Nobody can do everything,
but everybody can do something.
- Author Unknown
Manufacturing- June's Institute for Supply Management (ISM) purchasing managers' index slowed to 52.1 from 53.7 in May, but behind the number was a more ominous decline in the export index to 47.5 from 53.5 in May (Any reading below 50 indicates a contraction in business). Like most of Wall Street, China and Europe have decided to take the summer off.
Mortgage Rates- The average 30-year mortgage rate fell to 3.62% from 3.66% last week, the tenth week out of the last eleven that the rate has matched or hit a new record low. For those keeping score at home, one year ago the 30-year mortgage rate stood at 4.6%. Too bad today's bank lending standards are tighter than the nuts on a new bridge.
Bankruptcy- The number of U.S. businesses and consumers filing for bankruptcy fell 14% in the first half of 2012 and could end the year at the lowest level since before the 2008 financial crisis. That's like saying the Hundred Year Flood is finally starting to recede.
Just Plain Marginal
Helium Heights- Because most of the world's helium is extracted from natural gas, low natural gas prices have resulted in a shortage of helium. Plus, a fire in Wyoming has delayed a new helium-producing plant from coming online, creating a "perfect storm" that has caused helium prices to double in recent months. I hope this ends soon, because as far as I'm concerned, the holidays don't officially begin until I see a 50-foot, helium-filled Bart Simpson floating above Times Square on Thanksgiving Day.
Views From the Cheap Seats
Back on June 7, I wrote the following about a charity event organized by the family of Mary Russell, better known as The Woman Who Couldn't Stop Smiling, and who passed away on March 21, 2012 after a long battle with thymoma cancer:
"So it should come as no surprise tht Mary's family has decided to strap on their Spandex and honor her memory by hosting a walk/run/cycle charity event on July 14, 2012 in Hartford, CT. With assistance from an organization called ERRACE (Everybody Ride/Race Against Cancer Everybody), the Russell Family hopes to raise $50,000 for Thymoma research, a rare cancer that receives no support from the National Cancer Institute."
If good things happen to good people, then Mary Russell, a Hall of Fame wife, mother and friend, must have been upgraded to great. In a surprise to practically no one, the family's goal of $50,000 was reached faster the The Pretty Blonde's heart rate at a Mathew McConaughey sighting. The bar was subsequently raised to $100,000, and as of Thursday donations for "Miles 4 Mary" totaled $79,560.
Times are tough and money is tight, but if you have the means, please walk, run, or bicycle your way to your checkbook and make a donation. It would mean an awful lot to me. This morning I doubled-down on my contribution to Miles 4 Mary, because a special woman with a million dollar smile deserves a six-figure charity dedicated to her memory.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
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