Before we take a look at the Retail Sales data, let’s step back and see if we can explain why we even track this data. We want to know:

-What the consumer is doing with their money;

-How comfortable people are with their current economic situation;

-What potential jobs are being created;

-What sort of tax revenue will be coming into the government’s coffers;

-What the corporate profit picture will look like.

I bring these elements up because there is a tendency to read the headline, get all excited, and draw the wrong conclusion.

Monthly Retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.6% — the best since January 2009. Year-over-year, retail sales were down 9%.

As always, there was a little hair on the data: Sales data was inflated by rising gasoline prices (+5.0%), plus an auto sales bounce from record low levels. Note that Retail sales are seasonally but not inflation adjusted.

-Ex-Autos, (+2.3%), sales grew 0.3%.
-Ex-Gasoline, sales gained 0.3%.

Back out both autos and gas, and sales in June fell 0.2% — the fourth straight monthly decline.


via Barron’s Econoday

via Calculated Risk


Retail sales score best gain in five months, U.S. data show
Greg Robb
MarketWatch, July 14 2009

U.S. Producer Prices Rose in June as Gasoline Surged
Bob Willis
Bloomberg, July 14 2009

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

111 Responses to “Retail Sales Still Stink”

  1. Steve Barry says:

    A proper headline should read:

    Retail Sales Down 9% Y/Y: No Rebound In Sight Yet

    Sub Headline:

    Expect More Small Businesses To Shut Their Doors

  2. Steve Barry says:

    My proper headline is in contrast to the MSM headline of “Retail sales score best gain in 5 months”…not Barry’s headline

  3. cvienne says:

    Re: Auto sales

    I predicted that we’d see a temporary jump in auto sales due to:

    - Bargains galore after the GM/Chrysler fallout
    - Cash for clunkers concept
    - “Green Shoots” (concept was still alive before June)

    I think what is worrysome going forward is that whatever car the Average American may buy now may be the last car they buy for MANY YEARS…That’s the mentality that’s seeped in…It’s not, OK I’ll buy this brand new Lexus & drive it around for two years & trade it in…Instead, it’s “get me something reliable” that I can hang onto for awhile & ride this thing out…

  4. franklin411 says:

    Anecdotal, but I’m actually on the fone with Dell trying to get a receipt for an item I recently bought. They have an automated message playing: “Due to unforeseen supply constraints, we are currently having issues…”

  5. ben22 says:

    interesting day so far to open up with all the recently beaten down sectors leading the way.

    consumer cyclical, materials, energy

  6. Dogfish says:

    Franklin, the supply constraints could just as well be due to manufacturing or shipping difficulties than the increased demand that your anecdote implies.

  7. Mannwich says:

    @f411: Anecdotal, but I was recently at one of the most popular bars/restaurants in the Twin Cities and talked to a waiter there about how they’re doing. He said that business was definitely down but that relative to other places they were doing OK. A couple things stood about my visit to the place – on the roofdeck it’s usually impossible to get a seat without waiting a long time at Happy Hour but on this gorgeous evening we strolled right in and grabbed a big table without waiting at all. Tables on the sidewalk were half empty too. This was a Friday evening too. The other thing was that the waiter said usually around this time his fellow waitstaff professionals are talking about what vacations they’re planning but this year they’re all just hanging on to pay their rent. He said that many people, including maybe himself, can’t hang on much longer if this economy continues in its funk.

    But, hey, Goldman recorded record profits. They’re doing well, so everyone else must be, right? Welcome to the new Predator Parasite Economy. Having fun yet?

  8. ben22 says:


    The most recent RIC report from ML claims…

    The recession is over

  9. Mannwich says:

    @ben22: Do they mean the recession is over for Goldman and Wall Street? If so, then I say that’s a pretty damn accurate report.

  10. cvienne says:


    “The recession is over”

    …and to celebrate, everyone, (starting with the bar/restaurant patrons in the TC area) must have gone out and bought a DELL…

    That explains EVERYTHING!

  11. Thor says:

    Franklin – I just got off the phone with our Dell rep. I place several orders with Dell every week and have had no issues with either delivery or supply. I’m not sure what point you were trying to make with your comment.

  12. cvienne says:


    I always took you to be an APPLE guy…

  13. ben22 says:


    that might be more accurate but no, that’s not what the report reads. Keep in mind that ML’s stock implementation guide for reps in 2007 recommended several financials one being Countrywide Financial. I wish I had kept the paper but had you followed that advice from that summer and held the stocks they advised for a year you would have really been hurt. Since then they haven’t been much better and lets not forget they lost DR which obviously was the loss of a major asset.

