Posts Tagged ‘real economy’

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

Courtesy of Robert Reich, of Robert Reich’s Blog

Mature businessman dancing along street with briefcase and umbrella

In September 2008, as the worst of the financial crisis engulfed Wall Street, George W. Bush issued a warning: "This sucker could go down." Around the same time, as Congress hashed out a bailout bill, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the leading Republican negotiator of the bill, warned that "if we do not do this, the trauma, the chaos and the disruption to everyday Americans’ lives will be overwhelming, and that’s a price we can’t afford to risk paying."

In less than a year, Wall Street was back. The five largest remaining banks are today larger, their executives and traders richer, their strategies of placing large bets with other people’s money no less bold than before the meltdown. The possibility of new regulations emanating from Congress has barely inhibited the Street’s exuberance.

But if Wall Street is back on top, the everyday lives of large numbers of Americans continue to be subject to overwhelming trauma, chaos and disruption.

View of town's main street with mountains in the distance

It is commonplace among policymakers to fervently and sincerely believe that Wall Street’s financial health is not only a precondition for a prosperous real economy but that when the former thrives, the latter will necessarily follow. Few fictions of modern economic life are more assiduously defended than the central importance of the Street to the well-being of the rest of us, as has been proved in 2009.

Inhabitants of the real economy are dependent on the financial economy to borrow money. But their overwhelming reliance on Wall Street is a relatively recent phenomenon. Back when middle-class Americans earned enough to be able to save more of their incomes, they borrowed from one another, largely through local and regional banks. Small businesses also did.

It’s easy to understand economic policymakers being seduced by the great flows of wealth created among Wall Streeters, from whom they invariably seek advice. One of the basic assumptions of capitalism is that anyone paid huge sums of money must be very smart.

But if 2009 has proved anything, it’s that the bailout of Wall Street didn’t trickle down to Main Street. Mortgage delinquencies continue to rise. Small businesses can’t get credit. And people everywhere, it seems, are worried about losing their…
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YRCW: NO SUSTAINED ECONOMIC RECOVERY

YRCW: NO SUSTAINED ECONOMIC RECOVERY

YRCWCourtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

YRC WorldWide is tanking over 50% on bankruptcy speculation.  The large trucking company has been entangled in brutal labor renegotiation’s and is at the heart of the economic downturn with their highly economically sensitive transport based business.

On Friday the company reported a $158.7MM loss which was followed up by a debt exchange announcement this morning.  Investors are growing increasingly concerned that the announcement could result in an eventual Chapter 11 filing.  Although the company is having cost difficulties (primarily labor related) the weakness at the company is primarily economically related.  On the conference call CEO Bill Zollars detailed the economic struggles which we continue to see across the entire real economy.  His comments would be most unwelcome to anyone who has bought into the recent stock market surge which is now not only very expensive, but pricing in very optimistic economic and earnings growth in 2010:

“The operating environment remains very challenging as we continue to face a difficult economy that appears to have stabilized, but is not showing any signs of sustained positive momentum.  We remain cautiously optimistic that the economy has bottomed out, but it remains too early to know for sure.  We’re not anticipating any growth in the economy for the remainder of this year and at least for the first half of next year.”

I think it’s safe to say that the stimulus based recovery is almost entirely non-organic.  Without further aid from the government and the Federal Reserve this liquidity driven market is likely staring at a very difficult road ahead, if not the dreaded double dip.

 


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How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

Here’s an excellent, must-read article by William K. Black.  Special thanks to New Deal 2.0. - Ilene

How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

By Bill Black, Courtesy of New Deal 2.0

money-shark-150 - preditor stateRoosevelt Institute Braintruster William K. Black explains how the finance economy preys on the real economy instead of serving it. He shows how both have become dysfunctional and warns that we must not neglect the real economy — the source of our jobs, our incomes, and the creator of goods and services — as we focus on financial reform.

What exactly is the function of the financial sector in our society? Simply this: Its sole function is supplying capital efficiently to aid the real economy. The financial sector is a tool to help those that make real tools, not an end in itself. But five fatal flaws in the financial sector’s current structure have created a monster that drains the real economy, promotes fraud and corruption, threatens democracy, and causes recurrent, intensifying crises.

1. The financial sector harms the real economy.

Even when not in crisis, the financial sector harms the real economy. First, it is vastly too large. The finance sector is an intermediary — essentially a “middleman”. Like all middlemen, it should be as small as possible, while still being capable of accomplishing its mission. Otherwise it is inherently parasitical. Unfortunately, it is now vastly larger than necessary, dwarfing the real economy it is supposed to serve. Forty years ago, our real economy grew better with a financial sector that received one-twentieth as large a percentage of total profits (2%) than does the current financial sector (40%). The minimum measure of how much damage the bloated, grossly over-compensated finance sector causes to the real economy is this massive increase in the share of total national income wasted through the finance sector’s parasitism.

Second, the finance sector is worse than parasitic. In the title of his recent book, The Predator State, James Galbraith aptly names the problem. The financial sector functions as the sharp canines that the predator state uses to rend the nation. In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation. The facts are alarming:

• Corporate stock repurchases…
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THE RECESSION IN RAIL TRAFFIC CONTINUES….

THE RECESSION IN RAIL TRAFFIC CONTINUES….

