Monday, October 3, 2016

This ObamaCare Experiment Is A Flop -- CNBC; Construction Spending At Lowest Level In Eight Months -- October 3, 2016

WTI closes just below $50 at $49.25.

This pretty much ends any more "development" on the Big Island. Seven species of bees put on the Endangered Species List. All species are, coincidentally, in Hawaii. It looks like there are about 10 species of bees in Hawaii.
Daily poll, USC-LA Times daily poll (dynamic and interactive link):

Back To The Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3368188185188

RBN Energy: the Jones Act rate crash.
Term charter rates for medium-range Jones Act tankers have fallen by two-thirds since they peaked at $120,000/day in mid-2014, to only $38,000/day done in September 2016, which is good news for producers but a punch in the stomach for ship owners. A sharp rise in the number of vessels being added to the Jones Act fleet has surely contributed to the charter-rate collapse. Less obvious are the degrees to which the rate drop may have been influenced by the decline in superlight Eagle Ford crude oil production, or by the lifting of the ban on U.S. crude oil exports. Today, we examine the evidence.
The Jones Act is a federal statute requiring that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships, constructed in the U.S., owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and/or U.S. permanent residents.
The Jones Act fleet used by the petroleum industry consists of three main categories of vessels: smaller barges that typically carry either 10 MBbl or 30 MBbl of crude or refined products and operate on inland waterways as well as coastal canals; coastal barges, including larger articulated tug barges (ATBs); and self-propelled tankers that operate in both coastal and international waters and generally carry over 300 MBbl of crude oil or refined product. 
Our focus today is on large ATBs and a subset of the self-propelled tanker category, namely medium-range (MR) or “Handy” size tankers that carry about 330 Mbbl and that are largely engaged on term charters by oil companies to move crude or refined products between U.S. ports.
Brexit date set: March, 2017. That's when "the trigger is pulled." It will take at least two years to unwind the marriage. 

This ObamaCare Experiment Is A Flop

More on Harken (reported previously): "experimental ObamaCare health plan" exits Chicago and Atlanta exchanges.
This Obamacare experiment is a flop.
Harken Health — billed as an "innovative" health insurer and started by America's biggest insurance company to appeal to Obamacare customers — will exit the only two government-run exchange markets where it was selling coverage after reportedly booking losses of about $70 million in the first half of this year.
The UnitedHealth Group unit — which offers unlimited primary care visits at no out-of-pocket cost to customers who use Harken Health clinics — continue selling plans outside of Obamacare exchanges in the individual and employer markets of both Chicago and Atlanta next year.
But its departure in 2017 from the Obamacare exchanges that serve those cities represents another setback for advocates of the Affordable Care Act and their efforts to offer individual health plan customers a broad range of affordable coverage options.
Harken in August said it was abandoning plans to sell Obamacare exchange coverage in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, next year.
And Harken's parent, UnitedHealth, earlier this year said it would itself exit most Obamacare exchanges, including the federal marketplace that services Illinois, in 2017.
The first line in that CNBC story had one word too many, or the wrong demonstrative pronoun.

Also, it was reported today that Evergreen Health, Maryland's ObamaCare health co-op will switch to for-profit, leaving only 5 of the original 23 co-ops still left standing as non-profit co-ops.  Anybody who still defends ObamaCare is a) not paying attention; b) is an Obama supporter regardless of what he does; or, c) is one of the few Americans who has benefited from this trainwreck.

Those Most Responsible

Flashback: From Breitbart, the ten most responsible for this debacle, in reverse order, the usual suspects:
  • SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “If you like the insurance that you have, you'll be able to keep it.” (MSNBC’s Hardball, 12/16/09)
  • SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC): “We need to support the private insurance industry so that people who have insurance they're happy with can keep it while also providing a backstop option for people without access to affordable coverage.” (“Republicans Vent As Other Compromise Plans Get Aired,” National Journal’s Congress Daily, 6/18/09)
    SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): “If you got a doctor now, you got a medical professional you want, you get to keep that. If you have an insurance program or a health care policy you want of ideas, make sure you keep it. That you can keep who you want.”
  • SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): “We should begin with a basic principle: if you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it. If you have your doctor, and you like him or her, you should be able to keep them as well. We will not take that choice away from you.”
  • SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “Again, if you like what you have, you will be able to keep it. Let me say this again: If you like what you have, when our legislation is passed and signed by the President, you will be able to keep it.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.6400, 6/10/09)
  • SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA): “One of the things we put in the health care bill when we designed it was the protection for consumers to keep the plan they have if they like it; thus, the term ‘grandfathered plans.’ If you have a plan you like --existing policies--you can keep them. …we said, if you like a plan, you get to keep it, and you can grandfather it in.” (Sen. Harkin, Congressional Record, S.7675-6, 9/29/10)
  • SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “If you like your insurance, you keep it.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/24/09)
  • SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “This bill before us on the Senate floor makes it clear that if you have an insurance policy that you like, you can keep it. If you like the doctor that you're currently doing business with, you can continue to use that doctor.” (Sen. Durbin, Teleconference, 12/4/09)
  • SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV):“In fact, one of our core principles is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8642, 8/3/09)
  • SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): “That is why one of the central promises of health care reform has been and is: If you like what you have, you can keep it. That is critically important. If a person has a plan, and he or she likes it, he or she can keep it.” (Sen. Baucus, Congressional Record, S.7676, 9/29/10)
I disagree: it was any Republican who voted for ObamaCare.

