Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
VP of Product Development Emerald Asset Management

Good morning.

Stocks are relatively flat this morning … as a sharp drop in new home construction for the month of April cooled off some views surrounding an overheating economy.

Does this mean people no longer want homes?  Not at all … but there are some areas that seem to be main reasons behind the slowdown.  

First of all, lumber is (no pun intended) through the roof … at least as far as prices are concerned … so it is not surprising to find some builders (as reported on CNBC) are pouring concrete foundations and holding off on framing.  Keep in mind that in addition to the lumber situation there is also a shortage of land and skilled labor.  One day it will all catch up and things regarding construction will be humming again … but no one knows how long this will take.

With more electric vehicles on the road, gasoline purchases are … obviously … affected.  States, however, add a tax on each gallon of gasoline and if the shift continues … budgets could suffer.  Texas, and other states, are now considering either a mileage fee or a surcharge on “EV” purchases to help combat that.  Since the taxes (both federal and state) are used to build roads and bridges this does make a bit of sense … even if some of the collections end up in non-transportation areas.

There is another situation where surcharges are being considered based on the associated incremental cost … as some airlines are considering having clients “weighed” before they fly … with some suggesting passengers pay according to their weight.

Great!  I am nervous enough about flying … and now I have to worry about some attendant knowing that I’ve eaten too many Twinkies during the past year(s)?

Meanwhile, on the subject of food, and to close out today’s note, I thought I would share a bit of incredibly good news.

I frequent a local Chinese restaurant … and learned last year that the head chef was in a terrible accident.  

Well, last night I stopped by and saw him running around and I couldn’t have been happier for it was just one year ago that the doctors told him …

… he might never wok again.

Have a great day,

Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Vice President
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
cell: (856) 625-7915

… As of 10:51 AM today …

Quick Look at the News

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