Friday, February 26, 2010

Alan Greenspan "Takes On His Critics"

The March 1 edition of Fortune Magazine has an article titled "Alan Greenspan Fights Back." The link is found here.

I found the article interesting for a variety of reasons. As the article mentions, rarely has Greenspan addressed his purported culpability in creating the housing bubble and its accompanying impact on the economy.

Greenspan's tenure at The Federal Reserve is most fascinating. One aspect of this is how his performance was perceived over time. Throughout most of his tenure he was effusively lauded (i.e. "The Maestro") - but this widespread acclaim has been (severely) tarnished over the last decade.

As the Fortune article says, "Four years after leaving the Fed as the Greatest Central Banker Ever, the longest-serving chairman, the Maestro, Alan Greenspan is the designated goat."

As the article indicates, Greenspan is preparing a 12,000-word article in his defense. I look forward to seeing this article and analyzing his argument.

As far as Greenspan's performance and actions are concerned, I do not believe there has been an accurate assessment yet provided.

SPX at 1102.41 as this post is written

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Keynesian Theory - A Few Comments

Up to this point, I have yet to mention "Keynes" or any derivative thereof. The reason for this is simple - I don't believe that the efforts taken to stimulate the economy are reflective of the theories that Keynes espoused. Instead, they are a type of "bastardized" Keynesian Theory - used by various parties in an attempt to "legitimize" the tremendous amounts of money spent on various stimulus plans.

I've been meaning to write a blog post about this and other related topics. I still intend to write a fuller post. However, what prompted me to write about this now is a very interesting article I ran across in Fortune Magazine. It is a February 5 interview with Allan Meltzer and can be found at this link.

As Meltzer indicates in the interview, Keynesian Theory is not aligned with the stimulus actions we, as a nation, have undertaken.

SPX at 1105.24 as this post is written

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Effectiveness Of Stimulus

"One of the biggest economic myths since the Great Depression is that governments can ameliorate or counteract the ebbs and flows of free markets. Government spending has never worked as a trigger for sustained and vibrant economic growth. Ever. Scholarship has demonstrated that the New Deal perpetuated the Depression rather than cured it. On the eve of the Depression the U.S. had the lowest unemployment rate among developed nations. But a decade later, despite six years of FDR's New Deal, our unemployment rate was one of the highest among developed economies. Japan's serial stimulus programs over the past two decades have repeatedly underscored this truth."

Steve Forbes, Forbes Magazine, March 1 2010 p. 11 (link found here)


I have written extensively about interventions, which includes stimulus spending. Stimulus spending and interventions are widely (and wildly) misunderstood.

I think it is very important to have a full understanding of how the ARRA, a very large stimulus, is performing. As I wrote in a July 9 2009 blog post in which I discussed the ARRA, "Even if one were unabashedly pro-stimulus, one would find some serious faults with the $787 Billion stimulus plan, as enacted." As such, it should be of little surprise that the ARRA has been, at best, such a poor performer when analyzed in a variety of manners.

Here is a recent article from Alan Reynolds concerning the effectiveness of the ARRA. Although I don't necessarily agree with some of his conclusions, he does present some interesting statistics and views with regard to how the ARRA has performed.

SPX at 1102.34 as this post is written

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tax Increases And Our Economic Situation - Follow Up

On October 16 I wrote a post titled "Tax Increases And Our Economic Situation."

Some may wonder what tax increases I am referring to, as at least headline tax rates have yet to increase in many areas. Tax increases have been deferred for many reasons. Among these reasons is the negative political ramifications of raising taxes before the upcoming November elections.

However, if we are to at least partially curtail our current deficit levels, an increase in taxes is likely certain. Everyone should know this, at least intuitively; and I believe there is widespread recognition of these impending tax increases.

Thus, our current economic situation is such: economic weakness that is met with stimulus / deficit spending - that then leads to tax increases. These tax increases - during a time of economic weakness - will likely weigh (very) heavily against any lasting economic recovery.