  14. Mike in Nola says:


    Dell’s gloomy forecast was largely ignored in the euphoria. Take a looky here:

    Something possibly ominous here, although it has no explanation:
    Dell Reviewing Alternative Sources of Capital, CFO Says

    As David Rosenberg pointed out this morning, notwithstanding GS, the companies beating earnings estimates have largely been doing so by ruthless cost cutting, not exactly a way to elarge your business. Dell has been know for running a tight with its supply chain. The most likeyl explanation is that it is keeping as small an amount of components in stock as possible. This means it takes longer to deliver and the message is just to reduce expections. In my experience Dell has been smart enough to underpromise on delivery times so when you get the box in 5 days instead of 10, you get the upside surprise just like you do with stock analysts. This leaves an impression of good service.

    My anecdotal evidence: needed a tie or two in case I ever get some work. Went to the men’s suits dept. of Macy’s in the Houston Galleria. While paying for it, noticed the salesman looking at the other salesman and they looked around. I looked around: no one in the men’s dept as far as we could see at 11am on a Sat. morning. It’s not like anyone was out playing golf or picnicing; temp was already over 90. I knew the salesman from previous business and he said sales were not too good. Also mentioned his brother who lost his job in TV production a few months ago and is getting buy on some temporary work.

  15. SmokeandMirrors says:

    Consider the drop in light of the fact that last year at this time gas was over 4 dollars a gallon so the consumer was already quite strained in terms of disposable income. Now that gas prices have come down a great deal one year later the consumer is not spending this extra disposable income. This economy has a long way to go.

  16. E says:

    Anecdotally, no one in the business side of my company is willing to sponsor an IT project of any kind, even ones with wildly high ROI.

  17. ben22 says:


    Macy’s always looks like that, at least where I’m at, and everything is tax free in DE. The whole store always seems to be 50-70% off and they sell the mid range clothes, some lower to mid range Calvin or Ralph suits, Coach bags, etc and given that coupled with the size of each Macy’s store as disposable income gets pinched further I’m not seeing a real bright couple of years for M.

    I guess you’d say I’m skeptical that the stock more than doubled from the March low. Over a month ago when the stock was trading up in or close to the 12′s I talked about shorting it but never did anything with that idea. Would have made money.

  18. Mike in Nola says:

    Explantion on the Dell capital story was just posted. The credit crunch is hitting there too, just like with CIT. Dell does a lot of financing of business computers. Never looked, but my suspicion has been that pricing has been so cutthroat lately that it has made more on the financing than the computers. May be having trouble selling receivables.

    Dell Is Reviewing Alternative Sources of Capital

    If it can’t finance, it can’t do business.

  19. Thor says:

    Speaking of retail sales – I’ve gone shopping at a large outlet mall near Palm Springs twice over the last month and a half. Couple of things I noticed, first, that there weren’t all that many people there, both times I was there on a Saturday. I asked many of the sales people in various shops how business was and the consensus seemed to be that there were less than half the people shopping than normal. Prices at outlet stores are always pretty cheap but I couldn’t believe how far prices had fallen. This last weekend it seemed as though everyone was having a buy one get one free sale, this was on top of already steep discounts.

    One thing I noticed that I thought was interesting, were all the Chinese people. – Most of the signs and directions were in English, Spanish, and Chinese. I asked one of the sales ladies about this and she said that a lot of the customers over the last two years have been Chinese and that when the shop, they buy a lot. I thought it was ironic that Chinese people would fly all the way to CA to go shopping for clothing that is mostly made in China.

  20. JohnnyVee says:


    I have had the same experience as you described about restaurants—both, in the high end as well as the local pizza parlor. Also, I noticed that in the local bars that the owners, both husband and wife, are working full time with the regular employees nowhere to be seen. Gas is falling before the end of summer…Christmas discounting will probably start tomorrow. I think we are going to see another big leg down in the economy, if not the markets, by the end of the 3rd quarter when the realization is that a bad Christmas is going to put more retail in BK. The desperation with politicians will be palatable.

  21. Andy T says:

    I’ve been pondering the last several weeks….”What might bring about the final leg down?”

    And, I’ve come to the conclusion that it might be simply this: People have changed their buying habits, and it’s quite likely a permanent change.

