Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Nothing About The Bakken -- The Emoji -- London Review Of Books -- May 3, 2016

Hopefully a paywall doesn't prevent you from accessing this article. For those curious about the emoji, everything you ever wanted to know at this link: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n08/nick-richardson/short-cuts. Excerpts:
There are 845 emoji installed on the latest iPhones. The set includes sixty-odd ‘smileys’, not all of them smiley: round, lemon-yellow faces that express different emotions, from joy to grief to affection to terror. A new smiley, coming with the 2017 update, was inspired by Maggie Smith’s character in Downton Abbey and portrays a sort of wrily amused disdain. You can express more emotions in emoji than some people can express with their actual real-life faces.
Emoji didn’t become popular in the West until Apple installed them on the iPhone in 2011, but they first appeared in Japan in the 1990s.
The word ‘emoji’, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t have anything to do with emotion: it’s an amalgamation of the Japanese words for image, e, and character, moji. Emoji’s Japanese origins account for the existence both of a 🍢 (an oden, a Japanese winter stew; the emoji depicts the Shizuoka variation, in which the ingredients are skewered) and a 🍡 (a dango, a dessert of sweet, skewered dumplings).
They also explain why there’s a 👺, a mask representing a tengu (a demon from Japanese folklore) that is used by Japanese people to express conceitedness, by Westerners to express disgruntlement, and by me to express self-conscious hauteur. A new book, The Story of Emoji by Gavin Lucas, traces the creation of emoji to an employee of the Japanese telecommunications company NTT Docomo. In the mid-1990s, Docomo produced the Pocket Bell, a pager which allowed users to attach a small ♥ to their messages; it became very popular with flirty high school kids.
When the company invented i-mode, the world’s first widespread mobile internet platform, a young engineer called Shigetaka Kurita decided to extend the Pocket Bell’s vocabulary of images. He created a set of proto-emoji using a grid of 12 by 12 pixels. The Story of Emoji suggests that the popularity of Kurita’s creation had to do with the specific needs of the Japanese business community, which had been upset by the introduction of email in 1993.
Traditionally, Japanese businessmen and women had sent one another long, verbose letters that were full of seasonal greetings and honorific expressions and included a lot of contextual information: ‘The absence of all of these cues in emails and texts meant that the promise of digital communication … was being offset by an accompanying increase in miscommunication.’
Kurita’s characters helped the sararimen stop accidentally disrespecting each other.
The most important proto-emoji, though, is the smiley itself,😊, which wasn’t invented by Forrest Gump as Hollywood would have you believe, but by a graphic designer called Harvey Ball in 1963 on the occasion of the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts’s merger with the Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio. Ball was hired to produce a cheery design for buttons and posters that could be distributed internally because company morale was low. The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts merged with the Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio, and the world was shaken to its core. The smiley rebelled against corporate culture and became a hippy symbol, then the symbol of acid house.

"Fight's On!" -- May 3, 2016; For Bernie, New Campaign Song: "Stayin' Alive"


Later, 8:47 p.m. Central Time: last headline before I call it a day -- "DEMS in disarray." Headline by the end of the week: Biden re-thinks his decision. After all, he's not much older than Hillary. And, then, of course, there's always John Kerry. Unlike the others running for president, he actually served in Vietnam. He has medals and ribbons to prove it. Well, he has his medals. He tossed his ribbons decades ago. At 73 -- ....

Original Post
Just last night I wrote:
It's very possible the establishment DEMS are getting very, very worried about grandma:
  • nobody, and we mean nobody, is showing up to vote
  • now, polls show that Trump can actually beat Grandma mano a femano 
  • Cruz is about to implode -- it's not just Indiana but his dad is going nuts (calling out to "the body of Christ") and after tonight Cruz' funding dries up
  • now it's the DEMS talking a "brokered convention"
  • once the Indiana results are in tomorrow night, it's all over for CarlyCruz regardless of what the latter says
When Peggy Noonan wrote a couple of weeks ago that this was a very, very strange presidential primary, she had no idea how accurate she would turn out to be. 
Tonight, I understand CarlyCruz has dropped out. As predicted, one can talk the talk but when the money runs out, the money runs out.

It's Trump vs Hillary. 

It's Mark Levin's worse nightmare against grandma. I wonder how long we will have to listen to Mark Levin -- the "great" Mark Levin -- lament CarlyCruz.