This situation may not be inherently problematical if the stimulus / deficit spending was indeed highly economically stimulative. However, if it is not (and there is little if any evidence that recent stimulus programs have been), a "vicious circle" may form - with large stimulus / deficit spending driving ever-higher taxes - with the net result a weaker - and more highly-indebted economy. This weaker economy in turn drives higher stimulus / deficit spending - and ever-higher taxes.

There are a lot of complexities and other factors at work in this relationship; however, such an in-depth discussion would be too prohibitively lengthy and complex for a blog post.

However, as one can envision, this "vicious circle" can become very pernicious on many fronts.

SPX at 1107.93 as this post is written

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Notable Poll On Economic Conditions

Here is poll (in PDF format) on economic conditions that I believe is highly notable. It is from CNN and was conducted February 12-15, 2010.

The question presented was "How would you rate the economic conditions in the country today -- as very good, somewhat good, somewhat poor, or very poor?"

A total of 83% replied economic conditions were "somewhat poor" or "very poor." 44% of respondents said conditions were "very poor."

Of further note, when one looks at the trend of the responses, there hasn't been much of an improvement from year-ago levels.

Although this is only one survey, I think it is notable in that it seems to belie many other economic statistics that have been used to support the widely-held theory that we are in an economic recovery.

This survey seems to support other statistics that indicate that many people believe current economic conditions to be poor - if not very much so. However, at the same time, some economic conditions surveys (and various economic indicators) show expectations for a strong economy in the future. One example of this was noted in my January 4 post.

In my opinion, this large dichotomy can not, and will not, last.

SPX at 1108 as this post is written

The February Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey

The February Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey can be found at this link.

There wasn't much change in the survey results from last month. Also, as seen in the detail, there hasn't been much change for many of the parameters for the last few months.

As I have previously commented, I find it highly notable that there is such a "tight" consensus among the forecasters - especially for the major forecasting categories such as GDP and unemployment.

This is supported by the following from the survey:

"The White House released its economic forecast Thursday, projecting payrolls will increase by an average of just 95,000 a month this year with the unemployment rate averaging 10%. The Council of Economic Advisors expects GDP growth to be about 3% in 2010, in line with the surveyed economists."

This survey also asked respondents to rate the economic performance of Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Geithner and President Obama. On a 1-100 scale, President Obama got an average score of 57, Treasury Secretary Geithner got an average score of 60, and Ben Bernanke got an average score of 78.


I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored. However, as regular readers of this blog are aware, I do not agree with the consensus estimates or much of the accompanying commentary.

SPX at 1105.38 as this post is written

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Quality Of Deficit Spending

In the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, February 13 there was an editorial titled "High-Speed Spending." This discussed the dubious financial dynamics of a long-proposed "high speed" Orlando-to-Tampa rail project.

I also heard of a proposal to do a similar project between St. Louis and Chicago.

I have lived in the Chicago area for most of my life and have never heard anyone expressing a desire to have faster transportation (or such a "high speed" rail option) between St. Louis and Chicago. Yet, in this case, as in the Orlando-to-Tampa case, the proposed "high-speed" rail project would cost billions of dollars.

If we are looking to spend money on infrastructure, perhaps it would be wiser to spend on our existing infrastructure, which is literally crumbling. Estimates to fix our existing infrastructure range into the trillions of dollars. These estimated figures are rapidly growing.

Examples of wasteful deficit spending are innumerable, unfortunately. In my opinion, we, as a nation, are not in a position to waste any money at this point.

SPX at 1102.12 as this post is written

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Editorial Of Note: "Greece's Crisis: A Warning To Profligate U.S.?"

On February 10th an editorial by Scott S. Powell appeared in Investor's Business Daily titled "Greece's Crisis: A Warning To Profligate U.S.?" The link can be found here.

I am highlighting this editorial as it discusses many important issues, most of which I have previously mentioned on this blog. As well, it compares our current financial situation to that of Greece's.

SPX at 1099.51 as this post is written

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The US Dollar And Asset Prices

Over the last few years, there has been an inverse correlation between price movements of the US Dollar and many asset classes. This inverse correlation appears to be strengthening over time.

