Shakier than ever.
Saudi Arabia's royal family is frightened — and that's a problem for the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
The Saudis are surrounded by enemies.
To the north, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, leader of Islamic State, has promised to overthrow the Al Saud dynasty, which he calls “the serpent's head.” To the south, Sunni-led Saudi forces are at war against Shia Muslim rebels in Yemen. To the east, the Al Saud face the rival they fear most, Shia-ruled Iran.
The Saudis have problems at home, too.
Fearing subversion from both Islamic State and Iran, the government has cracked down on Sunni and Shia dissidents alike, jailing writers, journalists and human rights lawyers as well as potential terrorists.
The plummeting price of oil has blown a hole in the government's budget while the population, accustomed to subsidized housing and utilities, keeps growing. And the family faces a succession crisis; 80-year-old King Salman, who ascended to the throne last year, is described privately by diplomats as nearly senile.
Once their regime was a pillar of conservative stability; now fear has made them unpredictable.
The Birther Problem

The Ted Cruz birth problem remains, perhaps, the top story in GOP politics. Who wudda thought? Legally, he's good to go. But he was a Canadian citizen, also, up until 18 months ago. He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014, when he was ready to announce he was running for president. That's a problem.
Speaking of Problems

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2015 is 0.8 percent on January 8, down from 1.0 percent on January 6. The forecast for the contribution of inventory investment to fourth-quarter real GDP growth declined 0.2 percentage points to -0.8 percentage points after this morning's wholesale trade report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nominee For Geico Rock Award

StarTribune has nominated Cathy and Kevin Palmer, Blaine, MN, for the Geico Rock Award, 2016. Apparently the couple had not heard about really, really inexpensive natural gas.

Technically it's not a nomination but it certainly reads like a nomination.

They spent $5,700 on six solar panels to provide 17% of their electricity needs (of course, that's a hypothetical number and we all know that reality will never match a high-pressure salesman's projections).

Assuming they have a $300/month utility bill, 17% of $300 = $51.

$5,700 / $51 = 111 months = 9 years. So, assuming everything works as advertised their solar panels will pay for themselves in about 10 years.

If their monthly utility bill is $150 (see below), then 17% of $150  = $25.

$5,700 / $25 = 228 months = about 20 years

For $35,000 they could have gone fully solar.

By the way how much is an "average" utility bill in Blaine, MN? Hard to say. This was from a comment at a message board back in 2011:
We're in a split-level from the early 1990's in Blaine. It's about 1800 square feet. We've got the original furnace and air conditioner in our house, so probably not very efficient. We also haven't done much to make our house more efficient (probably could use some more/better insulation in a few places). We are fairly aggressive with a programmable thermostat (80 in summer, 60 or so in winter during the day). We also replaced the fridge, which probably saves $6-$7 a month in electricity (plus the new one is bigger and actually keeps things cold).

Gas averages about $55/month. But, it's highly variable (about $20 in summer, tops out around $150 in winter). Electric is about $50/month and more consistent. Water/sewer/garbage are all billed through the city and come out to about $36/month. We do have the smallest garbage bin available which saves a small amount of money per month.
That was back in 2011, when natural gas was selling for $4.00 / million BTUs, vs $2.00 today.

By the way, on a percentage basis the amount of energy that solar contributes to total US consumption still rounds ... drum roll ... 0.0%. To the first decimal place, solar contributes 0.0% of energy consumption in the US. Wind: 2%. And this is after decades of advocacy, tax credits, and government mandates:

There is talk that the amount of energy that solar contributes to total US consumption by 2030 could triple. 

This is truly disturbed.

Sounds of Silence, Disturbed

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