A BIT OF OPTIMISM AMONG CONSUMERS The initial November Thomson Reuters/University of Michiganconsumer sentiment survey was released Friday. The index rose to 69.3, surpassing the 69.0 forecast by economists polled by Reuters. (Last month’s final reading was 67.7.) On average, respondents expected inflation of 3.0% across the next 12 months, compared to 2.7% in last month’s survey. Will this public perception give retailers a signal to subtly raise prices?1,2
WILD WEEK FOR GOLD & OIL Oil futures hit a 25-month peak last week, and then fell $2.93 on Friday (and $1.97 on the week) to a Friday close of $84.88 per barrel on the NYMEX. Oil lost 2.27% last week for its worst week since mid-September. After cracking the $1,400 ceiling last week, gold fell $37.70 on Friday; it was down 2.28% on the week and settled at $1,365.40 per ounce Friday on the Comex.3,4
WHITE HOUSE EYES SAVINGS; USPS CALLS FOR HELP A White House deficit commission has proposed $200 billion in spending cuts by 2015 in order to reduce the federal shortfall. Some of the listed recommendations include saving $13.2 billion by cutting federal payrolls by 10%, saving $16.0 billion by doing away with all earmarks, and saving $9.2 billion by freezing noncombat military pay at 2011 levels until 2015. On Friday, the U.S. Postal Service claimed it would go broke by the end of 2011 without service cutbacks and postal rate increases, announcing an $8.5 billion loss for the latest fiscal year.5.6
EQUITIES STRUGGLE Two factors weighed heavily on stocks last week: anxieties about Chinaraising interest rates, and worries about the debt burdens of Ireland, Portugal, Greeceand Spain. So from November 8-12, the three major U.S.indices performed as follows: DJIA, -2.20% to 11,192.58; S&P 500, -2.17% to 1,199.21; NASDAQ, -2.36% to 2,518.21.2
COMING NEXT WEEK: Monday, we have reports on October retail sales and September business inventories. Tuesday, we have the October PPI and October industrial output. Wednesday, we get the October CPI data plus reports on October housing starts and building permits. Thursday, we have the latest data on initial and continuing claims and the October leading indicators from the Conference Board. No economic releases are scheduled for next Friday, but Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the ECB Central Banking Conference.
Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.
These returns do not include dividends.
“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
Take a look at your withholding – are you giving the IRS what amounts to an interest-free loan? If your federal refund was several hundred dollars or more, you may want to adjust your withholding to direct more funds toward reducing high-interest debts, rather than allowing them to earn 0% interest while you wait for your refund.
It can be as round as a dishpan, as deep as a tub, and still the oceans couldn’t fill it up. What is it?
Last week’s riddle: What 11-letter word must always be spelled incorrectly?
Last week’s answer:
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A degreed engineer (in a past life) business owner, business development coach, project manger, and organizational strategist with a strong background in surveillance, ES&H redesign, project management, process engineering, organizational operations, management, business law, and ISO internal auditing. Am an organzing member of NSBE-AE, Organizing Board member Greenwood Festival Chorale, former Omega Psi Phi Graduate Chapter President (Baselius) a former Shelter BOD Chair, a former Regional Chair, former Lander Board of Visitors Member, former Chamber BOD member, as well as many other organizational leadership positions. Owner Spearman Enterprises and Managing Partner Top Flight LLC.