    It only takes 28 days to kill a bad habit.

    Once you start “packing a lunch” instead of hitting the local corner dive, and once you start going out to eat only once or twice a month, instead of twice a week, and once you realize that the TV you have works pretty darn well and there’s no need for a new one, once you start to realize what you can easily go without….those changes can become lasting….

  22. Andy T says:

    JohnnyVee Says:
    July 14th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    “Also, I noticed that in the local bars that the owners, both husband and wife, are working full time with the regular employees nowhere to be seen. ”

    That’s the signal of bar about to go out of business….that’s always the last step a bar/restaurant owner takes before the biz takes the dirt nap. So, enjoy it now….

  23. Thor says:

    AndyT – “And, I’ve come to the conclusion that it might be simply this: People have changed their buying habits, and it’s quite likely a permanent change.”

    I would agree, but I think we’ll have to have the tough times last a bit longer for the change to be permanent. I think the average consumer’s attention span and memory is too short.

  24. Mannwich says:

    @AT: I think you’re right. This is now the new “normal”. I believe ahab mentioned this before – what if this is as good as it gets fora while? I really think that could be the case, which, if true, will crush a lot of people.

  25. M in N,

    nice work~ also, Bingo!~

  26. Mike in Nola says:

    I agree with your description of Macy’s business model.

    The emptiness Sat. was also apparent at Dillard’s which is across the street from the Galleria and probably saves a lot of rent. It generally seems to have higher priced merchandise, so I don’t shop there much. It doesn’t seem to be discounting much, but doesn’t matter; no customers there either. Walked through the men’s dept and saw a few ties on sale. Found a couple that weren’t bad; turned out to be $70 each. Needless to say, didn’t look further.

  27. hopeImwrong says:

    For gold bulls, I would say that, unfortunately, the gold market is suffering a fate similar to the stock market. It’s more and more a paper market based on the casino mentality and the greater fool theory. It is more and more subject to “potential manipulation” due to the paper nature of the market.

  28. hopeImwrong says:

    I don’t subscribe to the grand conspiracy theories about the gold market, but with all the paper proxies out there for gold, the physical market is not the only thing determining the price. I think the physical market is less and less important all the time. Gold is now a casino market run by the big boys. The gold market may become and may stay irrational for a very long time.

  29. hopeImwrong says:

    test (posts being eaten by the system)

  30. also, re: “New Normal”, take peak GDP=x, and start thinking .6x ..

    you’ll get closer to coming *Reality, than most..

  31. cvienne says:

    Have no fear…Brian Westbury is here…

    Why We Expect 4% GDP Growth
    Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein, 07.14.09, 12:01 AM EDT

  32. Thor says:

    Mike – “but my suspicion has been that pricing has been so cutthroat lately that it has made more on the financing than the computers. ”

    That got me to check on the price we’ve been paying for Dell products over the last year and a half (I do our IT purchasing too).

    You’re right on pricing. Below are the discounts we got from Dell with an order for 5 laptops – the first number was from an order I placed yesterday. The one below that was from June of 08.

    July 09
    -DISCOUNT $2,728.50
    -DISCOUNT $299.99
    -DISCOUNT $472.50

    July 08
    -DISCOUNT $432.00
    -DISCOUNT $66.01

  33. Andy T says:

    “Have no fear…Brian Westbury is here…
    Why We Expect 4% GDP Growth”

    Brian Westbury still has a job? There are many economists who got it wrong but Westbury’s arguments from 1/H 2008 about “there is no recession” were some of the most appallingly bad calls I’ve ever seen on television….I think I last heard muttering something about “well, he mistake of letting Lehman fail….”

    Any economist who attempts to reconcile his horrible calls because some shitty i-bank was actually allowed to fail should be muted permanently. At least just man up and admit you were wrong….

  34. watmough says:


    I believe Dell has $1 – $3 billion line of credit with CIT. That might explain the somewhat cryptic looking for alternative financing.

    It never rains but it pours!

  35. cvienne says:


    “They have an automated message playing: “Due to unforeseen supply constraints, we are currently having issues…”

    The SUPPLY CONSTRAINTS are actual employees to man the phone lines…They had to fire everyone due to poor sales…

  36. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Andy T

    That’s what I think every time I hear something about Wesbury. Maybe the sign of the new bull market is when that idiot finally can’t get a job in the investment community. Those guys are delusional. I’m sure they just think they’re being really savvy contrarians at the point. Even though his record is abysmal, as you’ve pointed out.


