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  • 'Tis the Season

    Although the early returns were mixed, the general consensus seems to be that retailers had a decent Black Friday (albeit given what were significantly lower expectations), but didn't see that momentum carry over into the weekend despite the continued availability of deep discounts. Black Friday...
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  • Of Deflation and Depressions

    Large declines in the CPI and PPI during October have prompted a flurry of concerns that deflation may be taking hold. Add to that, a host of lousy economic data such as the recent spikes in unemployment insurance claims , declines in consumer spending and tumbles in manufacturing activity and talk of...
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  • Going Global

    Globalization is a good thing, particularly when it comes to freeing up trade and capital flows. Unfortunately, it looks like the recession has infested all the world's largest economies, leaving some (wrongly) pushing for a little autarky . The euro zone has very likely fallen into a recession for...
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  • The Invisible Tax Cut

    It's hard to be optimistic about the economy, and with good reason given the spate of bad news coming out on an almost daily basis. Deteriorating labor market : check. A big slump in consumer spending : check. Lousy guidance from earnings reports: check. Throw in a credit market in flux (though slowly...
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  • Update on the Credit Crisis

    The majority of indicators are painting an increasingly dismal picture of the economy (see here , here and here for a few examples). With that in mind, we need to take a step back and check out the credit market to see if any improvements have been made since its near-meltdown last month, as that was...
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  • From Spenders to Savers?

    As I mentioned in a previous post, if recent trends continue this could end up being a lousy Christmas shopping season. Data released over the past two days make this outlook even more likely and point to the increased likelihood of further retrenchment in consumer spending during the fourth quarter...
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  • Would You Recognize a Crisis When You See It?

    The complexity of financial instruments ( credit default swaps , commercial paper , etc.) makes understanding the current economic situation very difficult for all but the most highly-versed financial professional. However, the sheer size and scope of the global banking industry contribute to the inability...
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  • What Goes Up...

    It was only a few months ago analysts were talking about the possibility of $200/barrel crude oil and $5 to $6/gallon gasoline. Oh, how things have changed in such a short amount of time. Expectations for global demand across the entire complex of commodities have been ratcheted down significantly in...
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  • Falling off A Cliff

    In a previous post I outlined one of the central problems behind the credit market crisis: plummeting house prices. Although most people have a general understanding of how much housing construction took place at its peak, the chart below illustrates how much (over)building took place during the boom...
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  • Not a Very Merry Christmas

    The federal government's $125 billion injection of equity capital into nation's 9 largest banks, along with several other concerted moves by the Treasury, Fed and FDIC are the first step in stabilizing the credit markets. With these efforts now moving forward, all attention is now being focused...
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