August 12, 2004


Retail Sales Rebound, Jobless Claims Fall (AP, 8/12/04)

Retail sales, which had taken a sharp plunge in June, rebounded by 0.7 percent last month while the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a five-week low in early August.

Economists saw both the rise in retail sales and a decline of 4,000 in the number of laid-off workers filing for jobless benefits, reported by the government Thursday, as hopeful signs the economy is rebounding from a worrisome pause in activity in the early summer.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 12, 2004 4:23 PM

I know H-T is predicting economic doom (see earlier post) and it may happen. But 2 things today made me more optimistic. First, in the elevator on the way home the tv screen noted that IBM was planning to hire 19K workers over the next year which seems like a good sign. 2nd, in a meeting with an invesment advisor the advisor flatly stated that oil was going to $60/barrel due to the raging war in the middle east and the fact (yes fact) that the earth was going to run out of oil in 15 years. No facts could dissuade this guy and if guys like him are bidding up the price of oil it will come down again soon.

Posted by: AWW at August 12, 2004 9:27 PM

Another thing - the market gets all juiced up by expectations. The retail sales number was a significant improvement over June but because the market "expected" more (1.1) the market sold off on the news. Similarly on Wednesday the market initially sold off because Cisco, which reported significantly better earnings than last year, was pounded because the better earnings weren't as good as "expected".

Posted by: AWW at August 12, 2004 9:29 PM

It's nice to be remembered. However, I'm just HT, not H-T. And not to be too curmudgeonly, but IBM was already planning to hire 10K people this year, so the increase to 19 was only +9K. And Cisco was hammered not on the expected earnings situation, but rather on Chambers' comments regarding business confidence and growth in the second half, which were distinctly more pessimistic than in his last update.

And understand...I own stock in both those companies, so I'm not just gleefully predicting doom here. This hurts like heck.

Posted by: HT at August 13, 2004 1:09 AM

Start basing your view of the economy on the vision of businessmen and you're in big trouble.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2004 7:42 AM

AWW, It sounds like good news is good news, and bad news is good news.

Who do you base your opinion of the economy on OJ, astrologers?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 13, 2004 10:21 PM


News is new. Shift every time you hear something new and you're lost.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2004 10:30 PM

The three execs. Carly Fiorina fired were all ex-Compaq. Nine months ago, she was the "it" girl because the merger was working so well. Today, minus 230 million later, it doesn't look so good. But IBM is sailing ahead and Cisco is getting pounded by Juniper. As we often hear, diversify.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 13, 2004 11:07 PM