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Morning Commentary

Market Need More than Words

By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
2/7/2013 7:53 AM
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Question of the Week

On the James Farley Post Office in New York City, an inscription reads: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds".

Yesterday, the US Postal Service announced it plans to stop the delivery of letters (packages will still be delivered 6 days a week) on Saturday beginning in August to save $2 billion a year.

Do you agree with this change? If not, what suggestions do you have to stem the losses?

A. Yes
B. No

Post your answer below.
A single word even may be a spark of inextinguishable thought.
A Deference of Poetry
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

All the pieces are in place, but the market still finds itself stuck in neutral. There is no doubt the rally is in need of a spark, something to push it through the current atmospheric resistance, something to get people to jettison the reality of their own lives and that of too many other Americans, and buy into a frenzy of sorts. In the past, the best spark always came from the monthly jobs report, yet now the best we can get from that data point is hope the Fed keeps printing. This is the conundrum.

For so long, the stock market has been able to rally on thin volume and even thinner news. Last week the rally not only survived but also exhibited a fair amount of resolve on news that portrays domestic growth a notch above bed-ridden. While much can be said about the role hype plays in achieving success, whether in the locker room before the big game or in the media to push a certain agenda, it also can mask problems that must be resolved to ultimately win more than a single game or to get a sustained rally based on fundamentals and not on cheerleading.

Fourth Estate

"Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporter's Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all." Thomas Carlyle

Edmund Burke saw the power of the press and how it swayed politics. While other powers are held accountable to oaths and the people they press, particularly its current configuration in America, they are only accountable to particular beliefs and agendas. Luckily for left-leaning politicians, his vast majority of the press drinks from the same cup of beliefs-a chalice of fairness. For this chalice comes the wisdom that a perfect world can exist that rewards intellectuals with power and wealth and the task of controlling society for the good of all.
Exceptions to this club in America include celebrities that somehow are thought to have wisdom because they can kick a ball or tell a joke. Chris Rock is just the latest of these celebrities that has bought into the notion that we have elected more than a politician-but a mommy and daddy. I guess that's a little less astonishing than the notion Barack Obama is the savior of the country or even a sliver of the country, but it points to the kind of hype that's not only pushing an agenda but trying to push the market over the hump.

As good as his comedy can be, Chris Rock, and the ever-expanding cult of Obama in Hollywood, can't provide that spark of inextinguishable thought.

For all of its outlets, the Fourth Estate still needs help to convince the masses things are great when it's obvious to anyone that doesn't live in Alpine New Jersey or Beverly Hills California there are still tons of problems. The glorious road painted by commentators is in reality still marked with potholes and sloppy patches of asphalt from quick fixes.

So this is where we are today. The stock market rally is holding up, but in desperate need of some kind of catalyst. A bit of news where the masses don't need an explanation of why it's good or why the good parts outweigh the bad parts.
Yes I agree with the post office stoppiing mail delivery on Saturday. They would also take out another day, like Wednesday because most people these days get or pay their bills online and most of the mail anymore is junk mail.

Tracy on 2/7/2013 9:33:51 AM
Yes. The WSJ weekend edition can be delivered on Friday....

Frances Wiggins on 2/7/2013 9:38:16 AM
1. Sell as much property as possible to reduce debt and fund pensions
2.Analyze routes and contract out to UPS etc all unprofitable routes.
3.Lay off corresponding workers.
4. Contract to private company as many rural routes as possible.
5.Move away from Congress control as soon as possible, Privatize if necessary.
J Lee

John Lee on 2/7/2013 9:46:19 AM

Jason on 2/7/2013 9:50:41 AM
Absolutely, yes. This should have been done years ago when the post office first starting having financal difficulties. They should also shut down postoffices that are within 5 miles of another post office.

Marilyn Sconzo on 2/7/2013 10:05:08 AM
No. Contract out to UPS or FEDEX.