Rush is lookin' good. 

By the way, the big story for the past few weeks is how well organized CarlyCruz campaign was. This speaks volumes for the way he imploded. I wonder if Kasich stays in?

By the way, did Bernie win Indiana? See above: now it's the DEMS talking a "brokered convention." It's not going to be a brokered convention but the attention Hillary gets is going to be lukewarm. At best.

How bad is it for the establishment DEMS and the media? With 59% 69% of the vote in, Bernie has 53% of the vote, and the media is afraid to "call" the race. LOL. [Update: CNN calls it for Bernie, but LA Times has not.] [Update: with 73% of the vote in, the LA Times finally calls it for Bernie. Stayin' alive. Only in America.]

Mark Levin goes nuts.

This is a win-win for the GOP establishment. If Trump wins, Hillary loses; if Trump wins, the establishment GOP will be able to say: "We told you so." But at least Americans have a real choice this fall. Two rich New Yorkers.

Stayin' Alive, Bee Gees

No New Permits In North Dakota Today -- May 3, 2016; Three More DUCs

Wells coming off confidential list Wednesday:
  • 29735, SI/NC, WPX, Wells 32-29HZ, Reunion Bay, no production data,
  • 30574, SI/NC, XTO, Rink 12X-4H, Garden, no production data,
  • 31598, SI/NC, Hess, EN-Cvancara-155-93-1522H-6, Alger, no production data,
No new permits.

Hess renewed two permits, both were LK-Hay Draw permits in Dunn County.

Corinthian Exploration transferred about 83 wells to Legacy Oil:
  • earliest permit: 00884
  • oldest permit: 29202
  • two SWD wells
Corinthian and Legacy have a long history together. Back in June, 2014, there was a post: "Legacy buys Corinthian."

I've never been able to keep track of Corinthian, Legacy, and Surge. I track North Dakota operators here. In addition, one can search any of the names here at the blog.

Tell Me This Isn't Happening

The Atlantic (Monthly) Magazine used to be one of my favorite magazines. I would subscribe off and on over the years. I had not subscribed in quite some time but then began subscribing again about two years ago, and for the most part have been very happy.

Then the May, 2016, issue arrived today (May 3, 2016). Very, very disappointing.

It did not have any of the in-depth articles with demographics of the US that I find most compelling and most unique with regard to The Atlantic (Monthly) Magazine. It was simply a "bunch" of articles that I could have found almost any place else. I have read very little of the three articles that caught my eye but the little I have read confirmed that somehow things have changed -- and not for the better at The Atlantic (Monthly) Magazine. The articles:
  • "The Secret Shame of the Middle Class: nearly half of Americans would have trouble fining $400 in a crisis. I'm one of them." And I have a monthly $200 cable television bill (to watch Rachel Maddow); a $200 smartphone data plan (to be able to post on Facebook while on the move); and $80 dinner bills  (per meal) when taking the family out to eat because it takes too long to prepare meals at home.
  • "Warren Buffett's Son Steps Up." I had hoped to escape all the Buffett stories on CNBC, Yahoo!Finance, Bloomberg, Reuters, etc, only to find that Warren has an extended family and The Atlantic (Monthly) Magazine is reporting on one of them.
  • "How Islam Created Europe." And other myths, I suppose. Dan Jones would most heartily disagree, I would imagine. As would JRR Tolkien and a gazillion other thinkers.
Sometimes You Just Want To Play The Music Loud And Drown Out The World

Storms Never Last , Jessi Colter & Waylon Jennings

A Note For The Granddaughters

It took a long time -- 40 years? -- but I'm really excited.

For now, just a few links:

Rigs At 29 Yesterday; 27 This Morning; Now Ticks Down To 26 -- May 3, 2016; Gasoline Consumption Hit An-All Time "Seasonal" Record -- EIA

Active rigs:

Active Rigs2686185192209

Gasoline demand: I assume this has been posted before, but if so, I forget and/or I missed it. Whatever. John Kemp noted it today in his tweets: US GASOLINE CONSUMPTION hit a seasonal record 9.2 million b/d in February according to EIA monthly data released on Friday, April 29, 2016.