  37. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Re: Dell and supposed supply constraints. Don’t you know an excuse for poor customer service when you hear one? It’s typical, blaming some external factor for your business failings. With that said, it’s a tough business environment now to say the least, so I don’t really want to be too tough on them.

  38. Mike in Nola says:


    All those coupons are a way of hiding price cuts and deflation. Seeing more of it around. A few days ago, we got a set of coupons from various merchants in Rice Village in Houston. It’s in an upper middle class shopping/restaurant area where you generally can’t park except early in the morning.

  39. franklin411 says:

    I received my product lightning-fast, so I’m only relating my telephone experience. I can’t even tell you what division I heard the message on–I called the Home division main line, was transferred to Home Customer Service, and then was transferred to Small Business CS. I think it was from Home CS.

    We’ll see what happens–anecdotal stories are just fragments. However, Windows 7 does seem to be a fair upgrade from XP (unlike Vista!), so I’m taking the plunge and will be upgrading my systems to take advantage of the current pricing environment. New processor/mobo, power supply, memory, video card, hard drives, and a nice big fat 28″ display. Perhaps others are doing the same.

  40. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Mike in NOLA

    Indeed so many businesses and industries have made more money over the last decade in the financing of the purchases of their goods rather than on the goods themselves. Autos, computers, electronics, etc. I remember hearing a couple of years ago that that was the case for Sears. I’m sure it was the case across our great economy. TIC

    It was a great business model while it lasted! Until it wasn’t.

  41. Mike in Nola says:

    Completely off-topic post. And the state with the largest number of porn subscriptions per broadband connection is:

  42. cvienne says:


    “New processor/mobo, power supply, memory, video card, hard drives, and a nice big fat 28″ display. Perhaps others are doing the same.”

    On the other hand, “others” may be telling their 17 year old teenage daughter that they have to cut back a little so she won’t be getting that pair of A&F jeans to stuff her “nice big fat” ass in…

  43. leftback says:

    Wesbury = EconoTool.

    @f411: You seem like a bright guy. I’m surprised you would buy a bloated, inefficient and hopelessly easy to hack OS like Windows from a horrendous monopolist to run on a machine made by a company that is soon to be a Dead Stock Walking.

    MSFT, DELL, as well as SBUX are all on my list of evil companies I will not do business with.

  44. franklin411 says:

    Girls with big fat @sses don’t shop at A&F.

    Great link! It’s hilarious that the top states for porn subs are also the reddest of the red states–places where people believe in “God, guns and gold!” I guess you can’t pray lust away, can you?

  45. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Re: the quote of the day (upper right corner for those who aren’t aware).

    “Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it.” —Richard Lamm

    To expand: Deficits (and household consumer debt) are when adults act like children because they want what they want and they want it now!

  46. leftback says:

    Fascinating to see what goes on behind the buckle of the Bible Belt…

  47. manhattanguy says:

    Not surprised majority of “porn” consumers are in the Bible belt states. After all these are the same people who are obsessed with “cultural conservatism”.

    @lefty: i am with you on the list of evil companies. Also add the U.S carmakers and most of oil companies in the list.

  48. cvienne says:


    I was referring to your “nice big fat” quote…

    as for @sses there can be:

    - big fat @sses, OR
    - “nice big fat” @sses

    I was referring to the latter, and they DO shop at A&F

  49. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Mike in NOLA re:

    LOL! Pretty funny to see the top ten.

    I think #10 must really be due to cvienne’s multiplex theater set up that he runs to generate his REAL money. ;)

  50. franklin411 says:

    If you game, though, you either have to accept MSFT or learn how to use one of the workarounds, which I’m too lazy to do. Most of MSFT’s evil “phone home” features are easily disabled as well.

    I’m strongly anti-Apple, though. Apple is just as big an evil as MSFT, but they put a pretty bow on it and people think they’re doing something good. Ridiculous. At least with PC/MSFT products I have the ability to change hardware and software parameters at will. AAPL products force you to use AAPL applications, AAPL hardware, AAPL configurations, etc…

    AAPL is more evil than MSFT, imo.

  51. cvienne says:


    I just got my “broadband” access activated last week at the place out there…

    So basically, if you see WVA climbing up the list in a rapid way over the next few months, you’ll know what’s going on ;-)

  52. cvienne says:


    Is that why “O” gave the Queen an iPod?…Is that a declaration of war that we missed?