Hugh Waller on 2/7/2013 10:06:13 AM
Home delivery should be three days a week. M-W-F for half of us and T-T-S for the other half.
Or better yet, privitize the USPS.

Jon Bentz on 2/7/2013 10:09:35 AM
I disagree with discontinuing Saturday delivery. Instead, Congress should BACK OFF and let the USPS run itself in the same manner a private corporation would be run, especially in terms of maintaining locations or not. Congress prohibits the closure of many locations that are costly and inefficient to maintain.

C. A. Wells on 2/7/2013 10:16:25 AM
The Unions and Congress have done more damage to the PO than anything. Unless structural changes are made to work rules, this is just a band aid.

Donald in NH on 2/7/2013 10:25:02 AM

Yes it's a start. They could deliver MWF and most people wouldn't care, thus saving even more. There's an even better solution though.

The USPS owns billions of dollars in real estate with all their outlets and offices. Sell the rural ones and some of the major market offices to private enterprise like a McDonald's franchise.

These new franchise owners could operate them similar to Postal Annex or Fedex Kinko's making them profitable by offering other services to the community. The USPS makes money from the franchise fee and all they have to worry about is actually delivering the mail.

They could instantly generate hundreds of millions if not billions from the sale of half or more of all their offices. With private enterprise operating the sorting, sale and other services they eliminate a ton of overhead. They could even consider letting private enterprise take over express delivery as well.

Chris on 2/7/2013 10:27:07 AM
Sorry if I sound like a socialist, but I believe the postal service should be a point of national pride; regardless of the expense. Job creation, and reliability in our exchange of items and ideas. It is truly remarkable that it is affordable for every citizen to drop a letter in the mail in New York, with the expectations that it will arrive anywhere in the country for 46 cents. We claim to be the greatest nation on earth, so I would expect that we could at least manage the mail properly. As I said: a point of national pride, not a laser on the bottom line.

Chris on 2/7/2013 10:29:41 AM
Yes I agree with suspending regular sat delivery. Also I think they need to bolster their image, then raise rates on some services to more closely match the private sector rates...example, I had to send a one page letter to a business vender fron AZ to Houston TX..I could have sent that USPS for .45 cents...the reciever required FedEx it cost me 7.65. So if the postal service would get itself in a position to be trusted with sensitive docs, I think they could rase rates

Larry Holland on 2/7/2013 10:32:15 AM

Tom stender on 2/7/2013 10:33:43 AM
I totally agree with John Lee above...

Jim Pond on 2/7/2013 10:34:18 AM
The Post Office is an obsolete institution both in Canada and the US. I would like to know how much truly necessary mail is delivered in contrast to junk mail. Privitize the system...if it is not profitable it will disappear.

Stan on 2/7/2013 10:35:06 AM
the postal folks have to hold back the future benefits of employees,unlike the social security system(can you imagine what would happen if our ss future payments were to indeed go into a "lock box")and although prudent,there lies the trouble.Also the counter employees there make up to $42/hour which is way out of sync with reality,but who can change that?(my foot carrier also disclosed she was in the highest tax bracket)

Sue on 2/7/2013 10:44:31 AM
Online communication is taking over the 'traditional' letters - in physical letter; therefore, eventually, letter delivery will be obsoleted in the near future.

CCasey on 2/7/2013 11:20:33 AM
YES YES The required mail can wait und the slut can rot.

Josef Brunner on 2/7/2013 11:37:57 AM
As a whole we can all handle to lose some of the perks so many think we are entitled to. Not getting mail even packages on Saturday is a good start.

Kevin on 2/7/2013 11:47:47 AM
The US Post Office should be run like a business instead of a government sink hole. Either change the business model to generate revenue, or get out of the way of competitors and close shop. Let an entrepenuer open a private sector business for mail delivery instead of tax payers throwing more money away on a dying business.