I was curious. Was that really accurate? No, I wasn't doubting EIA or John Kemp, I just wanted to see for myself. And what I saw was huge: the "record set" in February appears to be an absolute new record for February. Go back to any February, as far back as you want to go, and I don't think there is any February in which gasoline demand was as high as it was two months ago (and that takes into account an extra February day this year).

On the other hand although we have had record-breaking months "year-over-year" in the past twelve months, none of them have hit an all-time record. For example, a year-over-year record was set in December, 2015, but that number was lower than the demand set in four Decembers earlier in the century (2004, 005, 2006, and 2007).

And note that automakers are struggling selling "cars" but doing very, very well selling SUVs and pick-up trucks. There could be a connection.

To the best of my knowledge, "we've" never hit a daily average of 10 million bopd gasoline demand in this country, though we have come close (in the data above, 9.64 million bopd in July, 2007). It looks like the increase in gasoline demand year-over-year in this country could approach 6% this summer based on a reading of the tea leaves. If so, for August, 2016, 1.06 x 293,479,000 = 311,087,740 / 31 = 10,035,088 bopd -- just slightly over the 10 million bopd. So we will see. 

April EV Sales Numbers Starting To Be Reported

Link here (March, 2016 --> April, 2016 sales):
  • Tesla Model S: 3,900 --> 800 (the company delivered 850 in January, 2016)
  • Tesla Model X: 1,850 --> 850 (the company delivered 270 in January, 2016)
  • Chevrolet Volt: 1,865 -->1,983
  • Nissan Leaf: 1,246 --> 787 (that's more than a stall)
  • VW e-Golf: 86 --> 326 (recovering)
  • Chevrolet Spark: 252 --> 419 (gaining traction)
  • Cadillac ELR: 104 --> 95 (in a rut)
  • BMW i8: 89 --> 130 (whatever) 
Tesla reports 325,000 preorders for the Model 3. On an annualized basis, based on April sales, annualized sales for:
  • Tesla Model S: 9,600; on March sales: 46,800
  • Tesla Model X: 10,200; on March sales: 22,200
To meet the demands for pre-orders in the first six months after the new Model 3 is released, Tesla will have to ramp up from 20,000 autos/year to 54,000 Tesla Model 3 deliveries/month to satisfy current demand (in the first six months after the first Model 3 is released).

See Tesla's 1Q16 earnings here. Both the vice president for production and the vice president for manufacturing are leaving Tesla. 

Worth A Read: Where US Non-Latino Whites Live -- AEI -- May 3, 2016

I enjoyed the post, but not sure I would have posted it had it not included the paragraph on Boston and Belmont. We "lived in" Belmont, MA, for four years.

From AEI:
If you’re asking about the median population of the places where white Americans live, the answer is 45,200. That’s not Tampa. That’s the size of Wallingford, Connecticut, a town between New Haven and Hartford and home to Choate, the famous prep school.
Let’s be clear about what that median represents, because it’s a pretty astonishing result: Fully half of white Americans live in places smaller than 45,200 people.
t’s so astonishing low that you should be suspicious. Specifically, a place can be called a “city” with its own mayor and city council, but for practical purposes it is part of a dense urban area. Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example, is technically a city of 107,000 people, but it is contiguous to Boston, and you definitely feel like you’re in an urban area. Belmont, only three miles to the west, is listed at 24,700. It is a residential community with a small-town shopping center and doesn’t have the feel of a city, but it is a suburb of Boston.
I had to worry about such issues a few years ago when I was working on a study of American diversity.
To deal with it, I defined a “Greater X”—e.g., a “Greater Colorado Springs”—for each of the fifty largest cities, based on contiguous high-density census tracts rather than the official city limits. For cities of 500,000 or more, I also identified satellites such as Belmont that were not connected by high-density census tracts, but were suburbs of an urban area. So the median of 45,200 is based on a treatment of the problem in which the population of Cambridge is classified as part of the city of Boston and Belmont is defined as a satellite. A town of 45,200 as I am classifying it is a stand-alone community.
Now let’s see if I can give you a more intuitive sense of how many white Americans live outside the great urban centers. I’ll use my home town of Newton, Iowa, population of a little over 15,000, as the first break point. If you live in a place smaller than Newton, you’re definitely in a small town or living in rural America. Wallingford is the next break point, demarcating populations of 15,000–45,000 as the gray area between “town” and “small city.”
I’ll use Des Moines, Iowa, to mark the break between small cities of more than 45,000 and major cities. Greater Des Moines has a population of about 370,000. You can drive from one end of the downtown area to the other in about seven minutes, including stops at red lights along the way. It is a city, yes. It is not “urban America” in any meaningful sense of the term.

