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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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NORTH KOREA LAUNCHES ROCKET

NORTH KOREA FIRES ROCKET

PASSED OVER THE JAPAN…

BOOSTER MECHANISM FALLS INTO SEA OF JAPAN…

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HUNDREDS OF PROTESTERS THROWN OUT OF IOWA PUBLIC HEARING (Audio)

“This is the most atrocious thing I’ve seen in the history of the 15 years I’ve been a lobbyist. Pat Murphy has acted like a jack-booted Nazi,” said Ed Failor Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief, a conservative taxpayers’ rights group from Muscatine with 50,000 members…

AUDIO…

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

REPORT: BONUSES TO CONGRESSIONAL AIDES JUMPED 17% IN 2008

PAPER: While Congress has been flaying companies for giving out bonuses while on the government dole, lawmakers have a longstanding tradition of rewarding their own employees with extra cash — also courtesy of taxpayers.

Capitol Hill bonuses in 2008 were among the highest in years, according to LegiStorm, an organization that tracks payroll data. The average House aide earned 17% more in the fourth quarter of the year, when the bonuses were paid, than in previous quarters, according to the data. That was the highest jump in the eight years LegiStorm has compiled payroll information…

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chris Matthews Says Palin Was McCain’s ‘Mail-Order Bride’

Filed under: Humor/Irony, Media, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

U.S. Admiral: North Korean Missile Could Reach Hawaii

WIRE: America’s top military officer said on Friday that a rocket North Korea plans to launch next month has a range that could possibly reach Hawaii. Asked if the North Korean rocket could reach the US states of Hawaii or Alaska, Admiral Mike Mullen told CNN: “In some cases, yes, they could probably get down to Hawaii…”


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

Japan to Activate Missile Defense if North Korea Fires, Orders ‘Destruction Order’

Japan’s Self Defense Forces plan to deploy Aegis destroyers off Japan and move PAC-3 missile units now stationed in 6 locations to northern Japan, over which a missile would likely pass…

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

OBAMA TO SEND ANOTHER 4,200 TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN

4,200

POLITICO WIRE: ANOTHER 4,200 “TRAINERS” AND CIVILIANS TO BE SENT…

PAPER: The Obama administration will unveil a new Afghanistan strategy Friday that calls for devoting significant new resources to counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan and economic development in Pakistan, according to senior U.S. officials. The White House plan will mark an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, which is quickly displacing Iraq as the administration’s chief national-security focus…

FLASHBACK: Obama’s 17,000 Troop Surge for Afghanistan…

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

People March for Cop-Killer Who Raped 12-Year-Old

PAPER: “OPD you can’t hide – we charge you with genocide,” chanted the demonstrators as they marched along MacArthur Boulevard, near the intersection with 74th Avenue where Mixon, 26, a fugitive parolee, gunned down two motorcycle officers who had pulled him over in a traffic stop. He killed two more officers who tried to capture him where he was hiding in his sister’s apartment nearby…

A ‘True Hero…’

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,