Kristene Foley on 2/7/2013 12:09:45 PM
Yes, I agree with stopping Saturday delivery. Most of what comes in the snail mail is junk mail anyway. If someone has an urgent delivery they can send in a package for Saturday delivery.

KAT THOMS on 2/7/2013 12:23:25 PM
I DO NOT. The USPS has a responsibility to deliver the mail in a timely manner. It just comes down to a gross mis-management. Why can't we hire a good person with business experience (FEDEX or UPS)? It is just big Government. The next four years will be difficult, but we will survive.

Bob Medkeff on 2/7/2013 12:26:41 PM
Yes. They could even take the delivery service to three days per week. Most of us have auto-bill pay and on-line checking of accounts. A personal letter can wait a day. The bigger issue are the imbedded benefits and saving $2B per year and losing $16B... missed price personal and too inexpensive of commercial mailing. If working at break even vs. subsidized then FedEx or UPS would eat USPS alive.

Chris Widing on 2/7/2013 12:57:05 PM
Any savings seems to be a good thing- i hope that stopping Saturday mail won't have negative repercussions and i wonder if the increased load other days will be manageable.

P.S. MAKES ME WANT TO "HOLLA" 2/6/13 was a very nice piece! I'm thinking literary-award-worthy. Thank you!

Sandra Avila on 2/7/2013 1:01:50 PM
5 days a week service is just fine with me. YES

Rich on 2/7/2013 1:20:15 PM
Yes, Long overdue. Monday thru Friday would be great for those guys and gals, put them on four tens keep post offices open 6 days, place overflow workers in the post offices, offer early retirement bonuses to avoid job losses, with all the money saved they could still keep that great pension !!! peice of cake lol...

mike tippit on 2/7/2013 2:53:23 PM
I vote for eliminating Sat. mail as proposed by USPS. I vote also for the closure of thousands of tiny post offices scattered around the country side. I also vote for congress taking control of the USPS bloated and excessive pre-paid retirement plan which is contributing a major part to the financial difficulty of the postal service.

jesse Roberts on 2/7/2013 3:25:26 PM
Yes. I think even four days a week delivery would be enough. Also, most junk mail gets tossed out - there must be some way to curtail that burdensome flood.

Patricia Flynn on 2/7/2013 3:51:36 PM
Have to do it - caused by billions/yr losses caused by mismanagement + union demands. USPS barely functional - paid very well anyway, so why work? Supervisors powerless due to union forces.
Remedy: Get rid of unions APWU, NALC.
Fire worthless employees. Fire worthless overpaid executives. Stop brainless restructuring/reorganizations.
Go private?

Gulliver on 2/9/2013 9:33:24 AM
No I don't agree.I was struck recently when the WSJ, while covering this story, showed an old photo of a postal worker wearing a profressional gray uniform and hat. It reminded me of that look the delivery man had back in the '60's and '70's. It presented a sense of professionalism, trust, integrity and respect. This man cared! I don't get that today when I go to the local post office station today for too many reasons, but mainly because I can't trust that my mail or package will arrive in time or get there at all.Basically the person at the counter seems like he/she doesn't really trust the system they work in! The other big factor is not knowing the complete story and why nothing was done over the years in anticipation of all the technological changes taking place that would impact the post office's key value proposition (timely, efficient, low cost direct mail) in whatever forms the customer wanted to receive their information. Failure to act has led to this mess. So why should anyone believe this is the right direction? Yes,I'm skeptical and believe this is just a band aid for the problem. What to me is worse,this is just an example of a bigger problem and that is our great country seems incapable of solving big problems. There is a real lack of leadership statesmanship and commitment to do what is best for the country instead of the special interests of selfish groups who see only power as an end in itself. Thanks Charles for the opportunity to respond!

Gregory P. Doyle on 2/11/2013 3:14:50 PM
The Post Office sure needs to cut costs somewhere and the Saturday deliveries makes sense.

Dave Johnson on 2/12/2013 11:43:42 AM

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