Comparing The New Starbucks On Tate And the Older Starbucks On Glade/SH-121, Grapevine, TX -- May 3, 2016

The stores are almost identical in footprint: long, rectangular, with main door on south side; "front" door on west side, and a patio out front, with wi-fi available 24/7.

But, and this is huge: the new store is about 20 feet longer, maybe slightly wider.

It feels much, much, much more open.

The sales counter sits much lower; the pastry shelves are definitely lower. Much easier to see/interact with the staff.

By far, there are fewer tables than the allotted space could provide.

End result: It not only feels much, much, much more open. It is much more open. A breath of fresh air.

The four easy chairs have been moved to the front center. There is no long table at the front which existed at the older Starbucks. As I look over where the long table would have been, I notice the area is also a whole lot lighter in the new Starbucks. The windows on the south side take up almost the entire south wall, and extend from floor almost up to the ceiling. The morning sun shines in wonderfully, and the setting sun, I bet, won't be in our eyes.

Where the easy chairs were in the older Starbucks: now we have a longer area with a faux-leather couch that extends the length, from the counter to the west wall with three small round tables.

The easy chairs are more "modern" -- a leaner look. 

The floor is "unfinished" cement. I asked about that last night. They said that older Starbucks have a tile floor which is "impossible" to clean. All those dark spots on Starbucks tile floor? They are not decoration; it's dirt that can't be scrubbed off.

Overall: the new Starbucks -- much, much more room; more room; much lighter. I really like it.

This Starbucks closes at the typical time for Starbucks: 9:00 p.m. The one on Northwest Highway (Grapevine) apparently closes at 10:00 p.m. and the one Glade/SH-121 closes at 11:00 p.m. I'm not sure about those times -- the barista who has worked at all of them told me that last night. She also told me to leave at precisely 9:00 p.m. She was anxious to get home. LOL.

But she told me I could sit on the patio all night and remain connected to Starbucks wi-fi.


Getting in the Swing, a Matt Pop Mix

Halibut Recipe (Abbreviated) 

6 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 t basil
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
2 T lemon juice

46-ounce fillet
Marinade up to 2 hours

1. Stove top
2. 1 T olive oil (or Pam, I suppose)
3. High heat, until you see smoke
4. Halibut in pan; coat with marinade
5. High heat for 3 minutes; flip; repeat (marinade, high heat) for 3 minutes other side
6. Reduce heat to medium; repeat marinade both sides
7. At medium, 2 - 4 minutes each side -- until centers are opaque

Optimism Still Alive In The Bakken -- Dickinson Press -- May 3, 2016; Home Depot In Williston To Close

The Dickinson Press is reporting: Despite thousands of empty bedrooms, optimism still alive in ND Oil Patch.
"I do say we are busier than you would think we would be," said Tom Rolfstad, Williston's former economic development director.
Still, as drilling rigs went from more than 200 during the boom to below 30, development has dried up. A Home Depot store that opened just three years ago will close next week.
Shane Roers came from the family business in Fargo to Dickinson, where Roers West has made a mark developing new projects for businesses, apartments and homes.
Now, they're trying to weather the slowdown.
"I think that there's definitely not a fear factor like there was in the past, but I can tell you there's people not pulling the trigger on stuff," Roers said. "As oil gets up to 40 bucks, maybe that will start easing. If we can get up to 50 bucks -- it's going to take some time. If it jumped up to 60 bucks tomorrow, it's not going to happen right away. It's going to have to level off and get some stability until people feel comfortable with it."
In Williston, hotels have the biggest challenges. Twenty-two were built during the boom, and even that wasn't enough back then. Now they have 1,800 open rooms and are running at just 20 to 25 percent capacity, Rolfstad said.
"They're actually more on the bleeding edge than anybody," he said.
That's one reason some in Williston want to shut down the remaining crew camps for oil workers, allowing hotels to benefit from workers still here.
With about 3,200 vacant apartments in Williston, Rolfstad figures about 6,400 bedrooms are vacant. And rents are down by "half at least," he said.