This inverse correlation can be seen in the chart below. For the sake of simplicity, I am only comparing the USD to the S&P500 - but as aforementioned this inverse correlation can be seen among a diverse group of assets.

Here is the 10-year daily chart. As one can see, the inverse correlation appears to have started roughly during 2003, and has persisted to the present:

chart courtesy of

While this inverse correlation has been frequently commented upon in the media, there are two aspects of this relationship that I have not heard discussed. First, what is causing this inverse correlation? Second, shouldn't the existence of this relationship cause some unease?

The answer to both of these questions is likely complex. However, I do believe they are very important issues.

SPX at 1094.87 as this post is written

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Debt And Taxation

On Saturday The Wall Street Journal had an editorial titled "Escape from Taxation." The link is here.

In the editorial, it is mentioned that higher-income people are moving out of New Jersey as the tax rate is increased.

In my article "America's Trojan Horse" found at this link, I discussed the widely-held fallacy that debt and deficits are almost inconsequential because governments can always increase taxation to service and repay debt.

What is happening in New Jersey is an important example of how this "increasing debt / increasing taxation" dynamic plays out in the "real world" - especially during times of prolonged economic stress and high indebtedness.

The implications are very far-reaching with regard to the resolve of heightened levels of indebtedness.

SPX at 1083.50 as this post is written

Monday, February 15, 2010

America's Economic Future

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here is a passage from Larry Summers' March 13, 2009 speech that speaks of the importance of economic strength in achieving broader societal goals:

“Our single most important priority is bringing about economic recovery and ensuring that the next economic expansion, unlike it’s predecessors, is fundamentally sound and not driven by financial excess.

This is essential. Without robust and sustained economic expansion, we will not achieve any other national goal. We will not be able to project strength globally or reduce poverty locally. We will not be able to expand access to higher education or affordable health care. We will not be able to raise incomes for middle class families or create opportunities for new small businesses to thrive.”


Our national goal to achieve a sustainable recovery (or what I frequently refer to as "Sustainable Prosperity") has been and will continue to be a challenge, given various underlying fundamentals.

In order to achieve "Sustainable Prosperity" we will need to have a solid focus on planning our economic future and its dynamics. Toward this end, I wrote an article in May of last year titled "America's Economic Future - 'Greenfield' or 'Brownfield'?" which can be found here:

That article, as well as others I have written, explores some of what I believe are pivotal issues that lack recognition with regard to our economic future.

All of my articles are also listed and summarized at this link:

SPX at 1075.51 as this post is written

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Societal Implications

One aspect of our current period of economic weakness that lacks broad recognition is the impact on society.

There are many different aspects of this societal impact, some of which I have already discussed on this blog.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal, page A3 had stories that serve as examples of this societal impact of economic weakness. One story was titled "Police, Fire Departments Face Budget Axe." Another was "Fiscal Woes Push Up (School) Class Size."

While it is difficult to quantify these societal impacts, they are nonetheless important.

SPX at 1075.51 as this post is written

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gold And Gold Stocks

I have made various comments about Gold over the last few months.

One aspect during Gold's price increase that I have noted as disconcerting is the relative lagging performance of the Gold stocks. I use the HUI index as a proxy for Gold stocks.

As one can see on the daily chart below, the Gold price is reflected in the top of the chart, followed by the HUI:Gold ratio and then HUI in green:

chart courtesy of

The HUI index has lagged since approximately the beginning of 2008. Perhaps the main question is if/when might it start performing better? One potentially bullish sign is a potential Cup and Handle formation with the two peaks above 500 and current upswing serving as the "lid" and "handle" of the Cup and Handle formation, respectively.

Of course, this Cup and Handle formation is very tentative at this time. It is simply something to monitor. However, should this C&H formation "play out" with the HUI strongly advancing above the prior peaks above 500, one could reasonably expect the gold price to react positively if not very much so. Should it not play out, i.e. the HUI price falters or declines from here, would likely be a bearish omen for Gold.

As I have pointed out in previous posts, Gold's price can have very important implications from many financial and economic perspectives. However, due to the complexity of the factors that determine Gold's price, it can be very difficult to predict its price movements.

