Black Espresso: The Merry Christmas Version


It’s time to take a seat again, chill out and experience just a little joe …

Welcome to any other rousing version of Black Espresso, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been happening on the earth of cash and private finance.

I am hoping everyone had a gorgeous week. And with that, let’s get proper to this week’s remark, we could?

Christmas is the day that holds all time in combination.

– Alexander Smith

Credit and Debits

Credit score: Did you spot this? In step with the Kobeissi Letter, the highest 10 shares within the S&P 500 now account for 35% of the whole index. The closing time we noticed this degree of focus used to be twenty years in the past; proper ahead of the Dotcom bubble won its needle prick. Oh … and did we point out that the so-called “Magnificent 7” shares – Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA and Tesla – at the moment are coming near a 100% acquire for 2023. In the meantime, the remainder 493 shares within the S&P 500 are jointly up lower than 10%. For what that’s value.

(h/t: @Iluvprivacy)

Debit: And whilst Wall Boulevard is also partying find it irresistible’s 1999, Major Boulevard isn’t so exuberant. In reality, a brand new survey reveals lower than part of American employees are assured of their retirement readiness. And just about 4 out of 5 employees say their price range purpose them nervousness. You’ll thank inflation for the good majority of that nervousness. And possibly – simply possibly – just a little little bit of carelessness …

Credit score: In different information, the Fed turns out to suppose they’ve put the inflation genie securely again within the bottle. Then again, Bloomberg macro strategist Simon White says, with the Fed pledging to decrease charges in 2024, they’ve “enabled interest-rate prices to fall – however most effective by way of heightening long term inflation dangers and the chance of upper yields. In the meantime, inflation is appearing indicators of stickiness and a few main signs are pointing to a re-rise in worth enlargement.” Uh oh. That implies, it’s a ways much more likely the Fed is at the verge of snagging defeat from the jaws of “victory.” Let’s cross to the tape …

Debit: Talking of top inflation, year-over-year (YoY) inflation in Turkey for November stood at 61%. In reality, rampant inflation is making existence so tough there that the 44-year-old head of Turkey’s central financial institution has been pressured to transfer again in along with her folks. No, truly. And there’s now not a lot of a gentle on the finish of the tunnel for the central financial institution governor – or her fellow Turks – with economists forecasting YoY inflation to hit 75% within the subsequent a number of months. Alternatively, dear housing isn’t only a drawback in Turkey …

Debit: Alternatively, I assume residing together with your folks is healthier than being homeless – and homelessness has risen sharply in the US, with the newest govt document indicating that round 653,000 individuals are lately residing in the street – that’s 12% upper than closing 12 months and the very best quantity on document. Being govt knowledge, it most definitely badly understates the true determine.

Debit: Via the best way, in the event you suppose inflation is unhealthy in Turkey and the United States, simply be grateful you don’t reside in Argentina, the place costs have risen 25 instances (!) since 2017. Despite the fact that, consider it or now not, there are even worse puts to reside than Argentina. Believe us, we are living right here …

(h/t: @MarauderMag)

Credit score: On 2nd concept, there are some advantages to residing in California. As an example, California has finished the primary leg of its long-awaited Prime Velocity Rail boondoggle. In reality, we’re being advised that Governor Newsom gets the consideration of playing the primary experience in a rear trainer automobile designed particularly for him. It took years to get to this ancient second and billions in taxpayer finances. (h/t: Gary)

Credit score: After all, with GDP supposedly accelerating at 5.2%, unemployment nonetheless close to all-time lows, and company earnings nonetheless booming, there will have to be no worry about rates of interest being too top. However closing week the Fed mentioned they’ll be slicing charges quickly and greater than any individual anticipated. As 0 Hedge notes, “It’s virtually as though the Fed is aware of one thing truly unhealthy is set to occur and need to entrance run the development. Or, they see one thing extraordinarily flawed throughout the monetary gadget and are seeking to repair it ahead of it blows up.” In different phrases: they’re winging it.

Credit score: As macro analyst Matthew Piepenburg identified this week, there’s an ominous loss of countries keen to fund long term US deficits by way of buying extra Treasury bonds. As such, he says “The us has devolved from a gold-backed foreign money and the arena’s main creditor, producer and business spouse to a debt-soaked The us with a gold-welched buck. Now it’s the international’s greatest debtor, weakest producer and the open loser in a business battle with China; rarely a proud evolution from its (glory days). In brief, the enduring The us is not more.” Uh huh. I imply … who can argue with that?