How Deep Is Your Love? Pretty Deep For Ford -- May 39, 2016; Only GM And Volkswagen Likely To Show Sales Losses YOY


May 4, 2016: Tesla earnings will be out later today. Right now, on a "down" day for the market, TSLA is down 4% -- down about $10 on a $220/share comapny. CNBC is reporting:
Analysts expect Tesla to report a loss of 58 cents per share on $1.6 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. Its loss is forecast to be larger than the one posted in the prior-year period.
The electric automaker's shares dropped 4 percent Wednesday as it confirmed Greg Reichow, its vice president of production, will take a leave of absence after it finds a successor. Tesla's vice president of manufacturing, Josh Ensign, is also expected to depart.
Original Post 

Before we report the winners, let's get this out of the way. From Green Car Reports: Nissan Leaf EV sales in April 2016 stagnate.
  • Chevy Volt: 1,983, topping March sales of 1,865; best 4-month total ever (that would be like "since 2012")
  • Nissan Leaf: four-month total of 3,718 is far from its best ever -- that was 7,272 back in 2013
  • Audi A3 e-tron: 321 -- yes, 321, and that's considered "impressive"
  • Cadillac ELR: here we go ... well, maybe not -- 95 units;
Okay, back to reality.

Ford. Another "best" month. Sales up 4% overall.
  • yoy: vehicle sales up 4% for April
  • yoy: retail sales up 3% for April
  • Ford-brand SUVs best-ever April sales; Explorer up 22%; SUV sales up almost 8%
  • Ford F-Series best April since 2005; truck sales up almost 15%;
  • Ford Transit up 32%; best April van sales since 1978 -- 1978? wow. I was not even aware Ford has been selling vans since 1978 -- that's like a century ago, isn't it? In "dog years" it's 266 years ago
  • Lincoln sales up 20%; Lincoln SUV sales up 53%; MKX sales almost double
  • car sales struggling; fell 12%
Fiat Chrysler: best April sales in a decade. Gains 5.6%.
  • Jeep, Ram brands up almost 18%, 12% respectively
  • seven vehicles set records in the month of April, including Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass, both with best months ever
  • 73rd consecutive month of yoy monthly sales gains
Nissan: yet to report, but Kelley Blue Book expects Nissan to be the big winner in April

Honda: yet to report, Edmunds expects Honda to report double-digit sales from a year ago
General Motors: slight decline -- 3.5% decline in sales in April.

Volkswagen: yet to report; along with GM likely to be only two auto manufacturers to show sales losses yoy.
US EV sales at this link: (March, 2016 --> April, 2016 sales):
  • Tesla Model S: 3,900 --> 800 (the company delivered 850 in January, 2016)
  • Tesla Model X: 1,850 --> 850 (the company delivered 270 in January, 2016)
  • Chevrolet Volt: 1,865 -->1,983
  • Nissan Leaf: 1,246 --> 787 (that's more than a stall)
  • VW e-Golf: 86 --> 326 (recovering)
  • Chevrolet Spark: 252 --> 419 (gaining traction)
  • Cadillac ELR: 104 --> 95 (in a rut)
  • BMW i8: 89 --> 130 (whatever) 
Tesla reports 325,000 preorders for the Model 3. On an annualized basis, based on April sales, annualized sales for:
  • Tesla Model S: 9,600; on March sales: 46,800
  • Tesla Model X: 10,200; on March sales: 22,200
To meet the demands for pre-orders in the first six months after the new Model 3 is released, Tesla will have to ramp up from 20,000 autos/year to 54,000 Tesla Model 3 deliveries/month to satisfy current demand (in the first six months after the first Model 3 is release).

#1 Song in January, 1978

How Deep Is Your Love, the Bee Gees

Where was I in '78? Travis AFB, Suisun, California. Our first daughter was born at Travis, early 1978. Hard to believe all the water under the bridge, as they say.