SPX at 1066.43 as this post is written

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Treasury Secretary Geithner's Comments

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was on "This Week" on Sunday and made various comments. Here is the link:

I could make a lot of comments regarding this interview.

However, I would like to focus on this one exchange:

TAPPER: The Congress just voted to raise the debt ceiling to more than $14 trillion dollars. Moody's, the bond rater, just said, quote, "unless further measures are taken to reduce the budget deficit further or the economy rebounds more vigorously than expected, the federal financial picture for the next decade will at some point put pressure on the triple-A government bond rating.

Is the United States going to lose its triple-A government bond rating? And what happens when the credit markets are no longer willing to buy U.S. debt?

GEITHNER: Absolutely not. And that will never happen to this country. And again, if you step back and look at what has happened throughout this crisis, when people were most worried about the stability of the world, they still found safety in Treasuries and the dollar. You're still seeing that every time. People are reminded again about the many challenges you see around the world.


my comments:

First, I don't think any country can ever flatly deny the possibility of a credit downgrade. As well, as I have previously commented, sovereign deficit and debt levels are coming under increased scrutiny.

Second, as far as the U.S. Dollar and Treasuries purportedly acting as "safe havens" during the crisis, and the inferences Geithner draws from this :

Although the U.S. Dollar and Treasuries increased in price during the height of the financial tumult, I don't agree with the idea that this price increase can be viewed as an (implied) affirmation of our financial standing. Many different factors played into the price increases of the U.S. Dollar and U.S. Treasuries during that period. As such, I do not come to the same conclusion as does Treasury Secretary Geithner.

As well, I don't believe that drawing inferences off of past price action is necessarily a strong predictor of the future, especially on an "all things considered" basis going forward.

SPX at 1062.90 as this post is written

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Situation

An article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal presents a thorough summary of the situation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The article is titled, "No Exit in Sight for U.S. As Fannie, Freddie Flail." Here is the link to the story:

I've commented extensively on the U.S. real estate situation, and the national attempts to intervene in this market. Those posts can be found under the "Real Estate" and "Intervention" categories.

With regard to the aforementioned article, there are three items that I feel are especially notable. For now, I will post them without comment; I may comment on them in the future. The first is this:

"On a recent afternoon, employees at Freddie's headquarters here peppered Mr. Haldeman with concerns about the company's future. He responded that they were "fortunate" to have such a clear mission—the government's foreclosure-prevention drive. "We're doing what's best for the country," he told them."

The second is this:

"We're making decisions on [loan modifications] and other issues, without being guided solely by profitability, that no purely private bank ever could," Mr. Haldeman said in late January in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club."

The third is this:

"The government is willing to tolerate such open-ended exposure for two reasons. First, it sees the companies as essential cogs in the fragile housing market. Fannie and Freddie buy mortgages originated by others, holding some as investments and repackaging others for sale to investors as securities. Together with the Federal Housing Administration, they fund nine in 10 American mortgages. Worries about potential insolvency would cripple their ability to fund home loans, which would hamstring the market....By using Fannie and Freddie for such initiatives, the White House doesn't have to go to Congress for funding. The Treasury and White House can simply issue instructions to Fannie and Freddie via their federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA."


In December 2008, I wrote an article titled, "Business Planning Principles Applied to the Stimulus / Intervention Efforts."

I wrote the article for many reasons...perhaps chief among them because it was clear that the various interventions lacked a suitable managerial framework. The "exit strategy" bullet point in the article seems particularly germane to the current intervention efforts being orchestrated through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

SPX at 1070.52 as this post is written

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two Measures Of Economic Activity

Two measures of economic activity that I closely follow have been weak over the recent past months. This is notable, as they did enjoy a significant "boost" over the mid-2009 timeframe.

These two measures have proven to be excellent indicators in the past. They would be considered "coincident" in nature.

I view the weakness of these two economic measures to be disconcerting.

Of course, the weakness they portray is in contrast to a variety of widely quoted economic statistics and other economic indicators that have been showing various degrees of economic recovery and strength.

