At U.S. Ports, Exports Are Coming Up Empty

Oct 13 (WSJ) — In September, the Port of Long Beach Calif. handled 197,076 outbound empty boxes. September was the eighth straight month in which empty containers leaving Long Beach outnumbered those loaded with exports. Last month, however, Long Beach and the Port of Oakland both reported double-digit gains in exports of empty containers. So far this year, empties at the two ports are up more than 20% from a year earlier. Long Beach’s containerized exports were down 8.2% this year through September, while Oakland’s volume of outbound loaded containers fell 12.7% from a year earlier in the January-September period.

J.P. Morgan’s Revenue Slides

Oct 13 (WSJ) — J.P. Morgan Chase reported a profit of $6.8 billion, or $1.68 a share. That compares with a profit of $5.57 billion, or $1.35 a share, in the same period of 2014. Excluding $2.2 billion of tax benefits and other one-time items, earnings were $1.32 a share. Revenue fell 6.4% to $23.54 billion. Return on equity was 12% in the third quarter compared with 10% a year earlier. The bank continued to cut its workforce last quarter, shedding 1,781 people to 235,678. That includes reductions across its consumer & community banking and corporate divisions.

Intel Profits Slide Amid PC Slump

Oct 13 (WSJ) — Intel said its third-quarter profit fell 6.3% from the year-earlier period on a small revenue decline. Intel issued an outlook for the current quarter that was in line with Wall Street estimates. In all, the chip maker reported third-quarter net income of $3.11 billion, or 64 cents a share, down from profit in the year-earlier period of $3.32 billion, or 66 cents a share. Revenue for the period ended Sept. 30 declined to $14.47 billion from $14.55 billion. Intel’s gross profit margin declined to 63% from 65%. It said 2015 capital spending will be about $7.3 billion, down from a projected $7.7 billion.

Good time to hit the brakes:

Abe orders preparation of multiple rates for 2017 sales tax hike

Oct 1(Kyodo) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday ordered preparations for the introduction of multiple tax rates under the planned consumption tax hike in April 2017. Abe gave the instruction to former industry minister Yoichi Miyazawa, who is to replace Takeshi Noda as chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s tax panel. The prime minister believes it is necessary to consider measures to avoid unnecessarily burdening smaller businesses, Miyazawa said. To ease the impact the government is considering introducing reduced tax rates for some items such as daily necessities.

Slowdown in emerging economies weakens Japanese real GDP outlook

Oct 14 (Nikkei) — Japan’s real gross domestic product inched up an annualized 0.55% from the previous quarter during the July-September period, a new survey of professional forecasters showed Tuesday, a considerable retreat from the 1.67% growth predicted in September. The experts saw exports growing 0.62%, less than half the 1.39% outlook in September. The survey pegged real economic growth for fiscal 2015 at 0.97%, down from September’s outlook of 1.11%. Official government estimates from July see a 1.5% advance. The economists also cut real GDP growth for fiscal 2016 from 1.7% in September to 1.59%.

Giving back last week’s gains, and then some as housing remains depressed:

MBA Mortgage Applications

Mortgage applications decreased 27.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 9, 2015.

The Refinance Index decreased 23 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 34 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 34 percent compared with the previous week and was 1 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

Don’t forget, Saudis did cut price/increased discounts on October 5 for November deliveries: