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Retail Sales to Surprise to the Upside, Don’t Buy Into It

The calendar for the week has a key piece of data that you’ll want to watch out for. We have August Retail Sales data to be released on Wednesday morning. The consensus among a survey of economists conducted by Bloomberg suggests that this figure will decline by 2.1% after having surged 2.7% in the month prior. This may be overly pessimistic as a reading of -2.1% on the sales side would imply that spending among the US public was at its worst since last December, when it tanked 3.2%. Keep in mind that since the start of the year, Retail Sales have only shrunk in two of the months. Such a swing to the downside would be a sharp change in the public’s mindset.

Note that when excluding automobiles from the metric, the consensus forecast is set for an increase of 0.2%. This leads one to believe that automobile sales plummeted throughout the month, causing the broader metric to sink as well. This might not necessarily true. The popular “Cash for Clunkers” program was extended during this period and saw car purchases soar. In fact, there was a 25% jump in the number of autos sold. So there is little reason to believe that August saw such a pathetic performance in Retail Sales.

What to take away from this: Retail traders may splurge on stocks when they see that this number is surprisingly high. But one must ask themselves if this high figure is surely sustainable. Keep in mind that this data is for August and not for September – that’s five weeks back. Cash for Clunkers is over with and there is now little incentive to keep car purchases up. Just moments ago, Philips released it’s Q3 earnings report. In it, they said that the structural recovery in their primary end-markets has been absent. This speaks contrary to that which has been heard from the popular media and other pundits.

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Filed under: Economics, Global Economics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FINANCIAL TIMES CHIEF DECLARES ‘NEW WORLD ORDER’ AS POWER SHIFTS TO CHINA AT G20 MEETING

DURING TONIGHT’S LIVE BROADCAST OF CNBC WORLD’S ‘SQUAWK BOX EUROPE,’ FINANCIAL TIMES EDITOR LIONEL BARBER DECLARED THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN A ‘NEW WORLD ORDER’ WHERE THE ‘GROUP OF 20’ (G20) COUNTRIES WILL BE MAINLY FOCUSED ON WHAT CHINA WILL DO, INSTEAD OF THE UNITED STATES, IN SOLVING THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS. HE OFFERED THE IDEA THAT THE G20 OUGHT TO BE REFERRED TO AS THE G2 WITH THE U.S. AND CHINA BEING THE TWO HEGEMONIC POWERS…

FT Editor Lionel Barber interviews China’s Premier Hu Jintao

TEN-THOUSANDS PROTEST IN START OF ‘SUMMER OF RAGE…”

OBAMA MEETS BROWN FOR TALKS (VIDEO)…

OBAMA PREACHES GLOBAL ‘UNITY’ IN INTERVIEW WITH FT…

Filed under: Economics, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama’s Health Secretary Pays $7,040 in Back Taxes After 3 Years

WIRE: Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius has corrected three years worth of tax returns after finding “unintentional errors.”

Sebelius alerted senators to the changes in a letter dated Tuesday that was obtained by The Associated Press. She says the changes involved charitable contributions, the sale of a home and business expenses….

Cites “unintentional errors…”

Filed under: Obama, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BREAKING NEWS: HEDGE FUND MUST GIVE UP CONTROL OF CHRYSLER

HEDGE FUND DOWN

PAPER: Cerberus Capital Management will lose its equity stake in Chrysler LLC’s struggling automotive company as a condition of the Treasury Department’s bailout deal with the U.S. auto maker, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The New York private-equity firm purchased an 80% stake in Chrysler in 2007, promising to bolster the auto maker’s performance by operating as an independent company. The plan, however, collapsed due to an unprecedented slowdown in the U.S. auto industry and a lack of capital at the auto maker to weather the storm…

OBAMA: LET THEM GO BANKRUPT…

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

GENERAL MOTORS CEO QUITS ON DEMANDS FROM OBAMA

YOU’RE FIRED

WIRE: The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

Wagoner’s departure is one of the remarkable strings attached to a new aid package the administration plans to offer GM…

Filed under: Obama, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OBAMA: DETROIT NO LONGER ‘VIABLE’

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

WIRE: In surprising findings to be outlined at the White House on Monday, President Obama has concluded that neither GM nor Chrysler can survive as they now exist. But the White House is sparing them for a month or two, and is promising American consumers that the government will stand behind warranties if the automakers fail…

Tells GM CEO To Head Home…

Filed under: Obama, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Beck He’s Mad, Apocalyptic, Tearful, and a Rising Star, NYT Says

PAPER: “You are not alone,” Glenn Beck likes to say. For the disaffected and aggrieved Americans of the Obama era, he could not have picked a better rallying cry…

Filed under: Media, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama in Monday’s FT Interview: World Needs to Promote ‘Unity’

PAPER: In comments that appear to diverge from recent remarks by Ms Merkel, who has all but ruled out more deficit spending in Germany, Mr Obama said: “With respect to the stimulus, there is going to be an accord that G20 countries will do what is necessary to promote trade and growth.”

He added: “The most important task for all of us is to deliver a strong message of unity in the face of crisis…”

Filed under: Media, Obama, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19,000 Credit Card Details Accessible by GOOGLE

PAPER: The credit card details of up to 19,000 British shoppers were published on the internet – where they could be found using a simple search on Google. The list, obtained by the Mail, includes the names, home addresses and full card details of thousands of Visa, Mastercard and American Express customers…

Filed under: Crime, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Financial Crisis ‘Caused by White People With Blue Eyes’

PAPER: In Brazil, Gordon Brown continued his pre-summit tour but there was embarrassment when his host, President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, said the financial crisis was caused by “white people with blue eyes”. He told a joint press conference with Mr Brown that he had never met a black banker…

Filed under: Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Zealand GDP Better Than Expected

New Zealand’s economy shrunk by -0.9% in the three months ending 2008 after economists had expected this south-Pacific country’s GDP to contract by more. The move marks the fourth straight quarter that the island-nation has seen its annual output decrease.

Since July the central bank has slashed interest rates by 5.25% to 3.0% in an effort to provide short-term liquidity to businesses and financial markets in order to stave off the effects of the global recession.

Now, in its fourth straight quarter of contraction, the New Zealand economy has shed thousands of job. In the final three months of 2008, their unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage points to 4.6%, the highest level since 2003. Their Treasury department predicts that it will get worse. They have forecast that by early 2010 the jobless rate may jump to an 11-year high of 7.2%.

Yesterday, the IMF released a report stating that New Zealand’s economy would contract a total of 2.0% in 2009 after 2008 experienced a slight 0.1% decrease. One key “vulnerability” that is likely to keep the country under water is the extensive amount of short-term borrowing from abroad, the IMF said.

This final period of the year saw the country’s currency depreciate by as much as -20.95%, but ended the quarter down only 10.15%.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Zealand Trade Balance Soars on 11.6% Decline in Imports

New Zealand’s trade balance in February improved substantially from that which was expected. The figure jumped to 489.0 million from an expected 75.0 million after imports fell 11.6%.

The alleviating news comes just a day after Bill English, the nation’s Minister of Finance, said that the current account gap is “uncomfortably large.”

Imports fell as the New Zealand Dollar continued to stifle the purchasing power that domestic residents had for goods produced abroad. The first two months of the year saw their currency depreciate 16.57% against its U.S. counterpart and 9.12% against a trade-weighted basket of currencies.

The amount of goods shipped to the country from Europe fell by a staggering 21.3% and 14% from Asia.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York Times Cuts 100 Workers as Costs Rise, Washington Post to Follow

WIRE: Two of the most respected U.S. newspaper publishers, The Washington Post Co and The New York Times Co, are embarking on new cost cuts in the face of dramatic declines in advertising revenue.

The Times said it laid off 100 workers and is cutting non-union salaries. It is also asking unionized employees to accept similar concessions to avoid layoffs in the newsroom…

Lawmakers Push for Newspaper Bailout…

Filed under: Media, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poll of Change: Obama’s Approval Slips Below 50%

POLL: Under our long-standing measure of job performance (excellent, good, fair, poor), Obama’s positive ratings have dipped just below 50%. Likely voters choosing excellent or good fell three points from another Zogby Interactive poll concluded on March 5, going from 52% to 49% excellent or good; while 11% said fair and 38% poor…

Filed under: Obama, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Economy Shrinks 6.3%, Worst Since 1982

WIRE: The U.S. economy shrank at a 6.3 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, the worst performance since 1982, in what may be the depths of the recession.

The contraction in gross domestic product was larger than the previously estimated 6.2 percent drop, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. A report from the Labor Department showed the number of people collecting jobless benefit this month climbed to a record 5.56 million…

Filed under: Economics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama Admin. Set to Propose Largest Expansion of Government Tomorrow

REGULATE

PAPER: The Obama administration’s plan, described by several sources, would extend federal regulation for the first time to all trading in financial derivatives and to companies including large hedge funds and major insurers such as American International Group. The administration also will seek to impose uniform standards on all large financial firms, including banks, an unprecedented step that would place significant limits on the scope and risk of their activities…

Filed under: Economics, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Zealand Economy Will Contract 2% in 2009, Says IMF

In a report filed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Washington-based body said that the New Zealand economy will contract by 2.0% this year. “The near-term outlook is weak,” they mentioned. “Households are constrained by high debt levels, falling house and equity prices and uncertain employment prospects,” they added.

The startling words come after Bill English, New Zealand’s Minister of Finance, said that the current account gap is “uncomfortable large”. Indeed, the actual figure for the current account balance in the final quarter of 2008 came in at -4.026, surprisingly better than in the three-month period prior. Despite what would look to be as a positive sign, the deficit-GDP ratio actually became weaker, coming in at -8.9% from -8.6% the period prior.

Claims of weakness in the country are legitimate. Now, in its fifth straight quarter of contraction, the New Zealand economy has shed thousands of job. In the final three months of 2008, their unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage points to 4.6%, the highest level since 2003. Their Treasury department predicts that it will get worse. They have forecast that by early 2010 the jobless rate may jump to an 11-year high of 7.2%.

One “key vulnerably” is the country’s substantial level of short-term financing from abroad. With the central bank slashing rates by 5.25% since July, foreigners have been continuously disincentivized to invest in these debts with maturities of less than one year. The IMF may have been too cautious here. Albeit this may seem to be a risk on an absolute basis, the fact that short-term rates abroad are much lower than those in New Zealand may actually direct a greater amount of these foreign cash flows towards this South-Pacific economy.

Now, since Mid-March the New Zealand Dollar has fallen by as much as 40.4% against it’s U.S. counterpart. Generally, such a bearish movle would lead investors in domestically denominated short-term debt to flock away in hysteria. But what if their was an expectation that the currency would begin to rise in value? Under such a case, one would expect exchange rate risk to be of less of concern.

We are seeing such a pattern now. From the low on Mar. 3rd, the currency has rebounded 17.95%. This may be due to the inflationary fears that the Federal Reserve, with its plan to buy $1.2 trillion in treasury and agency/mortgage securities, has sparked among global investors. During this time we have also seen gold rally 7.43% and crude (West Texas Intermediate) break out of a range bound environment and rally 37% to as much as $54.18.

Historically we have seen a strong correlation between the New Zealand currency and commodities. A 180-day rolling correlation with the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodities Index shows that these two instruments have a correlation of .9688, a very substantial relationship.

Thus, if inflationary fears are correct (which the commodities markets seem to believe) then the New Zealand Dollar is likely to continue rising. Hence short-term financing from abroad may actually increase and not decrease.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

House Democrats Slash $100 Billion from Obama’s $3.45 TRILLION Budget

PAPER: House budget leaders today unveiled a $3.45 trillion budget blueprint for fiscal 2010 that slices more than $100 billion from the spending plan President Obama proposed last month…

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

British Parliament Member to P.M. Brown ‘You Are the Devalued P.M. of a Devalued Gov.’ (Video)

britishparliament

Filed under: Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

European Union President Says Obama Stimulus is The ‘Road to Hell’

The head of the European Union slammed President Barack Obama’s plan to spend nearly $2 trillion to push the U.S. economy out of recession as “the road to hell” that EU governments must avoid.

The blunt comments by Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to the European Parliament on Wednesday highlighted simmering European differences with Washington ahead of a key summit next week on fixing the world economy…

eurpres

Filed under: Economics, Obama, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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