  53. hopeImwrong says:

    Anyone have a list of the rules to cause posts to be eaten? I don’t seem to have any bad words in the post, I even broke up the message to multiple posts, but none made it. It’s interesting how I am able to post the same discussion on another site, so I end up here less, even though I like the discussion here the best.

  54. manhattanguy says:

    franklin411: That may be true, but Apple is 100 times more creative than MSFT. What is the big thing MSFT has innovated since Windows in the 90s that was successful in the marketplace? Maybe Xbox.. even there they hardly break even. Everything else was a “me too” software.

  55. cvienne says:

    Imagine if he’d given her a ZUNE!

  56. cvienne says:


    ” It’s interesting how I am able to post the same discussion on another site, so I end up here less, even though I like the discussion here the best.”

    You know you’re having a bad day when a thread with the word “stink” in the title won’t even let you in…

  57. Thor says:

    Franklin – RE Windows 7 – first rule of IT is never ever ever buy version X.0 of any software upgrades. Wait six months for the first service pack to come out. We’ve been Beta testing windows 7 here since the beginning of the year and it’s not quite the “home run” Microsoft and the MSM would have you believe.

  58. cvienne says:


    Don’t waste your time…It’s already clear…28 inch screen…He’s a “gamer”…He could care less about the OS…

  59. Thor says:

    Franklin – you have a point with gaming. Your other statement “At least with PC/MSFT products I have the ability to change hardware and software parameters at will” simply illustrates that you don’t really know that much about computers. I won’t go into to what you can do to/with a Mac if you get into the Unix shell as I doubt you’d understand it.

  60. Onlooker from Troy:
    Did you even read the article? It’s incoherent. It doesn’t make any sense. Not a surprise I suppose.

  61. Onlooker from Troy says:


    Uh, what article? If you’re talking about he porn thing, no. I took that about as seriously as the National Enquirer, so relax. I’m sure it’s going tor drive some folks in those states crazy though. :)

  62. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    Well, the only thing I thought that was VERY interesting today was Obama’s recognition that this may be a jobless recovery, and that the joblessness may be high…Roubini says over 10 per cent for some time. And although I am not a fan of these policies, I will grant that even the admission that this could be our outcome made me think maybe O isn’t as doctrinaire as I thought…don’t get me wrong, I still think his policies are NOT what we need, but at least he seems to realize he’s not FDR…( and perhaps, that too, is good for several reasons) Bush would have had a hard time doing this…I think Obama is seeing that wishing for jobs and having jobs are two different cats…

  63. Andy T says:

    This is like watching paint dry out here….clearly congesting since the open…almost looks like a type of triangle intraday futures….wish we could just get that last little blast higher so we can be done with this….c’mon Mr. Market….give us something new….

    So, Goldman Sachs gets the almighty “BUY” rating from uber-analysis Meredith Whitney and then goes on to release “blow-out-your-mind-so-fantastic-we-can’t-even-believe-it” numbers….and GS is up 5-7% in the last 48 hours? And it’s struggling to set a new high on this move? Color me unimpressed so far….I’m open to being impressed….but right now I’m not.

    [I wonder if Meredith Whitney has been sharing those insights with her hedge fund clients for weeks now before her big interview? Wonder when we'll start requiring disclosures from "high profile" analysts?]

  64. I-Man says:


    @ CV, Thor, LB… basically anyone who knows about computers…

    So if I-Man is buying a new desktop to be used strictly for trading purposes, with multi monitors, to run a handful of programs simultaneously (as well as TBP all day :) ) that require lots of bandwidth…

    What would you have I buy?

    Cost is not an issue.

    I have comcast broadband internet, and I dont know shit about computers… but I need something that will handle having a trading platform, realtime chart programs, and a handful of internet windows open all at the same time without getting bogged down. Repeat, I dont know shit about computers.

    Any reco’s?

  65. Thor says:

    I-Man – if cost is not an issue buy a Mac. There is absolutely no reason you should need a PC unless you’re a heavy gamer. To give you an idea of the Mac vs PC from a real world perspective – I just checked and I haven’t restarted my mac in 33 days – they’re that stable. Also, we have about 100 Macs in our office and 300 PC’s – we have one Mac admin supporting all those Macs and four PC guys. In my professional experience, PC’s require at least twice the technical support as the Macs.

