Tag Archive

Low Consumer Confidence: A Nice Contrarian Indicator

By John S. Tobey

Throughout the summer, we’ve heard about declining consumer confidence (AKA, sentiment). The conclusion typically drawn is that low consumer confidence now likely means low consumer spending ahead. Until recently, warnings have been sounded about weak winter holiday sales. Now, however, consumer confidence readings are creeping back, and retail sales are actually looking good. How... »

Why Employment Could Get a Boost

By John S. Tobey

Much has been made about the latest jobs report. Does that report set the stage for a lackluster 2011? No. In fact, the forecast looks good – perhaps even rosy. »

Consumer Sentiment: Leading Indicator or Reflection of Today’s News?

By John S. Tobey

Consumer sentiment and confidence surveys make the headlines and influence the stock market (for the day, at least). The thought is that people’s feelings influence their spending. And with consumer spending making up a large part of the economy… The question is are those feelings prescient and stable – a leading indicator that can... »

Homebuilders Buying Land Again – House Price Patterns Support the New Activity

By John S. Tobey

In The Wall Street Journal, there was a surprise article describing homebuilders beginning to compete for property: “Land Prices Jump as Home Builders Move In” (By Dawn Wotapka, April 21, page A-5). We have been seeing improvements in many areas of the housing markets (I have covered these indicators in Housing and Homebuilding articles). ... »

These Three Economic Gauges Read “OK”

By John S. Tobey

Investors, analysts and pundits can look at the same economic measures and come away with opposing views as to the economy’s health and future. The economy’s “trees” can range from vibrant to blighted, allowing differing economic “forest” diagnoses. As a result, we see predictions of economic normalcy and growth side-by-side with reversal and collapse.... »

How To Read the Financial Press – Warning! You Might Get Bullish

By John S. Tobey

Most media reports have a slant – not to sway the reader, but to combine pieces of information into a sensible composite. High quality publications, to prevent biased reports, require that a reporter include all relevant information gathered. Today’s news reports are filled with positive information not reflected by the articles’ downbeat headlines. Here’s... »

Consumer Spending Indicators Coming – Still Improving?

By John S. Tobey

As we hear frequently, consumer spending is key because it is about two-thirds of the economy. The main question has been how long consumer spending will be weak. The worry is that today’s reduced level is the new normal. This fear is seemingly reinforced by surveys in which the pointed question is asked: “Are... »

Friday’s Unemployment Number Approaches – Time To Regain Perspective

By John S. Tobey

Here it comes: the unemployment number. Last reported at 10.2%, The Wall Street Journal says we must “brace” for the coming Friday morning report. So, let’s prepare by looking at the leading indicators of employment to get a proper perspective… »


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July 2024