Last Tuesday, the DJIA reached a new all time high. That day the Investors Business Daily / TIPP Economic Optimism Index is at its lowest level since December of 2011. So, let’s take a look at some recent developments apparently gone un-noticed by the media. As the DJIA ( an index composed of 30 stocks) hit an all time high, twenty of the stocks in the index did not reach an all time high. Hmmm. Must be indexing or weighting or averaging or something like that. Or maybe the number is seasonally adjusted like all of the rest of the numbers. According to Trim Tabs, insider (corporate executives) buying of stocks has hit an all time low. But wait there’s more...Insider selling is at an all time high. So what do these CEO’s and other top executives fear about owning shares of their own companies? According to the U.S. Commerce department, personal incomes in January dropped to a 20 year low. After tax incomes dropped to a 54 year low; 1959 was when the index was created. But who needs income when stocks are making new highs, right? And let’s not forget our hometown going into receivership. If (when) Detroit declares bankruptcy, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States. Too bad they didn’t just buy stocks. Gasoline once again hit the magic $4.00 per gallon which has historically produced an immediate stall in the economy. Perhaps the price of gas doesn’t matter anymore with all of those Volts on the road. Volt? When’s the last time you even heard that word? Freight shipment volumes are now at a two year low. Virtual merchandise? Wal-Mart, the world’s largest company, largest employer and largest retailer reported that February sales were the worst in seven years calling it a “total disaster”. Hmmm. That one’s easy: Those customers have simply moved up to shopping at Whole Foods and Neiman Marcus. For those of you who remember, The Readers Digest, a 91 year old publication, filed for bankruptcy for the second time in less than four years. The CEO said this is the last time. Can’t they just go digital? Dude? Sears, K Mart, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and Radio Shack have announced they will close hundreds of stores by the end of this year. Must be all that internet shopping. So why is freight at a two year low? J.C.Penney reported the lowest sales in more than 20 years. Here are just a few more. Office Depot, Barnes & Noble, GameStop and OfficeMax. Oh, and JP Morgan Chase just announced another 17,000 job cuts. Sorry. GDP was down .1 % in the fourth quarter of 2012 and up a mere 1.5% for the entire year according to the Commerce Department. Art Cashin, long time UBS veteran explains that in every case when GDP dropped to this level, there has always been a recession. But hey, what does he know? Sure he’s been trading markets for about 47 years but he still looks at things the old fashioned way. Totally out of touch with the new reality. Totally. Dude. Speaking of 2012, last year, global cell phone sales declined for the first time since the, err uh, last recession. An apple a day? Down 40% from its high. According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence in the U.S. is lower than it was a year ago. I think that’s just because people are so negative these days. Bill Gross of PIMCO, who manages the largest bond fund in the world says that the U.S. economy is running out of time and will soon implode like Japan has over the last 20 years. See what I mean? Negative people. Geez. According to the 2013 Car Affordability Study, a new car is now too expensive for most Americans. Hmmm. Fiat 100? Sergio? But wait...Housing! Housing is booming again, right? Hmmm. According to Lender Processing Services, seven percent of all mortgages in the U.S. are delinquent. There are3,506,000 homes that are 30 days delinquent but not in foreclosure. There are 1,531,000 homes that are 90 days delinquent butnot in foreclosure. There are 1,703,000 homes in foreclosure that arein pre-sale inventory. That kind of sounds like 6.7 million distressed homes that will hit the market at some point, doesn’t it? And when that happens? Two friends of mine in the real estate business have told me that Fannie, Freddie and FHA are selling foreclosed homes in bulk to private investors. If you’re willing to take on say, 100 homes in a given market, they will sell them to you for about twenty cents on the dollar. Assuming half of the homes are desirable either to rent out or flip, that means the other half will be dumped onto the market as well. Interestingly, when these homes are sold in bulk, the sale price is not reflected in the local MLS comps. This means that the lowball sale prices go un-noticed, under the radar. Say man, wanna buy a house? Well, according to one of these private investors, Fannie is currently offering 5000 of them in Detroit... for...free. No takers yet. Maybe in the spring? Speaking of comps, how about these? In October of 2007, when the DJIA last traded atthis level, there were 153 million people in the work force. Today, there are 133 million. The unemployment rate was 4.7%. Today, it’s 7.9%. There were 6.7 million people unemployed. Today, there are 13.2 million people unemployed. GDP growth was 2.5%. Today, it’s 1.5%. A gallon of gas was $2.75. Today, it’s $3.75. There were 26.5 million people on food stamps. Today, there are 48 million. When big companies like JP Morgan Chase want to “cut costs” they eliminate thousands of jobs. As expenses drop, earnings go up. As earnings go up, stock prices go up. If that’s the case, if companies keep laying off people, the market should keep going up. Right?