Posted by Larry Doyle on August 4th, 2011 5:08 PM |
“Everybody out of the pool” and “Adult Swim Only” are phrases that ring in my ear from my trading days at Bear Stearns. A long lost friend (God bless you, buddy!!) would bellow those statements when markets plunged like today.
What has recently drained the liquidity and lowered the water level in our equity market ‘pool’?
A number of critically important factors have been building and continue to haunt us.These include:
1. Meltdown in European sovereign debt. This is not and should not be a surprise. The meltdown was merely a matter of time. The outstanding question remains the depth and breadth of the meltdown. Stay tuned as risks remain very high.
2. The dysfunction in Washington truly displayed how screwed up our political dynamic is while shedding light on the enormity of our national debt and deficit. This reality is not changing anytime soon. Stay tuned as risks remain very high.
Posted by Larry Doyle on May 5th, 2011 8:58 AM |
With gasoline prices running upwards of $4.00-4.50/gallon, we should not be surprised that consumers are changing behaviors. How so? Let’s go online. In fact that is exactly what more and more consumers are doing as the Financial Times highlights, High Petrol Prices Fuel Jump in Online Shopping,
Online shopping grew by its fastest rate in nearly four years in the US last month as rising fuel prices prompted Americans to cut trips to malls and buy on the internet instead, according to MasterCard Advisors.
US consumers spent $13.8bn online last month, a 19.2 per cent jump from April last year, according to the SpendingPulse survey, which is based on spending on MasterCard credit cards and estimates of other forms of payment.
The increase is likely to outpace sales growth at bricks-and-mortar stores, due to be released on Thursday. The consensus of economists’ forecasts is that sales at stores open a year or more rose 7.7 per cent in April.
While consumer behavior changes, are we supposed to blindly accept the traditional methods of capturing and measuring retail purchases? Why should we be so archaic in this day and age? Why should we be so trusting of entities which will “tell us what they think we need to hear” and sugarcoat it in the process. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on April 5th, 2011 8:16 AM |
What does our economic future hold? Great question, right?
Is our economy truly rebounding as much as our equity markets may portend or are we riding high predominantly due to government stimulus similar to an economic anabolic steroid? Is our future as bleak as the numerous and sundry doomsayers would proclaim? Does it appear as if our economy has a split personality or is operating in two different realms? Do you often wonder what others—especially those in Washington—may be seeing if the economic landscape in your backyard remains very challenging?
I continue to believe our overall economy is operating and will continue to operate with a ‘walking pneumonia’ type condition. The massive debt burdens at all levels of our economy continue to serve as a drag and inhibit any sort of truly robust rebound. Let’s navigate and take the pulse of Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute which captures real time discretionary online consumer activity. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on October 14th, 2010 7:26 AM |
Economics is the most inexact of sciences. As much as we may think we can understand our future economic landscape based upon the study of the past, a variety of twists, turns, and unknown challenges inevitably come upon us. This reality has never been more prevalent than in our ‘Uncle Sam’ economy circa 2010. Do not think for a second that the ‘grand wizards’ in Washington currently undertaking the massive financial experiment throughout our economy do not appreciate this. They do. They just would not admit it.
Can we look toward private enterprises in an attempt to ‘see through’ the Washington smoke and mirrors? In fact we can. I make no bones about my admiration for the work of Rick Davis at Consumer Metrics Institute. As Rick so boldly states, the work at CMI is focused on:
“Bringing the measurements of critical economic activities into the twenty-first century by mining tracking data for an understanding of what American consumers were doing yesterday.”
Well, what were our fellow Americans doing yesterday and the days before that? (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on September 27th, 2010 7:21 AM |
The study of human behavior may be considered a science but to me it is the greatest and most challenging of arts. Why is that? For the very simple reason that while we are limited in the ability to study human behavior by reviewing the past, we are challenged by the fact that future behaviors are forever changing. The lessons of the past often do repeat themselves in the future; however, the environment of the PRESENT has NEVER truly been experienced so our current and future behaviors are so hard to forecast. Thus, is economics more art or science? Perhaps we can cover both bases and call it as much an art as a science especially in the Uncle Sam Economy circa 2010.