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

The recession in railroads continues unabated.  This is likely the surest proof we have that Ben is simply reflating the bubble while the real economy continues to flounder.  Carloadings were down 17.2% year over year and intermodal traffic declined 15.7%.   On the positive side, it’s quite clear that rail traffic has stabilized and doesn’t continue to decline, however, the robust recovery that equities and other markets have priced in is completely non-existent in the rail data.  The weakness was broad across all segments of the economy.  The weakness was particularly apparent in metals and forest which could be a sign that the recent weakness in housing and lumber prices is a trend:

rails2

The AAR reports:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 8, 2009 — The Association of American Railroads today reported that for the week ended Oct. 3, 2009, rail traffic continues to reflect the down economy – originating 277,734 carloads, down 17.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. All of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from the same week last year, with declines ranging from 2.7 percent for chemicals to 53.2 percent for metallic ores.

Intermodal traffic of 206,293 trailers or containers on U.S. railroads was down 15.7 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 10 percent and trailer volume dropped 37 percent.

Regionally, carloads were down 16.4 percent in the West and 18.3 percent in the East. For the first 39 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,381,905 carloads, down 18.1 percent from 2008; 7,347,299 trailers or containers, down 16.8 percent, and total volume of an estimated 1.11 trillion ton-miles, down 17.3 percent. Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending October 3 was estimated at 29.7 billion ton-miles, off 16.6 percent from the same week last year.

rails1

Source: Railfax, AAR

 


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Phil's Favorites

Three reasons it's not 1929

 

Three reasons it’s not 1929

Courtesy of 

I could be wrong, but let me point out three things that I think about when I hear Great Depression analogies being made to the current crisis.

The first thing I think about is that the financial markets of the 1930’s were prehistoric. Yes, the Federal Reserve was in existence, but it was nowhere near as powerful and it hadn’t had any institutional memory (or history) to draw on. Its basic structure was patterned on the still-nascent central banks of various European countries thanks to the listening tour Senator Nelson Aldrich and others had made across the Continent. Fun fact: the US Sen...



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Biotech/COVID-19

5 reasons the coronavirus hit Italy so hard

 

5 reasons the coronavirus hit Italy so hard

A nursing home resident in Rome is moved to a hospital. Mauro Scrobogna/LaPresse via AP

Sara Belligoni, University of Central Florida

Italy is one of the nations worst hit by the global coronavirus pandemic. As a scholar in the field of security and emergency management who has studied and worked in Italy, I have determined that there are at least five major reasons why the country is suffering so much.

1. Lots of old people

Italians have the ...



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Zero Hedge

"What Is Really Essential"? In The US Golf And Guns, In France Wine And Pastries

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Among countless other unprecedented changes and transformation, the coronavirus pandemic has unveiled an odd divergence within global cultures: the definition of what's deemed "essential" for people across the world, and what things we really can't do without, even though we might not need most of them for survival.

As AP reports, in its attempt to slow the spread of the virus, authorities in many places are determining what shops and services can remain open. They'...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Tech Testing 9-Year Support, With Fear Levels At 2009 Highs!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is an important Tech Index sending a bullish message to investors? It is making an attempt!

Does that mean a low in this important sector is in play? Humbly it is too soon to say at this time!

This chart looks at the Nasdaq Composite Index over the past 25-years on a monthly basis.

The index has spent the majority of the past 9-years inside of rising channel (1), as it has created a series of higher lows and higher highs. It created bearish reversal patterns in January & February as it was kissing the underside of the top of the channel and...



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Insider Scoop

With Everybody Stuck At Home, Investor Conferences Are Going Virtual

Courtesy of Benzinga

With the world at a COVID-19-induced standstill, many conference organizers have either gone online (Benzinga is one of them) or had to cancel upcoming events altogether. There is no clear timetable on how much longer we will be in this state.

Publicly traded companies are already limited in wh...



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Members' Corner

10 ways to spot online misinformation

 

10 ways to spot online misinformation

When you share information online, do it responsibly. Sitthiphong/Getty Images

Courtesy of H. Colleen Sinclair, Mississippi State University

Propagandists are already working to sow disinformation and social discord in the run-up to the November elections.

Many of their efforts have focused on social media, where people’s limited attention spans push them to ...



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Digital Currencies

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

 

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

Get used to it. Anastasiia Bakai

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

Anyone holding bitcoin would have watched the market with alarm in recent weeks. The virtual currency, whose price other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin largely follow, plummeted from more than US$10,000 (£8,206) in mid-February to briefly below US$4,000 on March 13. Despite recovering to the mid-US$6,000s at the time of writin...



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The Technical Traders

These Index Charts Will Calm You Down

Courtesy of Technical Traders

I put together this video that will calm you down, because knowing where are within the stock market cycles, and the economy makes all the difference.

This is the worst time to be starting a business that’s for sure. I have talked about this is past videos and events I attended that bear markets are fantastic opportunities if you can retain your capital until late in the bear market cycle. If you can do this, you will find countless opportunities to invest money. From buying businesses, franchises, real estate, equipment, and stocks at a considerable discount that would make today’s prices look ridiculous (which they are).

Take a quick watch of this video because it shows you ...



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Chart School

Cycle Trading - Funny when it comes due

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Non believers of cycles become fast believers when the heat of the moment is upon them.

Just has we have birthdays, so does the market, regular cycles of time and price. The market news of the cycle turn may change each time, but the time is regular. Markets are not a random walk.


Success comes from strategy and the execution of a plan.















Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch an...

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ValueWalk

Entrepreneurial activity and business ownership on the rise

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Indicating strong health of entrepreneurship, both entrepreneurial activity and established business ownership in the United States have trended upwards over the past 19 years, according to the 2019/2020 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report, released March 3rd in Miami at the GEM Annual Meeting.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The Benefit Of Entrepreneurial Activity ...

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Promotions

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TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.