It's hard to say when "disco summer" was -- 1977, 1978, 1979? In 1978, the Gibbs had four #1 songs:
  • "How Deep Is Your Love"
  • "Stayin' Alive"
  • "Night Fever"
  • "Shadow Dancing" -- Andy Gibb

If You Write Off A Lot Of Stuff; Remove A Lot Of One-Time Charges, You Too Can Show A Profit -- May 3, 2016

Halliburton beats estimate. Reuters is reporting:
Halliburton Co, the world's No.2 oilfield services provider, reported a higher-than-expected adjusted profit for the first quarter as deep cost cuts helped cushion the impact of a drop in drilling and completion activity.
Net loss attributable to Halliburton widened to $2.41 billion (1.64 billion pound), or $2.81 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $643 million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.
The bigger loss was due to $2.77 billion in charges for asset impairment and other reasons amid the prolonged slump in oil prices.
Excluding these charges, Halliburton earned 7 cents per share, higher than analysts average estimate of 4 cents.
By "removing" all the things my wife and I bought over the past year that we did not need, and removing all the one-time charges associated with sushi dinners -- each of which were a one-time charge, we, too, kept in budget. In fact, we are ahead of where we expected to be at this time.

Our bank sees things a bit differently. Unfortunately.

Not dead yet. NY Times loss narrows as revenue tops estimate. MarketWatch is reporting:
The company reported a net loss of $8.27 million, or 5 cents a share, in the first quarter, after a loss of $14.3 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.
Adjusted per-share earnings came to 10 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 8 cents. Revenue fell 1.2% to $379.5 million from $384.2 million.
The FactSet consensus was for revenue of $378 million. The newspaper company said it added 67,000 net digital-only subscribers to its new products, the most for a quarter in more than three years.
There are times I consider on-line subscriptions to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe but then I regain my sanity. 

Getting The Bad News Out Of The Way -- May 3, 2016: Could The Revised 1Q16 GDP Drop Below 0.3% -- You Betcha


Later, 7:52 p.m. Central Time: see first comment --
NY Times, Reuters, and Bloomberg all reported that February construction spending was revised up, and they were all wrong...

February construction spending was originally reported at $1,144.0 billion annually, and it has now been revised down to $1,133.6 billion annually, and hence spending in March was below what was originally reported for February...what happened was there was a large downward revision to January spending, from the revised $1,150.1 billion figure reported last month to $1,122.0 billion, and hence the downwardly revised February spending was up from January, even though it was lower than originally reported...reporters apparently took the change in the MoM percentage change to mean there was an upward change in spending... 
That will at a minimum subtract 0.23 percentage points from revised 1st quarter GDP, just about the opposite of what Barclays is alleged to have forecast.... 
Original Post
US GDP, from GDPNow:
The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2016 is 1.8 percent on May 2, unchanged from April 29.
The forecasts for second-quarter real residential investment growth and real nonresidential structures investment growth increased after this morning's construction spending release from the U.S. Census Bureau. These were offset by declines in the forecasts of real equipment investment growth and real consumer spending growth following the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business from the Institute for Supply Management.
EU GDP down to 1.6% for 2016; 1.7% for 2017. Bloomberg is reporting:
The European Commission told the euro area’s largest economies to reduce debt and modernize labor markets as it again slashed its inflation forecast and warned of slower-than-predicted growth across the 19-nation bloc.
France, Spain and Italy, which have persistently failed to hit European Union budget targets, are still off track, the Brussels-based commission said on Tuesday. Gross domestic product in the currency area will increase by 1.6 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2017 -- both 0.1 percentage point lower than the commission forecast in February. Inflation will average 0.2 percent this year, below the European Central Bank’s target.
China manufacturing down. ZeroHeadge is reporting:
China manufacturing PMI disappoints -- in contraction for 14th straight month. Despite a trillion dollars of credit spewed into the Chinese economy, manufacturing remains in a slump as April's China PMI tumbled to 49.4 after a brief bounce back up to 49.8 (from the 48.0 low in February). This is the 14th month in a row of contraction. 
Okay, now that the bad news is out of the way, upward and onward.

Cities Can't Ban Fracking In State -- Colorado State Supreme Court -- May 3, 2016

From the EIA today:
Since June 2014, decreases in crude oil and natural gas prices have reduced household energy costs. According to initial figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the chained consumer price index for urban consumers (C-CPI-U) decreased by 1.2% from June 2014 to February 2016. Lower energy prices had a significant impact on this decrease in spite of increases in the food and shelter components of the overall index, which represent larger shares of household expenses. --- EIA
And that's despite the administration's best efforts to kill the US energy sector. Maybe Hillary can complete the task.

The EIA finding/report today comes close to a Geico Rock Award nomination.


Lou Holtz endorses The Donald.