I raise this topic based upon a recent commentary put forth by a Sense on Cents favorite site, Consumer Metrics Institute. Rick Davis continues to paint an exquisite work as he recently penned, The Diverging GDP,
Prior to each revision to the GDP we are asked for insights into the likely course of those corrections from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (“BEA”) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Most of the questions we have received recently center on the increasing divergence of our Daily Growth Index from the BEA’s GDP over the past couple of quarters: (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 31st, 2010 5:56 AM |
I have informed more people than I care to count that I do not believe we are going to have an economic double dip. Am I turning positive on the economy? Do I see blue skies and fair winds on our economic horizon? No, regrettably not. The reason I do not believe we will have an economic double dip is very simply I do not believe that our “real” economy, not the government sponsored version, ever really came out of the initial recession.
People may care to debate or challenge me on my premise, but my ‘sense on cents’ leads me to believe that we have been experiencing one long and ongoing recession. I definitely sense that more people are now coming to accept this reality as well. This ‘walking pneumonia’ economic syndrome is captured in a recent commentary by Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute,
The “Great Recession” that began in 2008 has had many nuances, but among the most important are that many of the observed changes in consumer behavior have begun to linger, much as the recession itself now appears to have done. If a new consumer thrift paradigm becomes endemic — either because of natural demographic processes or scarred generational memories of upside-down loans — the lingering recession might well end up being measured in years, not quarters as commonly expected. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 23rd, 2010 7:56 AM |
Do you increasingly feel that you are not receiving the full story in terms of our overall economy? Do you feel as if the ‘political class’ in Washington is speaking a different language than the ‘working class’ in the rest of the country? Do you scratch your head as to why economic releases are often immediately panned and quickly thereafter revised? (Case in point, the initial release of 2nd quarter GDP on July 30th was quickly thereafter projected to be halved.) For all of the above reasons, more and more Americans are relying on independent economic research and analysis. Two of my favorites in this camp (aside from Sense on Cents, of course!!) are John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics and Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute.
I recently highlighted Williams’ work in writing, What Is the Real Rate of Unemployment in the United States? In that commentary, I referenced Williams as he had stated:
That began a lengthy process of exploring the history and nature of economic reporting and in interviewing key people involved in the process from the early days of government reporting through the present.
For a number of years I conducted surveys among business economists as to the quality of government statistics (the vast majority thought it was pretty bad), and my results led to front page stories in the New York Times and Investors Business Daily, considerable coverage in the broadcast media and a joint meeting with representatives of all the government’s statistical agencies. Despite minor changes to the system, government reporting has deteriorated sharply in the last decade or so. (LD’s emphasis) (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on July 27th, 2010 6:10 AM |
2nd quarter earnings are certainly coming in stronger than expected, and our equity markets are having a solid rebound this month. Are these earnings reflective of real underlying strength in the economy or corporations that are now operating more efficiently?
Has our economy hit a soft patch? Is it declining? Are we rebounding from a recent downturn? Might we experience a real double dip?
The initial reading of 2nd quarter GDP is due this Friday. To say that it is highly anticipated would be a huge understatement. Consensus expectations for 2nd quarter GDP are running between +2.5% and +3%. Recall that the final 1st quarter report registered a +2.7% reading.
A Sense on Cents favorite has a decidedly different view of 2nd quarter economic activity and the subsequent GDP. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 29th, 2010 7:17 AM |
If the American consumer represents 70% of our economy, shouldn’t economists study consumer spending as much as possible? Well, one individual, and he is not a trained economist,–he is actually a physicist by trade– has done and is doing just that. Who is this visionary? Richard C. Davis of the Consumer Metrics Institute.
I hosted Richard on my radio show, No Quarter Radio’s Sense on Cents with Larry Doyle Welcomes Rick Davis, last evening. If you have any interest in the economy (and if the economy is even peripherally linked to the markets), you MUST listen to this interview. Those who follow my work know I am not one taken to hyperbole, but last evening’s show was as good as it gets in terms of cutting edge analysis on the economy focused specifically on the consumer. (more…)