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Read this First 12/21/22

Welcome to the shortest day of the year ..

Well.. The least sunlight .. The Winter Solstice .. Now we get a LITTTLLEEE more sunlight every day until June. .. Good!!! All this darkness gets depressing!!...

Wake Up Call

Not the song... and not the "Good Kind" when you have something fun to do..The "Bad" kind... Like.. "you wake up blurry eyed to find alerts on your phone from your credit card company that someone may have stolen your card .. So, you check online and... NOPE.. You actually DID buy all those drinks at that bar and your card is maxed out.." ...THAT Kinda "Wake Up Call"

(I was gonna use, "The Chickens Always Come Home to Roost" .. But.. then you'd be saying to yourselves, "Roosting Chickens? WTF is Raj doing quoting Poems from 1810? Is he losing what's left of his mind? .. or.. Is he into the Christmas Egg Nog a few days early?" .. It's more accurate phrasing... but a little dated... anyways.. I digress) ..

For those not paying attention .. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee has been raising interest rates to corral inflation .. Inflation that we have largely because our government has been spending money like a drunken sailor (they can't "max out" their credit card.. they just "up their own limit"). So, now we have a $31 Trillion deficit .. and here is the impending problem...

The Fed WILL win.. They will raise rates and "tame" inflation. .. But, what does that mean? It means slow the economy. Less Business. Less Spending...and what does that mean for the Federal and State Governments? .. Let's say it together. 1, 2, 3 --- "LESS TAX REVENUE" !!! ..

States that patted themselves on the back "Look how well we're doing" because they got FAT checks that were handouts disguised as "Covid Relief" .. are in for some PAIN in the near future.. Lower Tax Revenue. Higher Interest Rates to service their debts... What's your Prediction for the Fight Clubber? ..HERE.. PAIN !!!!!... So.. Merry Christmas !!!! ...

Oh, .. and.. Sorry.. I accidentally wrote the F-Word in the Rant yesterday instead of doing the F**K thing to disguise it.. So, that may have caused your RANT to be blocked by your email police... Sorry about that... and.. If you were offended by the F-Word.. well.. You'll get over it.. and..

Philadelphia: Congratulations to the City of Brotherly Love !!! 500 murders for the Second Year in a Row!!! .. Keep electing loser politicians and loser Attorneys General!! Maybe you'll hit 600 in 2023.. or even 700! Gotta have goals !!!

In Da Swamp:

The SwampRats are close to passing a spending bill that spends $1.7 Trillion of YOUR MONEY .. A nice slug of it going to Ukraine.. $45 Billion.. Don't fix the border guys.. Just keep the war machine rolling... Ukraine President Zelenskyy is in Washington and set to meet with President Biden and speak to Congress. (Pssst.. Spoiler Alert: They are going to give him Patriot Anti-Missile systems..and Russia says they will blow them up).

Some friendly advice to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. You GOTTA stop saying "the border is not open". The Border IS Open. We've all been watching the videos and pictures... You're embarrassing yourself...

Play the word game.. Do the "don't answer the question, change the subject" thing.. do ANYTHING.. Even stupid people have seen the photos for a year, now. They know you're lying.. Use, "We're aware of the issue and DHS is working hard on it" or some other lie that isn't so obvious... and..

Attention Republicans: VP Kamala Harris says the Border crisis is YOUR fault. Despite her being "Border Tsar" Harris told NPR "...sadly, what we have seen in particular, I am sad to say, from Republicans in Congress is an unwillingness to engage in any meaningful reform that could actually fix a lot of what we are witnessing" .. uhhhhhhhh

I'm guessing she told NPR because if she told a REAL news agency the reporter would have spit out his coffee and blown snotbubbles from laughing so hard...