Colorado Supreme Court: local rules banning fracking are illegal. The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that municipalities can’t bar hydraulic fracturing, a long awaited decision in a legal battle that has rippled across this energy rich state.
In a pair of rulings, Colorado’s high court found that measures passed by the cities of Fort Collins and Longmont that sought to halt the controversial drilling technique known as fracking “were preempted by state law and, therefore… invalid and unenforceable.”
The decisions uphold lower court rulings and come amid a long-running battle over fracking across northeastern Colorado, which sits atop a large shale formation.
In recent years, cities along the state’s fast growing Front Range have sought to limit the practice amid concerns that drilling is taking place too close to population centers and complaints from environmental groups.
Active rigs:

Active Rigs2786185192209

RBN Energy: financial struggles, chapter 11, asset sales, asset purchases.
On Friday of last week, two more large E&Ps filed for Chapter 11 – Ultra petroleum with $3.8 billion in unsecured debt and Midstates Petroleum filing with a $2 billion debt-for-equity swap deal. 
Over the past 18 months there have been 65 E&P bankruptcies – mostly small companies, but nine companies make up 75% of the $28 billion in total debt exposure of all of these firms.   This chaos in the oil, gas, and NGL markets is having all kinds of financial and strategic ramifications.  One of the consequences of all of the turmoil could be a wave of asset sales, demands for contract restructuring, and more bankruptcy proceedings. 
But there can be some real opportunities in all this chaos if you know what to look for, understand where the needs and pitfalls can lie, and especially to recognize that “the sun’ll come up tomorrow.” 
For the last decade, the U.S. oil and gas industry has been very exciting.  It continues to be very exciting.  Of course, there are different kinds of “exciting.” 
There’s skiing in the Rockies, hurtling down a steep slope at 35 miles per hour, with nothing between you and disaster but your skill and your luck.  That’s the kind of excitement some look for on purpose.  Then there’s driving home to Denver, hurtling down I-70 at 70 miles an hour and finding an unexpected patch of ice on a downhill curve.  That’s not the kind of excitement you go looking for on purpose.
From the mid-2000s to 2014, the oil and gas industry was the first kind of “exciting,” -- companies running and gunning to get out in front of competitors, developing a resource that changed the world by reducing the U.S. dependence on imported energy and pushing global markets into oversupply, with a disastrous impact on crude oil prices.  So for the last 18 months or so, the industry has been experiencing the second kind of excitement, the I-70-on-ice kind, where you depend on all of your skill and luck just to keep you from hitting something or going off a cliff.  Like I-70, this is not the kind of excitement you seek out.
Not All Bankruptcies Are In The Oil Patch

Aeropostale. The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Aeropostale is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection this week and close more than 100 stores, according to people familiar with the matter, as the teen-apparel retailer contends with mounting losses and falling sales.
New York-based Aéropostale plans to seek chapter 11 protection in the next few days before May rent payments are due, the people said. It is in advanced talks with specialty lender Crystal Financial LLC on a loan to finance its operations in bankruptcy, they added.
The retailer would close more than 100 of its roughly 800 stores soon after filing and potentially more later, the people said. The company plans to reorganize around its remaining stores, but the precise contours of its restructuring plan remain unclear.
New York Fairway Supermarkets. The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
New York supermarket chain Fairway Group Holdings Corp. said late Monday it had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, months after warning of the possibility of breaching its loan agreement.
Fairway, the parent company of the U.S. grocery chain Fairway Market, and some of its units have filed a “joint prepackaged” chapter 11 plan of reorganization to implement financial restructuring.
The reorganization will eliminate about $140 million of senior secured debt and provide financing to restructure the firm’s balance sheet, Fairway said. It added that store operations were expected to continue with no impact on customers, suppliers or employees.
Sports Authority. Bankruptcy could close remaining stores. CNN Money is reporting
Sports Authority, the struggling chain which filed for bankruptcy in March, is weighing a sale of its assets that could be end up closing most if not all of its 450 stores. [Update, May 19, 2016: Sports Authority will close all stores.]
Under its original bankruptcy filing, the chain had planned to close 140 stores and to keep the rest open under the Sports Authority name.
But attorneys for Sports Authority notified the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware last week that it could not win approval for that reorganization plan from its creditors and lenders.
But experts say it's now likely that the large majority, if not all, of the chain's stores will go away in relatively short order.