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  • Half-Empty or Half-Full?

    Following a week chocked full of stories about soaring food prices , $120 oil , sliding housing prices and a blowback against ethanol , we need to step back, take a deep breath and canvas the economic landscape for any signs of improvement. The economy is certainly not at peak performance right now....
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  • From Boom to All Busted Up

    The well-chronicled woes of the housing market have remained a huge weight around the U.S. economy's neck for well over a year now. In fact, given the evolution of financial markets and the explosion of mortgage loan securitization, the effects of housing bubbles bursting in south Florida , California...
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  • Wither Manufacturing? Maybe Not...

    Of course, the big news this week is Pope Benedict XVI's seminal visit to the U.S. and his Yankee Stadium debut (on Sunday the 20 th ). Also, with the first quarter earnings season in full swing, some high-profile companies have reported some less-than-stellar results to kick off the year (see here...
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  • Trade Winds and the Tapped-Out Consumer

    International trade was back in the news again this week, and we're not referring to the old furor over NAFTA or Congress' intransigence on the free trade pact with Colombia . Instead, data released on Thursday showed a larger-than-expected widening of the trade deficit during February. On a...
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  • Hammerin' Hank

    Not a lot changed in the economic outlook this week, as the "r" word quickly becomes more and more part of the vernacular. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke thinks it a possibility. On the employment front, payrolls contracted during the first quarter of this year, manufacturing and...
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  • Digging for the Goods

    This week brought us a few key indicators: consumer spending, durable goods orders and home sales (both new and existing). Although the personal consumption report showed income growth accelerating at the same time inflation was easing, consumers apparently remained a cautious lot since real spending...
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  • The Devil Is in the Details

    A hectic, roller-coaster week (yet mercifully short) on equity markets as everyone digested Bear Stearns collapse and its possible outcomes , a large interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve and piles of cash shifting away from commodities . On the data front, a handful of indicators offered a look at...
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  • Does America Need a Hug?

    If you saw the Oscars Sunday night, you’ll remember Jon Stewart’s psychological take on the dark, depressing slate of movies up for awards this year: “Does this town need a hug?” With more and more depressing economic and financial headlines these days, maybe the country needs a hug as well. Pounded...
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