Friday, September 23, 2005

Dude, You're Getting a Recession.

Looks like the odds are starting to tilt towards recession rather than away. Not the way the stock market is behaving though. We'll see. Note that things were shifting before these storms - no surprise, given how long gas prices have been high-ish and rising.

Cash is king? You make the call..

WSJ: Leading Indicators Fell Last Month.

A closely watched indicator of future economic activity declined for the second consecutive month, suggesting that economic growth in the U.S. could slow somewhat in the months ahead, and jobless claims surged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Conference Board said yesterday that the index of leading economic indicators fell to 137.6 in August, down 0.2% from July. That followed a 0.1% decline in July from June. Although the declines in August and July were relatively small, they are significant.

The data for the index were collected before Katrina hit. So the declines reflect an erosion of consumer confidence even before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and parts of Mississippi. The declining confidence reflected high energy prices and consumers' feeling that the job market isn't as strong as it should be, said Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference Board, a private research group in New York.

Steven Wood at Insight Economics said the declines in the leading-indicators index "suggests that the pace of economic growth should gradually slow during the next three to six to nine months." Moreover, he added, "the effects of Hurricane Katrina are likely to push the leading indicators even lower for September because initial claims are soaring and consumer expectations have plunged during the month."