    Again, if cost is no issue buy a Mac – get a lot of RAM with it but don’t buy it from Apple (buy it from CDW or Frys). You can install a product called VMWare which basically allows you to install XP or Vista on your Mac and have it running in another window. If you have more than one monitor, you can simply expand the Windows VM window to full screen and you’ll have both a Mac and a PC running at the same time. I have both a MacBook Pro and a Dell Optiplex 760 here at my desk and windows runs faster on my MAC than it does on the Dell.

    Please not that although I’m a Mac fan, this is based on my experience in supporting both platforms over the last 15 years, I don’t own an iPod or an iPhone and am not some crazy Mac evangelist. Mac’s are simply better. Hands down.

  66. pmorrisonfl says:

    @I-Man trading platform PC

    Thor and others will have more specific recommendations, but I’d say any current mid-range PC from the non-evil mfgr of your choice would do what you’re looking for. I’ve got a three year old Thinkpad T60p and a four year old low-end HP desktop I bought on clearance at tiger Direct, and both are just fine running thinkOrSwim and TBP on multiple monitors.

    I’d love it if BR weighed in on the results of his recent Mac purchase.

  67. I-Man says:

    Many thanks you guys!

  68. I-Man says:

    FWIW… I was already leaning towards a Mac. I just wanted to tease out some informed opinions.

  69. pmorrisonfl says:

    @IMan Then get a MackBook Air! If I can trade vicariously through reading here, I might as well try the same thing with gadgets. :)

  70. I-Man says:

    Gotta have a desktop. Otherwise I might be too tempted to leave my trading cave…

  71. Thor says:

    I wouldn’t get a MacBook air – they’re very cool, but not powerful enough for what I think you’d want to do.

    if you’re going to get a desktop you can either get one of the MacPro’s or a higher end iMac, either should be powerful enough for your needs but the MacPro might be a little overkill for you, those machines are powerful enough for high end CGI editing. – if you get the iMac make sure you get the adapters to hook up a second monitor – they’re not included. On an iMac, you’re limited to two monitors (the iMac itself, and a second) on a MacPro you can hook up as many as four if you get two video cards.

  72. leftback says:


    We are homies. LB has a high end I-Mac, with a humongous screen. Enough said.
    Plus, I believe your Mistress of the Stick also said she has a Mac.

  73. cvienne says:


    I just got your post because I’d decided to take a snooze (exciting this congestion Andy T huh?)…

    Anyway, basically what Thor told you is about 1,000% better than anything I could tell you…I’d be behind that recommendation 100%…

    @Andy T

    FWIW – I’d posted a few days ago (before this convestive pattern even was a congestive pattern), that it looked to be like 907-908 would get hit aroung July 22 or 23…Hence the nap this afternoon…I may even expect another whole week of crap between 895 and 907…After all, the 900 level has been crossed like some “sissy Rubicon” going all the way back to the Lehman days…Might as well tighten up some of those prints a little…

    I took a tiny bite on buying some SPG puts today…It seemed to me that the CIT debacle had put a ball squeeze on the “shorts” in that stock…

  74. leftback says:

    TLT right on support here at 94. LB might take a small stake here.

  75. I-Man says:

    Kinda leaning towards the MacPro… I’ve heard some great things about the Nehalem… and I like the idea of the upgrade option with the two video cards.

    I havent done all my official due diligence tho on the IMac… I’ll check that one too.

    Thx peeps.

  76. call me ahab says:

    did anyone catch the Kudlow Report last night- I watched it because BR was on- and watched the preceding segment to BR- I found it interesting that one of the guests said- using 1980′s metrics to tabulate unemployment we would be at an unemployment rate of-

    15% –

    then Kudlow corrected him and said no- it would be 16%-

    so when they say the unemployment rate is the highest it’s been for 25 years- they should actually be saying it’s the highest since the GD-

    and when they say it is the highest it’s been in 25 years- it’s purposely misleading- and what should be reported is reality- so they should either convert the 1980′s measurements to 2009 methodology or vice versa

  77. cvienne says:

    Defensive stuff (PG, KO, LMT, KFT) seems to be holding this market where it is today…barely

  78. Thor says:

    Ahab – good call, don’t see them making any changes to the way they’re reporting unemployment. I’d guess the changes were made in the first place to hide the fact that jobs growth wasn’t quite what we were being told it was.