SPX at 1070.77 as this post is written

Monday, February 8, 2010

Historical Perspective - Employment And Output

Here are two charts from the Minneapolis Fed site:

They show, from a historical context, how declines in employment and output during this period of economic weakness (which FRB Minneapolis refers to as a recession) compare to those of previous recessions.

First, the employment chart. Here are two notes regarding this chart:

1. Employment is nonfarm payroll employment calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2. Postwar recessions include the 10 recessions as defined by the NBER that started between 1946 and 2006.

Second, the output chart. A couple of notes regarding this chart:

1. Output is gross domestic product adjusted for inflation as calculated by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
2. Postwar recessions include the 10 recessions as defined by the NBER that started between 1946 and 2006.

There are other pertinent notes on the FRB Minneapolis page, as seen below:

Background on Recession/Recovery in Perspective

This page places the current economic downturn and recovery into historical (post-WWII) perspective. It compares output and employment changes from the 2007-2009 recession and subsequent recovery with the same data for the 10 previous recessions and recoveries that have occurred since 1946.

This page provides a current assessment of 'how bad' the 2007-2009 recession was relative to past recessions, and of how quickly the economy is recovering relative to past recoveries. It will continue to be updated as new data are released. This page does not provide forecasts, and the information should not be interpreted as such.

The charts provide information about the length and depth of recessions, and the robustness of recoveries.

Post-WWII Recessions

The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research determines the beginning and ending dates of U.S. recessions.
It has determined that the U.S. economy experienced 10 recessions from 1946 through 2006. The committee determined that the 2007-2009 recession began in December 2007. The ending date has not yet been determined. Ending dates are typically announced several months after the recession officially ends.

Length of Recessions

The 10 previous postwar recessions ranged in length from 6 months to 16 months, averaging about 10 1/2 months. The 2007-09 recession was almost certainly the longest recession in the postwar period. But the total length of the recession will only be known when the Business Cycle Dating Committee retrospectively determines the final month of the recession.

Depth of Recessions

The severity of a recession is determined in part by its length; perhaps even more important is the magnitude of the decline in economic activity. That is, how much do employment and output fall?

SPX at 1059.97 as this post is written

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Deficit And Federal Expenditures

With the recent unveiling of the proposed FY2011 budget, I would like to make a few comments with regard to budget deficits and federal expenditures.

Here is a historical chart of federal expenditures. This chart is from the St. Louis Federal Reserve website. This chart helps one put rising government expenditures in a historical context:

A February 1 Wall Street Journal article concerning the FY2011 proposed budget noted the deficit in the proposed budget would shrink from $1.6 trillion this year to $700 billion (4% of GDP) in 2013.

Various underlying economic assumptions from which this future deficit figure is derived can be found here:

I believe these assumptions are rather sanguine - even if one believes that we are in a sustainable recovery.

Our nation has a long history of being far too optimistic during budgeting. This appears to be yet another example in-the-making. What is particularly disconcerting in this instance is that even if these economic assumptions are met, there is still a $700 billion shortfall in 2013. This deficit level does not continue to decrease after 2013, as seen in the budget.

SPX at 1066.19 as this post is written

Thursday, February 4, 2010

SIGTARP Comments

I found some interesting comments in the SIGTARP January 30 2010 Report to Congress:

From the Executive Summary, which begins on Page 5:

"Many of TARP’s stated goals, however, have simply not been met. Despite the fact that the explicit goal of the Capital Purchase Program (“CPP”) was to increase financing to U.S. businesses and consumers, lending continues to decrease, month after month, and the TARP program designed specifically to address small-business lending — announced in March 2009 — has still not been implemented by Treasury. Notwithstanding the fact that preserving homeownership and promoting jobs were explicit purposes of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (“EESA”), the statute that created TARP, nearly 16 months later, home foreclosures remain at record levels, the TARP foreclosure prevention program has only permanently modified a small fraction of eligible mortgages, and unemployment is
the highest it has been in a generation. Whether these goals can effectively be met through existing TARP programs is very much an open question at this time. And to the extent that the Government had leverage through its status as a significant preferred shareholder to influence the largest TARP recipients to carry out such policy goals, it was lost with their exit from TARP."