Debit: Alternatively, it’s taking a look increasingly more most probably that none of this may occasionally topic ultimately. We are saying this as a result of Bloomberg identified that contemporary measures taken to ostensibly “offer protection to the gadget” – each globally and right here in the United States – in truth magnify chance. How so? Smartly … in a marketplace cave in, the shares and bonds you suppose you personal shall be sucked into default finances as further collateral for the evaporating price of marketplace derivatives – the so-called “monetary weapon of mass destruction” that Warren Buffett warned about two decades in the past. After all, folks conserving shares and bonds shall be left with not anything.

Debit: Interestingly, the International Financial Discussion board has been brazenly insisting for the closing a number of years that by way of 2030 we’ll all “personal not anything and feel free.” Twist of fate? Perhaps; possibly now not. However the ones previously-mentioned measures to “offer protection to” the gadget have all been codified into legislation. As such, those regulations at the moment are being dubbed as “The Nice Taking.” All that’s left is for a last monetary disaster to place them into impact. Despite the fact that that assumes everybody will take the powers-that-be’s so-called “drugs” willingly …

Credit score: Whether or not you purchase into “the Nice Taking” or believe it a conspiracy concept, something is bound: Bodily gold and silver held on your ownership carries no counterparty chance in any way. Valuable metals are immune from the claws of presidency and the monetary squid higher referred to as Wall Boulevard. That’s why gold and silver are without equal type of wealth insurance coverage. It’s additionally a just right explanation why you will have to most definitely believe holding no less than a small portion of it as a part of your retirement nest egg. You realize … simply in case “conspiracy concept” finally end up turning into conspiracy reality – as they most often do.

Via the Numbers

Listed below are the ten countries with the very best year-over-year annual inflation in 2023:

283% Venezuela

215% Lebanon

161% Argentina

62% Turkey

39% Iran

35% Egypt

29% Pakistan

28% Nigeria

7.9% Hungary

7.5% Russia

Supply: @SpectatorIndex

The Query of the Week

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Ultimate Week’s Ballot Effects

How a lot of your paycheck are you presently atmosphere apart for retirement?

  • None (25%)
  • Greater than 25% (19%)
  • 11% – 15% (16%)
  • 6% – 10% (13%)
  • 16% – 20% (13%)
  • 21% – 25% (9%)
  • 1% – 5% (5%)

Greater than 1900 Len Penzo dot Com readers spoke back to closing week’s query and it seems that just about part of you put aside no less than 16% of your paycheck for retirement. That’s superior!

If you have a query you’d like to look featured right here, please ship it to me at and make sure to put “Query of the Week” within the topic line.

Needless Information: Santa Query

My nine-year-old son, Gabriel, had heard some rumors in class that Santa wasn’t actual. So he approached me with a large query: “Dad, inform me the reality. Is Santa actual?”

I determined to inform him it used to be us who had purchased his newest Nintendo Wii recreation.

“In point of fact?” he mentioned. “Smartly …you’ll have let Santa carry it.”

“Why is that?” I requested.

“As a result of,” he mentioned, “that method, it might had been unfastened.”

(h/t: Mario Rodriguez by means of

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Extra Needless Information

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  1. When Is the Proper Time to Forestall Giving Presents to Nieces and Nephews?
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  4. Artful Low-Value Do-it-yourself Presents Everybody Will Revel in
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(The Very best of) Letters, I Get Letters

Each week I characteristic probably the most fascinating query or remark — assuming I am getting one, this is. And other folks who’re fortunate sufficient to have the one query within the mailbag get their letter highlighted right here whether or not it’s fascinating or now not! You’ll achieve me at:

After reviewing a number of of my blind style take a look at articles, together with the ice cream comparability, Mister wrote in to precise considerations about one of the vital panelists; in particular, my canine, Primary:

I’ve learn a number of of your product surveys and I understand a development with the entire canine’s opinions. I think he’s misplaced his sense of style or odor.

Smartly … that may no doubt provide an explanation for why he considers cat poop to be this sort of delicacy.

When you loved this, please ahead it on your family and friends. 😊

I’m Len Penzo and I licensed this message.

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