So, Not to beat a dead horse .. But, Yesterday I mentioned the clowns at Stanford making a list of all sorts of "No-No Trigger Words and phrases that only mean, stupid peasants use" ... Turns out.. "Beat a Dead Horse" is ON IT !!!! because, get this, "it normalizes violence against animals" .. HAHAHHAHAH.... AHHAHHAH.. AHAHHAH You DOLTS !!!

A Dead horse is DEAD !!! Beating it isn't "violence against it". IT'S DEAD !!!! What are you freaks doing out there at Stanford? "Don't beat dead horses!!! We're Saving the Dead Horses our students that "Identify" as Equine Necrophiliacs?" HAHAHHAHAH....

I'd Tell you to go look for yourself ... But, you can't .. After being ridiculed, Stanford has now password protected the list... Now, you're gonna have to ask Lori Loughlin's Standford crew rowing daughters to borrow THEIR password ... Oh.. Wait.. Nevermind...


Immaculate Reception: RIP to Franco Harris, 72. The Steelers Legend who caught, "The Immaculate Reception" to win the AFC Playoff game against the Raiders and was the MVP of Superbowl IX

Budweiser scores a Publicity Win... Especially, in Argentina.. When the Qatar government shut down much of the beer sales, Budweiser was left with a warehouse full of beer. The promised to give it to the winning team. Fans at Buenos Aires, Rosario and Cordoba celebrations were VERY happy. Even Messi got into the mix saying at his speech he was "Happy to Bring home the Buds to all those that supported us!" (He is probably angling for a sponsorship)

No, No, NOE??? The internet has found the brave Argentina fan that flashed her boobs after their victory (Brave because if caught, she'd be in jail) ...HERE..HERE... She is safely back in Argentina if you want to go looking for her. Way to support your team, Noe !!! ... You ..HERE... Next !!

MLB: The Carlos Corea SF Giants deal falls through over a "disagreement about his medical exam" and Corea signs $315 million 12 year deal with the Mets.. Giants fans must be reeling. First they thought they had Aaron Judge.. and now Corea is gone, too..


PETA officially ended their "GO NUDE" campaign 2 years ago because they are no fun ...uhhh... They say that so many companies have moved away from animal materials it was no longer necessary .. Anyways.. I dunno why.. But, I just saw Alicia Silverstone ..HERE.. doing a "Nude but covered up so not really nude" ad...

Alicia posed with Pickly Pear Cactus boots and actual plants.. HERE.. (Apparently, you can make the cactus into boot material. Go Figure) .She said, "I never, ever get naked. In TV, in film, nothing! Never, nope! But, I’ve done it for PETA, because that’s how much it matters to me.” .. Um.. No you didn't .. You're all covered up.. But, if you want to SEE what you would look like nude in public I can point you to a few DeepFake websites... uhhh.. That a friend told me about...

Actress Chase Sui Waters ..HERE..HERE.. is co-starring in a movie with Pete Davidson and they have been seen hanging out all over NY this week .. Pete's "rep" says they are just good friends.. that go to dinners.. and hockey games.. and crash at Pete's house .. and sleep naked because the thermostat is broken and its too hot.. and in the same bed because the couch smells bad.. but that's all.. HERE.. He's quite the snazzy dresser ..

As Y'all know, I don't watch garbage fake reality TV.. But I will come to the defense of Alyssa Lopez..HERE.. She appeared on one of those "Big Brother" seasons.. It didn't launch her acting career.. So, she is back working at Hooters.. HERE..

Lopez responded to the trolls online by saying, "Two shifts at Hooters pays the rent. I am not ashamed at all. So, Back Off!!" Good for You Alyssa!! Ill come see you .. HERE.. and ignore those hater women!!!.. The women that crap on Hooter's girls all seem to have one thing in common: They could never get hired to work at Hooters..


Tesla tumble

Tesla (TSLA) carved out a new 52-week low of $140.60 with some reports indicating the search for a new CEO at Twitter could be drawn out and keep the Elon Musk distraction angle a factor for weeks or months in how the stock is viewed.