  79. pmorrisonfl says:

    @Mackbook Pro/Nehalem

    Like they say, “You can never be too rich or too thin”… or have too many instructions per clock cycle.

  80. pmorrisonfl says:

    s/MackBook/MacBook Pro/
    Apologies to the Apple faithful as well,

  81. Onlooker from Troy says:


    I’m surprised that Kudlow acknowledged the high real UE rate. Must have slipped out, driven by his political bias. I’m sure he followed up with some other reason to be bullish that overrides the UE rate, or else just called it a lagging indicator.

  82. Onlooker from Troy says:

    I Man

    I’m not a computer expert by any means, but I thought I’d pound the table for max RAM. For your purposes RAM is the key, IMO. As it is for most people. Definitely max it out from the get go.

  83. pmorrisonfl says:

    +1 on max RAM, to the point where if money becomes an object, trade the latest, greatest CPU for RAM.

  84. call me ahab says:


    to tell you the truth I haven’t seen Kudlow for several months- probably last time was in March- however I was surprised by Kudlow’s candor- it was not just rah, rah, rah stock market- he had some legitimate arguments that I agreed with-

    he seems to have come to grips to some degree with America’s current fate

  85. ben22 says:


    I actually think the same about Kudlow. I had also stopped watching a while ago. I used to always watch the show, especially when BR or Kass or someone like that was on. For a while though when things started to really get bad last year it seemed like they stopped having dissenting voices on the show, maybe every once in a while they’d have my boy Gary Schilling or Joe Battapaglia was pretty hardcore bear when things really took hold and he would try to argue with Bowyer or some of the other permabulls on there.

    About a month ago I started to watch the show again as I’ve been working from home a lot more at night and it also seems to me that Larry is at least trying or making it appear as if he’s more objective. Either he read the how to fix financial television posts or he really finally just gets it.

    I’ve noticed on CNBC lately there is a lot less yelling and a lot more listening going on by the hosts of the shows. I still find most everyone on that station to be a complete fool but I’ll give them credit for having gotten a little better in the last few months. The cheerleading of data, well, I never ever expect that to stop on there.

  86. leftback says:


    LB pondered some shorts and some TLT – but in the end decided to sit on a bloody enormous pile of cash.
    G’night all….

  87. call me ahab says:


    dude- it just seems dishonest to me- if people were told that unemployment was 15 or 16%- they would more fully understand how bad things are-

    and now that the administration is admitting a jobless recovery- I have to ask myself- what kind of recovery is that exactly- good times for the remaining workforce- a slow squeeze of the middle class- until you ulimately end up with two classes- the uber rich and the poor

  88. leftback says:

    “you ulimately end up with two classes- the uber rich and the poor”

    Welcome to New York City, ahab. It’s been this way for years.

  89. I-Man says:

    Smart move Left…

    Looks like there will be some follow through on INTC numbers… depending on how the call goes. But I’ll give credit where credit is due…on the surface it APPEARS they had a great quarter.

    Anytime I see that “Excluding One Time Items” shit though, I always get skeptical.

  90. ben22 says:


    I was going to say exactly what LB did, we’ve already got that in a lot of places, but to your point, now it will get even worse.

  91. Outlier says:

    Random anecdote/factoid about Manhattan that still blows my mind to this day. I grew up on that island, and went to a public elementary school where I was close to the only white kid. The household income of the student body was in the bottom 5% of all elementary schools in the entire country. Yep, bottom 5% in national income sitting in the middle of one of the most extraordinarily rich and expensive islands in the world.

    And yeah 95% of the people I meet in NYC now how have no clue that the city is build off that sort of disparity…

  92. Mike in Nola says:

    Sorry for the rant, but have to jump in with the truth :)

    For a change, I mostly agree with F411 on this.

    Apple is way behind Google on my evil list. Google is a huge threat to privacy. Use Gmail? Don’t discuss anything privileged, as your email is scanned so they can serve you relevant ads with your mail. And how will they serve you ads if you use the announced Google OS? Apple’s only on the list for hypocrisy and snobbism.

    Not trying to get anyone not to buy a Mac, although Macbooks have fallen behind some of the other makers in reliability stats. Think one was Lenovo.

    Macs are fine if you don’t want cookie cutter hardware (not talking looks) and software and don’t mind having to get Steve’s imprimatur on peripherals. Get into the Unix shell? As one who has used unix, I can say that sorta defeats the simplicity argument.

