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Lose Some. Winsome.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. -- What the hell kind of idiot thought durables would print big?

A l-o-s-e-r.

Like when she puts her finger and her thumb in the shape of an L on her forehead?


Weak epidermis (a 1.3% overall orders decrease). Strong guts (see below). That's the story.

Indeed. The January

durable goods


released this morning point to a first-quarter business equipment spending profile much stronger than the one that prevailed when December figures were released a month ago. They also put equipment spending on a path to add much more to growth during the first quarter than it did during the fourth.

Shipments of nondefense capital goods excluding airplanes rose 8.3% last month (and a modest December decrease was revised to show a modest increase). Where they formerly looked likely to post a first-quarter (annual) increase of about 3%, they are now on track to turn in an increase of (oh how we love annualization) 19%.

Equipment spending added 0.48 percentage point to growth during the fourth quarter of 1999 -- note that it's been adding 1.09 points (on average) since 1996 -- but

gross domestic product

figures to be released toward the end of April are likely to show that it added substantially more than that during the first.

Two side notes.

(a) Business equipment consists of information processing equipment (including computers and peripherals, software and, as always, other), industrial equipment, transportation equipment and (again) other. (These numbers are laid out in Table 3 of

every GDP release.) The shipments series referenced above tracks it pretty well.

(b) Shipments of airplanes are included in the GDP number, though the figures we see in the durables release are not the same ones used in its calculation. The folks at the


, who put the GDP report together, prefer to do their own seasonal adjustment on that front.

That is all.

Side Dish

(a) Lots of questions about the we construction.

We use it because it's technically correct. It refers to (a) me (b) a fresh deck of cards and (c) the two best Alsatians ever.

We also use it because the vast majority of writers can't use the I construction without coming across as terribly arrogant (just take a quick look around to verify).

Only really good writers can make it work.

I ain't one of 'em.

(b) Looking for a good bond entry point?

Two of our favorite technicians say there's a decent chance it'll get whacked pretty good here (maybe down to 94-30 on the

contract) in the next week or so (give or take).

If you've been waiting to pull the trigger, here's your chance.

The millionaire bride?



White? Are you kidding?

I went to high school with him.

God bless any Murdoch investment.