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    Consumer Discretionary Indicators Point to Slowdown

    U.S. GDP was revised higher in the third quarter to 2.7 percent from an initial estimate of 2.0 percent. While the headline number appears positive on the surface, the strong increase was driven in large part by a near doubling in the level of private inventories. Increased inventory stockpiling in this case is probably a function of unwanted merchandise as consumer stress mounts. To [...]

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    Black Friday Unlikey to Provide Boost for Battered Retailers

    Guest Commentary by Kristin Bentz, PMG Venture Group With the U.S. elections over, investor focus, when not trained on the so-called fiscal cliff, is now beginning to turn toward the approaching holiday shopping season. The Friday after Thanksgiving, known as ‘Black Friday,’ is perceived by many to be busiest and most important shopping day of the year. It is not well understood by [...]

    Big Picture: China’s Fiscal Expansion Unlikely to Spur Equities

    China’s goal of doubling per capita income by 2020 — which was discussed at the 18th Communist Party Congress that concluded yesterday — is likely to help place the country on the right track to sustainable growth. Still, the reform agenda will take years to implement, and change is not guaranteed. In the near term, a fiscal-led turnaround in fourth-quarter GDP growth is [...]

    Big Picture: Retail Sales to Provide First Glimpse of Hurricane’s Impact

    This morning’s October retail sales report will be the first leading monthly data series to reflect the impact of Hurricane Sandy. The report will probably document a transitory shift in the composition of demand away from household discretionary items toward consumer staples and building materials. Due to some homeowners’ lack of flood insurance and the slow nature of the rebuilding process after Hurricane [...]

    Big Picture: Business, Consumer Confidence Diverge Over Fiscal Cliff

    Economists polled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia forecast U.S. economic activity to cool to 2.0 percent in 2013 from an anticipated 2.2 percent increase in 2012. This is a pace traditionally associated with an economy teetering on the brink of recession. The Bank’s latest survey of professional forecasters shows monthly nonfarm payroll growth expectations are for 155,600 in 2012 and [...]

    Big Picture: U.S. Economics Preview: Policy Negotiations to Set Tone

    With the election past, investors and policy makers are now focused on the possible fiscal shock set to take place in early 2013 due to scheduled legislative changes. While the near-term risks to the U.S. economic outlook are generally well understood by investors, they are difficult to disentangle from the longer-term growth picture due to an unsustainable fiscal path and debt dynamics that will probably drive the outcome of policy [...]

    Post-Election Economy Video Event

    Join Rich Yamarone from Bloomberg Briefs and other prominent economists Tuesday Nov 20th at 2pm EST. For more details click here 

    ECB Rate Cut on Agenda as Draghi Abandons Recovery Talk

    ECB President Mario Draghi abandoned talk of a recovery for the euro-area economy and hinted a debate about a rate reduction has been reignited. That move may materialize as soon as January. Draghi switched from talking about “economic growth” to “economic activity” in the second paragraph of the introductory statement of the monthly press conference. Yesterday, he said: “Economic [...]

    Low-Wage Hiring Bias

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