    Oh, and be ready to buy new software and hardware when Steve says you can’t use your old stuff any more. Windows XP, which has been out a number of years already, will be supported until 2014 for those crazy enough to want to use it. But, I do have one customer that was running a DOS accounting program within a wiindow because he was too stubborn to change programs.

    On successful products since the windows of the 1990′s, well there’s Windows 2000\Windows Xp (which were closely related) and Window Vista, which was a completely new version from the ground up and was a bigger success than folklore says. It was bad PR and bowing to Intel pressure not to set realistic hardware specs. People don’t realize that MS has a huge business clientele, which Apple drools over. There is Office, Windows Server and other business related products which produce a substantial portion of MS’s income. Windows desktop isn’t even the majority income producer. MS’s biggest problem is that it’s really a conglomerate of three companies, business software, desktop business and consumer software and consumer hardware (tiny). Keeping them consistent is a big problem. MS probably would have been better off broken up.

    As someone pointed out recently: every day, somewhere close to a billion people use windows on millions of combinations of hardware and it almost always does what it’s supposed to. When you have such a large user base and so much different hardware, no wonder there are some problems. While the variety is the problem, it’s also the reason Windows is so widely used. A good comparison is the free market v. Commissar Steve.

    Re: never buy version 1. of anything. Well, Windows 7 is really just a minor upgrade of Vista, with interface changes, optimitzation so it runs as fast as XP on the same hardware, and not including so much standard add ons, that you can now download for free from MS if you want it.

    Vista and XP can run for months if the hardware and software are limited in the same way you would have it on a Mac. NT used to run for weeks in my office back 8-10 years ago when I kept hearing about Mac users complaining of freezeups.

    I’m sure glad the creative geniuses at AAPL finally discovered cut and paste and voice command for the iPhone so the Faithful can now enjoy features which Win mobile has had for years, although you would never suspect that from the WWDC presentations. :)

  93. Mike in Nola says:

    Back to business:

    CNBC reports in the banner that Intel made 18 cents a share and share price “leaps” as it beat expectations. Didn’t mention that earnings are down 33% Y/Y.

  94. call me ahab says:


    good points


    thx for the first hand account- pretty much supports lbacks observation

    m in nola-

    i think you and I have had a few laughs in the past re apple devotees- re google- i have over the last few months been coming to the conclusion that google is becoming like the same three tv stations I had as a kid- commercials and then more commercials- and now it’s at the bottom of all the youtube clips- advertisement for some related item-

    talk about Big Brother and somebody watching you- definitely switched back to Yahoo and MSFT Live for email

  95. Mike in Nola says:


    I though crazy Ballmer’s comment a few months ago was good when someone asked him about whatever they are calling windows live mail right now: “At least we don’t read your email.”

    I personally don’t send confidential mail through any server but my own, but I would trust MSFT or Yahoo before Google.

  96. matt says:

    @lefty: “I’m surprised you would buy a bloated, inefficient and hopelessly easy to hack OS like Windows”

    Um, I hacked into a new macbook pro last year (just to prove a point to a friend) in about 2 hours, and I’ve never hacked anything in my life. I just used information that was freely available on the internet. Yeah, real secure.

    I use an iMac as my primary computer, but the Apple lovefest here is just silly and misleading. It’s just a computer that is in style right now. What I have learned about owning a Mac is that they are made for people who hate money. Once you finish overpaying for your hardware, then you realize that almost all of the programs cost money (compare that to Linux or Windows, where there is a giant library of free software).

    The only positive thing that I can really say is that I like having the utility of a fully functional bash command line interface. If you don’t plan on using that, save yourself some money and disappointment and get a PC and load it with Linux/Windows.

  97. I-Man,

    if you, really, want to lay out the lettuce on things AAPL, this thing:

    can lauch Shuttles in it’s spare time..+ you can run every ‘pute in your domicile from it, while providing Firewalled Wi-Fi to the know, for starters..

  98. Mannwich says:

    @matt: I’m with you on that. The “cool factor” trumps all in our culture and Apple has it. Been saying it for a long time now. It’s all about trendiness and image. Even their stores convey those things. Like a cult.

  99. call me ahab says:

    you know what’s cool- $400 computers that can surf the web and handle most applications- apple is a fashion statement- like a coach purse or whatever the women are buying nowadays- maybe Karen can fill me in-

    full disclosure- I still have Formica counter tops and almond colored appliances- so what the fuck do I know