2016 Holiday Shopping Forecast

It’s time for the Barataria annual Holiday Shopping Report! As we’ve done every year, the best information from those who analyze and predict the season ahead is put into one place. It’s a bit later than usual this year due to severe bizziness on my part, but it’s coming in ahead of the dreaded Black Friday.

Ready for a huge Christmas buying season? So are most retailers. But there are some important caveats.

Continue reading

Dissin’ the Jobs Report

The September Jobs report finally came out after being delayed by the shutdown. Any way you look at it, a longer delay would have been better. According to the official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, the economy only added 148k jobs in September.

But there’s a lot more to it this time around lurking behind the scenes. The markets largely shrugged off the bad news and most of the reporting on the event was dismissive. It’s almost as though the anticipation was bigger than the event – like a disappointing Christmas (whoops! Can’t say that ‘round here!). Is it possible that financial reporting is starting to wake up?

Continue reading

Ready to Panic?

What does it take for international markets to panic?  With the debt ceiling due to be hit in a little more than a week, the short answer is that the “full faith and credit of the United States” is still worth quite a lot.   We’re only starting to see the first signs of a panic as an auction of 1-month TBills sold at a net rate of 0.355%.  If that doesn’t impress you, it’s worth noting that it was one third that a week ago.

Stocks started falling, too, with the DJIA losing just over a percent.

Allright, it’s not much.  Gold isn’t budging above $1330 or so per ounce and benchmark 10yr TBills are still comfy at 2.64%.  These are probably the best standards to watch for signs of panic as the stalemate goes nowhere.

Continue reading

How Good Will It Be?

The economy is indeed getting stronger – and is probably setting itself up for the best holiday season since the big downturn in six years.  That’s a strong statement to make five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 which set off the worst recession and second slowest recovery since the Great Depression.  But there is every reason to believe that 2013 is indeed going to be the year that everything turned around – and by mid 2014 we will have recovered all the jobs lost since the downturn started.

Continue reading