Abbreviated Dish today. Will be out of the office the next couple of days … the Dish will return on Monday.
March Madness starts tomorrow. There are just so many things to like about this event. It represents everything good about sports and being a sports fan. The event is so pure, so exciting, and always kicks off right around Saint Patty’s Day. It also coincides beautifully with the start of nicer weather here on the north coast and the conclusion of the event fades right into the start of baseball season.
My obsession with the tournament may be a little unhealthy. It all really came into perspective last night. I’m up in my office, ESPN talking heads on the TV up there. I’ve got newspapers, magazines, printouts, and brackets strewn all over my desk. I’m on my 5th cup of the Keurig Gloria Jeans Butter Toffee blend. Talking to myself, sweating profusely, filling out brackets.
Wife walks in. Looking at me like I have a third eye in the middle of my forehead.
Swerb wife: “You sure you aren’t taking this March Madness a little too seriously?”
Swerb: (randomly blurts out) “Gonzaga.”
Swerb wife: “What?”
Swerb: “Oh … I meant no. I just enjoy basketball, you know that honey.”
Swerb wife: “It’s a little disturbing. How many brackets have you filled out?”
Swerb: “We should really try that new restaurant you wanted to go to one of these nights.”
Swerb wife: “How MANY brackets have you filled out?!”
(Swerb wife storms off to go watch Lifetime movies. Swerb continues filling out brackets. All memories of this conversation are erased within seven minutes.)
Final Four Prediction: Kansas, Butler, Kentucky, Villanova
Kentucky over Kansas in the title game.
Enjoy the action. Enjoy Saint Patty’s Day
Quote of the day …
“May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten.” ~ Irish proverb
No drama from the Fed yesterday. They left their benchmark interest rate at record lows and affirmed plans to halt its purchase of mortgage-backed securities at the end of the month.
In sticking with its deadline for ending those purchases, which will total $1.25 trillion and have helped hold mortgage rates to near-historic lows, the Fed appeared to be expressing a degree of confidence about the economic recovery. Even as the Fed moved to foster growth and ease high unemployment, its overall assessment of the economy was a bit more upbeat. It said the job market is stabilizing, which was an improvement from its January statement, when it said the deterioration in the labor market was abating. It also said business spending on equipment and software has risen significantly, an upgrade from its last assessment. Still, the Fed cautioned that spending by consumers could be dampened by high unemployment, sluggish wage growth, lower wealth and tight credit. And it noted weakness in the commercial real-estate and home-building markets.
Not too much change to the key language. And an optimistic tone to the statement in general. Markets moved very little after its release.
Market will now turn its attention to tomorrow’s economic releases. There are a slew of them. First time jobless claims, CPI (today’s PPI # was mild), leading indicators, and the Philly Fed Index.
~ Fed Holds Rates at Record Lows to Foster Recovery
~ Mortgage Demand Tepid Even as Rates Sink
~ Producer Prices Fall, Keep Inflation Fears at Bay
~ Changes Likely in Store for Dodd’s Financial Reform Bill
~ Bernanke to Wage Fresh Battle for Fed Powers
~ Futures Point Toward Higher Opening