Musk, who's currently CEO of both Tesla and privately held Twitter (along with other private companies like SpaceX), confirmed late Tuesday that he will step down as Twitter's chief executive.

The billionaire made the move after polling his Twitter followers over the weekend on whether he should give up the helm at the social media giant, which Musk recently bought and took private.

However, the entrepreneur said he would only relinquish his Twitter CEO title "as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job," potentially meaning he'll remain tied up with the social firm's business for some time.

Shares of Tesla closed down 8.05% earlier Tuesday and ended up trading at a 25-month low. The stock has given back more than half of the pandemic gain and is down more than 65% during 2022.

Is Tesla a value pick yet? On a quant basis, the electric vehicle stock is still rated D- although bulls maintain the growth and margin upside warrants a premium valuation similar to a tech megacap superstar. Over the last week, Tesla has fallen more than EV peers like Fisker (FSR), Rivian Automotive (RIVN), Lucid Group (LCID), and Nio (NIO).

What to watch: Perhaps lost in all the drama over Tesla's share price slide and the Twitter headlines, the electric vehicle giant is only two weeks away from reporting on Q4 deliveries. Tesla is seen having a chance to hit 450K to 465K deliveries for the quarter with Giga Berlin and Giga Austin contributing. If Tesla could hit 475K deliveries, the company could re-charge the bull argument by achieving its broad target of 50% production growth. (338 comments)

Zelenskyy goes to Washington

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy travels to Washington Wednesday in his first trip outside his country since the Russian invasion.

Zelenskyy will have an extended meeting with President Joe Biden, who is planning to announce a $2B defense aid package for Ukraine that will include the Patriot missile system, according to published reports. Ukraine has faced an escalation of Russian missile and drone attacks. Zelenskyy will also hold other meetings and address a joint session of Congress and push for continued aid from the U.S. The House of Representatives is expected to be much more reluctant to aid Ukraine when Republicans take control in January.

"On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of (Ukraine)," Zelenskyy tweeted. "In particular, @POTUS and I will discuss cooperation between (Ukraine and the USA) I will also have a speech at the Congress and a number of bilateral meetings."

“The visit will underscore the United States’ steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, including through the provision of economic, humanitarian, and military assistance,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. Zelenskyy is expected to arrive at the White House at 2 p.m. ET. (2 comments)

Nike rally

Nike (NKE) rallied after sliding past consensus marks with its FQ2 earnings report. A drop in revenue in Greater China (-3%) was more than offset by gains in Asia Pacific & Latin America (+19%), North America (+30%) and Europe, Middle East, & Africa (+11%).

Footwear sales were up 25% to $8.50B, while apparel sales rose 4% to $3.8B. Nike Direct sales were up 16% to $5.4B on a reported basis and were up 25% on a currency-neutral basis. Converse sales growth lagged during the quarter with only a 5% increase. Gross margin fell 300 basis points to 42.9% of sales vs. 42.1% consensus. The margin drop was primarily due to higher markdowns to liquidate inventory, particularly in North America, as well as continued unfavorable swings in foreign currency exchange rates and elevated freight/logistics costs. Strategic pricing actions during the quarter helped to offset some costs.

Net income for the apparel giant was flat compared to a year ago at $1.3B. Nike ended the quarter with inventory up 43% year-over-year to $9.3B. The comparable to last year when supply chain disruptions hit accounted in part for the big runup.

Nike's cash position at the end of the quarter was $10.6B vs. $15.1B a year ago as strong free cash flow was offset by share repurchases and cash dividends. Nike management said the company is on track to deliver on operational and financial goals. The athletic apparel giant is expected to issue guidance on its upcoming conference call. (14 comments)

Storm stocks

According to weather reports, a white Christmas is due this year across much of the country. However, as opposed to a light dusting, a potential bomb cyclone over the Midwest and a blizzard in the Northwest are expected. Meanwhile, heavy rain across New England and high winds across the East coast are set to hit in tandem ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend.

