Markets & Economy

Glimmers of hope in wages and lending, but jobs are holding back housing

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

The first week of each month brings a blizzard of fresh data from the month immediately prior, and an even more blinding wave of contradictory analysis. Except when the data reveal a big change in trend, the best way to evaluate the load: Try to bracket the edges of the likely near future. Before that, a word on Ukraine. From the markets' perspective, Ukraine was a one-day tempest in a samovar. A hurricane in a Stoli shot. The western border of Russia is the farthest east it has been in 500 years. Kiev and most of Ukraine have been integral to Russia for that entire time and will remain so (far western Ukraine has been part of Poland as often as not). Suffering is native to Ukraine: See "Bloodlands." We are in the 100th anniversary year of the most stupid conduct of international affairs in modern history, but it would require a near repeat to elevate Ukraine to global hazard. Bracketing begins with jobs. The word this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: We crea...