The Market

Closing: Dow 30 down 54 points, and WTI just below $50 at $49.25

Late afternoon: down about 60 points; oil barely above $48, up slightly. NYSE:
  • new highs: 109 -- CLR (a big whoop); EOG (another big whoop);
  • new lows: 23, including WFC
Mid-day trading: down about 55 points. Oil treading water, down 21 cents, and just above $48.

Opening: Down around 70 points, I guess.

US construction spending fell in August for the second straight month to its lowest level in eight months, "an unexpected drop" driven by weakness across all sectors. "The successive declines suggest home building might not help economic growth in the third quarter. Reuters

CLR hits a new high. I remember this clown from August 24, 2016:
August 25, 2016: this is another perspective regarding CLR from a contributor over at SeekingAlpha who is shorting CLR. Among many reasons he cites for shorting the stock is this one:

The U.S. has agreed, along with Canada and Mexico, to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.  
It is incredibly important to note that this "renewable" energy includes hydroelectric power and nuclear power.

Car Sales

Bad news for GM / Silverado: F-150 series has held the #1 spot for quite some time. Then, GM Silverado came in second, followed by Ram. In September, 2016, the natural order of things switched. Fiat's Ram came in second, and GM's Chevy Silverado came in 3rd. 
The three top-selling vehicles in the United States remains the same month after month. Ford Motor Co.'s F-150 is first, followed by the Chevy Silverado from General Motors Co. and then by Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V.'s Ram. The natural order dissolved in September as Ram sales pulled ahead of Silverado's.
Pickup sales are among the most profitable of all vehicle sales made by global manufacturers. Ford's F-Series sales are about 20% of its total unit sales each year. Silverado sales are slightly less critical for GM, but still important.

US car sales slip. WSJ. September results.
  • GM and Ford sales decline amid pullbacks in fleet deliveries (this had been predicted)
  • GM: slipped 0.6%. Inconsequential.
  • Ford: "skidded" 8.1%. Consequential. (21% decline in fleet sales)
  • Fiat Chrysler: down 0.9%; Jeep posted a rare decline
  • Toyota: rose 1.5%
  • Honda: a 0.1% decline
Still, one of the best years ever for car sales.

Drilling down, let's look how Ford spins this. From the Ford press release which starts with this headline: Ford Transit Sales Grow In September; Ford's Overall US Sales Down 8 Percent Versus Year-Ago

The lede: Ford Transit vans US sales grew 6 percent last month with 10,799 sold. Overall, Ford US Seeptember sales totaled 204,447 vehicles, an 8 percent decline versus a year ago.

I'm not sure why Ford did not open with this: September marked 2016's best month for F-Series' retail sales. Ford F-Series sales totaled 67,809 vehicles (oh, now I see why) -- a 3% decline.


Link here (dynamic).
The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the third quarter of 2016 is 2.2 percent on October 3, down from 2.4 percent on September 30, 2016.
After this morning's construction spending report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the forecast of third-quarter real nonresidential structures investment growth fell from 8.4 percent to 4.7 percent and the forecast of third-quarter real government spending growth declined from 0.8 percent to 0.1 percent.
Flashback -- April 28, 2016:
In the original post, there is a link to an article in which President Obama thoughtfully discusses why Americans don't feel economically "better" during his administration. He blamed it on the GOP. He might want to look in the mirror and note he is the first American president in history to not preside over one year of 3.0%+ economic growth. That's why Americans don't feel "better" economically. It has nothing to do with the GOP. It has to do with reality.

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