Per AccuWeather reports, stormy weather across the Pacific Northwest began to set in on Monday evening, dropping snow across Washington. That winter weather is expected to gain steam on Wednesday and into the end of the week, hitting cities like Minneapolis and Denver hardest and progressing toward Chicago, St. Louis, and upstate New York. While avoiding snow, inclement weather is expected to hit across the East coast as well. Adding to expectations of difficult weather conditions across the country, The Weather Channel reported that a storm it has termed Winter Storm Elliott could become a bomb cyclone and ravage the region around the Great Lakes. Meanwhile, temperatures across the country are set to hit the lowest levels for the Christmas holiday in 39 years.

The most obvious sector to bear the brunt of the impact into the busy travel weekend is the airline industry. In accordance with the expectation of unsafe weather for flight, major carriers including United Airlines (UAL), American Airlines (AAL), and Southwest Airlines (LUV) have already begun to issue weather-related waivers. Regional carrier Sun Country (SNCY) as well as Spirit Airlines (SAVE) and JetBlue Airways (JBLU) have offered fare changes.

By contrast, a cold snap across regions not seeing quite the same snowfall may aid holiday shopping, according to Wells Fargo. A team of analysts led by Ike Boruchow noted that near-record low temperatures across the nation is likely to result in a boost for women’s outerwear and boots, men’s outerwear, and jeans sales. As such, Canada Goose (GOOS), Burlington Stores (BURL), and G-III Apparel (GIII) are expected to benefit as the bank’s “top names to play” as last-minute shoppers hunt deals.

“While retailers have already been heavily discounting this season, consumers and retailers are likely holding out for some special offers to land on the biggest promotional day of the year,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard (MA), forecast ahead of the holiday shopping season. (35 comments)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan -0.68%. Hong Kong +0.34%. China -0.34%. India -0.99%.

In Europe, at midday, London +0.52%. Paris +0.73%. Frankfurt +0.97%.

Futures at 6:30, Dow +0.73%. S&P +0.62%. Nasdaq +0.58%. Crude +1.23% to $77.17. Gold -0.07% to $1824.10. Bitcoin +0.56% to $16,873.1.

Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 3.68%.

Today's Economic Calendar

7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications

8:30 Current Account

10:00 Consumer Confidence

10:00 Existing Home Sales

10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories

1:00 PM Results of $12B, 20-Year Bond Auction

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

Elon Musk confirms he will resign as Twitter (TWTR) CEO once he finds replacement.

FedEx (FDX) beats bottom line estimates, offers weak guide into 2023.

Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) YouTube said in talks for rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.

U.S. Senate seen voting on $1.7T spending bill to avert shutdown.

Bill Gross buys Annaly Capital (NLY), AGNC (AGNC) stocks even as recession looms.

Walmart (WMT) says $3.1B payout to settle opioid lawsuits cleared by all 50 states.

Six Flags (SIX) gains after report activist takes stake, pushes for sale of real estate.

BlackBerry (BB) Non-GAAP EPS of -$0.05 beats by $0.02.

Workday (WDAY) paves way for tech veteran Eschenbach to become CEO in 2024.


Roger “Raj” Searing "Raj Searing™”, "Read this First™", "@rajsearing™", "TheRantRoom™" and “™” are Trademarks of RRRAJ, LLC. All Rights Reserved-2003, 2008.


This RANT is intended SOLELY as Commentary, Satire and/or Social Criticism and is for ENTERTAINMENT. Content in this RANT is based on PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFORMATION and is purely the OPINION of the writer. It is NOT intended to be relied on as fact. Some of this information is garnered from well respected news sources and some is not. (In fact, sometimes I get drunk and make stuff up. It's usually about me dating hot movie stars or models.) Raj warns all readers: If you cannot tell that most of this Rant is just my opinion then you are too stupid to be reading it!!!!

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