"....The substantial costs of TARP — in money, moral hazard effects on the market, and Government credibility — will have been for naught if we do nothing to correct the fundamental problems in our financial system and end up in a similar or even greater crisis in two, or five, or ten years’ time. It is hard to see how any of the fundamental problems in the system have been addressed to date.

• To the extent that huge, interconnected, “too big to fail” institutions contributed to the crisis, those institutions are now even larger, in part because of the substantial subsidies provided by TARP and other bailout programs.

• To the extent that institutions were previously incentivized to take reckless risks through a “heads, I win; tails, the Government will bail me out” mentality, the market is more convinced than ever that the Government will step in as necessary to save systemically significant institutions. This perception was reinforced when TARP was extended until October 3, 2010, thus permitting Treasury to maintain a war chest of potential rescue funding at the same time that banks that have shown questionable ability to return to profitability (and in some cases are posting multi-billion-dollar losses) are exiting TARP programs.

• To the extent that large institutions’ risky behavior resulted from the desire to justify ever-greater bonuses — and indeed, the race appears to be on for TARP recipients to exit the program in order to avoid its pay restrictions — the current bonus season demonstrates that although there have been some improvements in the form that bonus compensation takes for some executives, there has been little fundamental change in the excessive compensation culture on Wall Street.

• To the extent that the crisis was fueled by a “bubble” in the housing market, the Federal Government’s concerted efforts to support home prices — as discussed more fully in Section 3 of this report — risk re-inflating that bubble in light of the Government’s effective takeover of the housing market through purchases and guarantees, either direct or implicit, of nearly all of the residential mortgage market.

Stated another way, even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car."

SPX at 1097.28 as this post is written

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Two Other Views Of The Gold Price

I find a periodic review of Gold's price relative to the Dow Jones Industrials' and to Crude Oil's interesting.

Below is a long-term monthly chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average price relative to that of Gold's. As one can see, Gold has been outperforming since roughly 2001, after underperforming from roughly 1981-2000:

chart courtesy of

Below is a long-term monthly chart of the Crude Oil price relative to that of Gold's. As one can see, the Gold price has been bouncing around in a range since 1990, and is now at a slightly subdued level:

chart courtesy of

One can infer many different things from these two charts. With regard to the first chart, one way to view this is to see how "hard assets" are performing relative to "paper assets." With regard to the above chart, one can see how Gold is performing to another commodity, crude oil. From this crude oil to Gold price comparison, one may interpret Gold's unique "safe haven" value. If one chooses to view the chart in this manner, one could draw the conclusion that from a "safe haven" standpoint, Gold's price is not reflecting much of a "safe haven" value. This view is consistent with previous comments I have made with regard to Gold.

I strongly believe that the strongest driver of Gold's price (especially relative to other assets) will be if/when it is viewed as the ultimate "safe haven" asset. This condition would likely occur concomitant to a repudiation of "paper" assets.

SPX at 1098.76 as this post is written

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Economic Outlook Index

I came upon another economic outlook index, this one titled "USA TODAY/IHS Global Insight Economic Outlook Index." The link is found here:

The index is designed to predict real GDP growth and is a composite of 11 indicators.

Currently the chart shows a prediction for each month in 2010 up through June. The June 2010 value is 2.3%.

From the article accompanying the index graphic: "The USA TODAY/IHS Global Insight Economic Outlook Index shows moderating but firm growth in the first half of 2010 after a strong recovery in the second half of 2009."

I'll add this index to the other economic outlook indicators that I occasionally update. The last update was on January 11.

SPX at 1089.19 as this post is written

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Bonus For Bernanke?" Commentary

I came across this commentary from Fareed Zakaria on CNN yesterday. It is titled "Bonus For Bernanke?" :

I mildly or strongly disagree with most of the assertions made by Fareed Zakaria in this piece. The reason that I post it is that it contains a very good, concise representation of ideas from supporters of Ben Bernanke's performance.

SPX at 1073.87 as this post is written