Monday, March 3, 2008

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Recession Times Roundup

Nouriel Roubini has an informative post titled 'The consensus is moving from the soft vs. hard landing debate towards how severe the hard landing will be.'

The Fed dropped rates today, but it will it be enough to prevent a recession?

Check out Economic Disconnect. Lots of information to digest. mmm, mmm good!

Monday, November 26, 2007

CitiGroup May Layoff 45,000 Employees

MarketWatch reported that "Citigroup shares fell more than 5% Monday, falling under $30 for the first time in five years after CNBC reported the firm could lay off up to 45,000 staffers. "

"The expected layoffs are the result of several billion dollars of mortgage losses at Citigroup.
The bank said Monday that it's in a planning process to become more efficient and cost effective as the financial-services giant grapples with billions of dollars in losses from the subprime mortgage-fueled credit crisis. "

"CNBC described the layoffs as "massive" and said they would not be restricted to the fixed income and mortgage divisions."

"In April, Citi set layoffs of 17,000 people, or about 5% of its more than 300,000 employees. "

The layoffs are probably just getting started in the financial sector. The official unemployment rate remains low but is expected to increase as layoffs continue in the financial and real estate related sectors.

Don't Look Now, Here Comes the Recession

Fortune Magazine reports that "The cash registers were ringing on Black Friday, but make no mistake: American consumers are jittery, and seem all but certain to push the U.S. economy into recession. "

"After years of living happily beyond their means, Americans are finally facing financial reality. A persistent rise in energy prices will mean bigger heating bills this winter and heftier tabs at the gas pump. Job growth is slowing and wage gains have been anemic. House prices are sliding, diminishing the value of the asset that's the biggest factor in Americans' personal wealth. Even the stock market, which has been resilient for so long in the face of eroding consumer sentiment, has begun pulling back amid signs of deep distress in the financial sector. "

"With consumer spending accounting for about three-quarters of U.S. economic activity, some economists say it is inevitable that the economy will stop growing at some point in the coming year, for the first time since the mild recession of 2001. "Right now, the question is how bad it's going to get," said David Rosenberg, chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. "The question is one of magnitude." "

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Strong Black Friday Sales, But a Shift Towards Cheaper Stores

From initial reports, the holiday season started off with strong sales, with a shift towards discount retailers.

The nation's retailers had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent. (AP 11/24/07)

The intial reports showed shoppers appeared more interested in bargains then in upsacle shopping.

With an uncertain economy, a slowdown in the housing market and high gas prices hanging over their heads, consumers flocked to discount chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, brandishing bargain-filled fliers.

In a reversal from years past, they largely bypassed more expensive retailers, including such powerhouses as Nordstrom, Coach and Abercrombie & Fitch, according to shoppers and merchants interviewed around the country (NYTimes 11/24/07).

Black Friday often sets the tone for the holiday shopping season. Perhaps, this holiday season's sales will be disappointing for retailers, as consumer cut back due to economic weaknesses.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Consumer spending makes up almost 70% of the US economy. A disproportionate amount of that spending occurs in the post Thanksgiving holiday season.

As US retailers prepare for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that marks the start of the Christmas season, festive cheer seems limited.

With US economic growth hit by the downturn in the housing market, and the knock-on credit crisis, recent data has shown a sharp fall in retail spending.

And as US consumers seem less willing or able to spend, most retail analysts expect this downturn to continue.

"The holiday season will be terrible," said economist Ian Shepherdson. (BBC News 11/23/07)

What will happen to consumer spending this Black Friday compared to last year? How will the holiday season stack up against last year? Will consumers cut back, due to economic problems (high gas, housing bust, etc), or will they callously shrug off the economic problems and spend?