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Stunned Icelanders Struggle - A parable for Americans?

Sunday, November 9, 2008, 9:15 AM

There is a world of difference between a tiny island nation of 300,000 souls and the world's largest economy and reserve currency.

But the precise conditions being experienced by Iceland right now are definitely within the realm of possibility for the US.  Therefore this next story is highly instructive as a possible, if remote, road map for the US and other overleveraged countries. » Read more


Jobs report shows 240,000 losses and more Fuzzy Numbers

Friday, November 7, 2008, 11:44 AM

The Dow Jones is up roughly 225 points on the news that 240,000 people lost their jobs in October.  This perverse sort of reaction defines how Wall Street works.  Wall Street cheers this sort of news, because it implies that another rate cut is on the way.

So the logic boils down to this: The worse the news, the greater the chance that the Fed will shower us with even more cheap money.

In a more perfect monetary system, good news would be rewarded and bad news would be punished but that is just not how Wall Street works.  Quite the opposite. » Read more


New Martenson Report Ready

Friday, November 7, 2008, 11:25 AM

LINK:  Post-Election Blues

In this new report, I discuss the stock market prediction I made in the last Martenson Report, explore how the aftermath of the recently-burst credit bubble could play out, examine the overwhelming signs of deflation, and update my recommendations. 

Note:  This report is for subscribers only.


Retail sales plunge in October

Thursday, November 6, 2008, 1:31 PM

At the local Old Navy store, in a big mall, a very strange thing was recently spotted... the floor space of the store has been cut in half, using fabric curtains hastily hung from the rafters.

When asked, the manager said, "We've downsized; this is how big the store is now."

Excuse me, but what?

What kind of a strategy is that?

All that saves is a small bit of inventory carrying cost and perhaps a couple of employees. But unless they renegotiated the lease rate, their fixed overhead burden just shot through the roof. 

Goodbye, profits.  Hello weird, unsettling shopping experience. » Read more


The looting operation (con't)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008, 9:13 PM

At the time, some thought that my characterization of the bailout as a "looting operation" was too strong, and told me so.

I am more certain of that language than ever. » Read more


GM's 'Time Is Very Short'

Wednesday, November 5, 2008, 3:04 PM

A friend of mine in the RV business, who has owned his own place for 35 years, says that his business has never dropped off as far or as fast as it has over the past 6 months. Manufacturers in his industry that have operated for more than 50 years are simply shutting down. 

Even as the nation focuses on an election and the "improving credit markets" the real economy is still spiraling downward at a fast rate.

The 45% "decline" in GM's sales are a stunning drop-off more consistent with the worst recession (depression?) in several generations than a simple "decline".

The collapse of GM is now an imminent possibility. » Read more


Election day rally and dollar dive

Tuesday, November 4, 2008, 5:26 PM

First, check out these headlines from the front page of the Bloomberg site yesterday.  Do these look like the stuff of big stock rallies?

But as noted in my most recent Martenson Report, my expectation was for a return of the Dow to the 9800-10000 level. » Read more


About the Ads

Monday, November 3, 2008, 8:28 PM

Sorry CA readers, we've tried to pull the political ads but they keep coming back. 

There's not much we can do about it because we can only block specific sources of ads and we have no way of knowing where these things are coming from before they arrive.

  1. They will end tomorrow
  2. We do not condone or encourage any particular ads.  They just show up.

Tough economic times (cars, factory output, and bankruptcies)

Monday, November 3, 2008, 4:49 PM

Even as the stock market grinds on through its bear market rally, the real economy continues to slide off its narrow shelf like a boneless chicken seeking someplace lower.

First, factory activity plunged to its lowest reading since 1982.  How significant is this?  Well, in 1982 we were in the depths of a very severe recession.  (This one hasn't even officially started, according to the NBER, who are squirming desperately to avoid proclaiming one right before an election). For factory activity to plunge like this at the outset of a recession speaks to a very deep economic hit in our near future.

Factory sector weakens sharply in October
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The nation's manufacturing firms reported the worst level of output in 26 years, further evidence that the economy is slumping sharply, according to a closely followed survey of top executives released Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management index fell to 38.9% from 43.5% in September, below the 41.5% expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. See Economic Calendar.

The result is the lowest reading since September 1982. The indexes for production and new orders fell to their lowest level in 28 years.

What do factories make?  You know, cars and things.  Perhaps these two news items belong together, then: » Read more


The other shoe to drop - consumer credit cards

Saturday, November 1, 2008, 6:05 PM

Even as the stock market stages a bear market rally, and the banks are showing some small signs of happiness with their newly-received trillions in public money, the signs from the real economy are pointing down, and hard.

Our most recent economic 'strength' was an illusion built on borrowing. Unfortunately, our preferred measure for our economy, GDP, counts borrowing-fueled "growth" as though it were real.

For example, if two people live next door to each other, and both earn $50k/year, but one of them borrows a million dollars and spends it all,  GDP would measure the borrower as having an economy 20x stronger than the other. » Read more