The Fed's beige book (so called for the color of its cover) reported that economic activity slowed in June and July and that all 12 districts showed increasing price pressures. No new news but Fed Governors like Charles Plosser will probably renew the call for an increase in rates to cut inflation off at the pass.
Oil finished the open out-cry session at 2:30 pm NY time down almost $4 to $124.50. An article in the paper the other day said that at $135 a barrel the known reserves of the oil exporting countries would be worth $140 trillion (TRILLION!) That would be over the life of the reserves and not present value, but the point is staggering. The market capitalization of all the stock exchanges is about one-third of that and total global GDP is around $60 trillion a year.
It makes Boone Picken's pointto Melissa Francis on CNBC the other day ever more valid. Mr. Pickens--my candidate for Energy Czar--says we send $700 billion a year overseas to pay for the 70% of our oil we need to import. He favors mandating that vehicles that deliver goods, e.g. trucks, be mandated to use Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, and we would keep $300 billion of the $700 in this country as natural gas is essentially a domestic market.
Another thing that caught my eye was an article in the paper that said the wealthiest 1% of Americans- those earning more than $388,806- reported 22% of the nations adjusted gross income in 2006. Wow ! But that 1% paid 39.9% of all income taxes. I dug out an editorial from the WSJ that appeared recently to add some additional flavor. The top 10% of incomes-those earning more than $108,904- paid 71% of all taxes. Sounds like a progressive tax structure to me.
I will be on the "Closing Bell" at about 3:30 today. Gotta run.