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Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy December!

The Monday after Thanksgiving arrives with a hangover for investors, with commodities and stocks both pointing down. Is this just a pullback in a bigger bounce, or the start of another leg down? We'll see.

Here is some news (and a chart) that I found interesting ...

Doug Short overlays the four worst bear markets since the crash of 1932. This one is no picnic. In fact, the current bear market has now moved into first place for the deepest decline since the S&P Composite became the S&P 500 in 1957 ...
Modest start to US holiday shopping season
Reports from the U.S. showed modest gains in retail sales on Black Friday -- the traditional start of the American holiday shopping season -- but business appeared to fall off during the rest of the weekend, at least according to some accounts, and analysts said crowds were thinner than last year. Also, sales gains seemed to come at the expense of profits as companies slashed prices to lure shoppers.
According to preliminary figures released Saturday by ShopperTrak RCT, a research firm that tracks total retail sales at more than 50,000 outlets, sales rose 3 percent to $10.6 billion on Friday from the same day a year ago. A more complete sales picture of how the Thanksgiving shopping weekend fared won't be known until Thursday when the nation's retailers report November same-store sales, or sales at stores opened at least a year.
XX Sean's note -- I don't see how anyone can expect good sales considering the pressure the U.S. consumer is under this year.

They warned us: US was told to 'expect foreclosures, expect horror stories'
The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.

7 reasons NOT to trade in that gas guzzler
Even with gas prices falling every day, you may still be inclined to swap that Yukon for a Prius, but whether it's a good idea is far from a no-brainer.

OPEC Failure Foretells Steeper Decline 10 Years After $10 Oil
A decade after OPEC failed to prevent oil from collapsing to $10 a barrel, the world’s biggest producers are delaying the action needed to arrest the steepest slide in energy prices.

China Manufacturing Contracts by Record, Adds to Risk of Slump

China’s manufacturing contracted by the most on record, signaling the growing risk of a slump in the world’s fourth-biggest economy. The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a seasonally adjusted 38.8 in November from 44.6 in October, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today.
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