Real & Private Fixed Investment

A nice pair of charts from the St. Louis Fed explains part of our fears for a contraction in the coming quarters. Note the shaded gray areas are prior recessions.


Private Fixed Investment


Note that both of these charts goe negative (as the top one did sometime ago) prior to any recessions.

Real Nonresidential Investment

The bright spots? The above chart has not yet slipped into the Red zone.

Also positive (albeit somewhat anecdotal) approach is this academic analysis below:


Academic studies* have shown that a spike in the number of stories appearing each month in the printed editions of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal that mention "recession" runs somewhat ahead of the actual economic contraction.

The rationale for this indicator is that periods of below-trend growth of sales, production, employment, and profits spur an increased awareness of the possibility of a recession developing. This awareness shows up as recession chatter in the financial press.

There are a few things to notice in the chart: First, “recession” stories seem to exhibit normal business cycle characteristics; the number of stories rises during periods of slow growth and recession and remains low during periods of economic expansion. Second, recession stories seem to peak toward the end of the recession, or shortly after, and then fall sharply—which suggests that this indicator might be useful in helping identify troughs,
though perhaps less so for peaks . . . Finally, despite a noticeable jump in the number of
“recession stories” in the Wall Street Journal in March 2007, both series remain at levels consistent with economic expansion.

Fascinating stuff . . .


Recession Rumblings
Kevin L. Kliesen
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
May 2007

* Academic studies:
“Is a Recession Imminent?”
John Fernald and Bharat Trehan,
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letter,
Number 2006-32, 11/24/06.

“Identifying Business Cycle Turning Points in Real Time”
Marcelle Chauvet and Jeremy M. Piger,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review,
March/April 2003, 85(2), pp. 47-61.

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Federal Reserve

Inflation, circa 1957

Category: Inflation

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Memorial Day Weekend Linkfest, Part II

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Updated FDA Food Pyramid

Category: Politics, Psychology, Trading

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Friday Evening Jazz: Oscar Peterson

Exclusively_for_my_friends_box_setTonite’s guest host for FNJ is a music insider. Although he is known better for many of the newer acts he represents, he is, surprisngly enough, a closet jazz aficionado, and therefore must remain anonymous.

Here’s his take on the O-man:

Oscar Peterson has been recording and performing for over half a century. He may also be the most recorded of all piano players. (And he’s from Canada).

Oscar bridged the swing and bop eras, rooting himself in a style that was at the same time stunningly complex yet elegant and soulful.  Nobody used more notes to swing! Oscar is sometimes dismissed because he wasn’t groundbreaking in the way that many of his contemporaries were. But the range of expression he achieved on the piano, and his technical prowess, is hardly rivaled in mainstream jazz.

Trio_2 Many consider his solo recordings of the late 60s and early 70s to be his most outstanding work, but I was always partial to his trio recordings both with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen and later with Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson. The live album "The Trio" from 1973 (not to be confused with a Verve release of the same title) is a great recording of Oscar with Pass and Pederson and shows Oscar at his most virtuosic. Check out the Brown Thigpen work live here.

Satch_and_joshFor a
compendium of his 60s work in both trio and solo settings, the
excellent box set "Exclusively for My Friends" will keep you
entertained for years. Of course, there are the standard "songbook"
albums (George Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) and the duets with greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Clark Terry and
Dizzy Gillespie.

Night_trainBut if I had to pick one place to start, and on a
Friday night with your favorite Bordeaux, it would be the 1962 album "Night Train" with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen

It showcases Oscar at his best on both ballads and uptempo numbers and he really shows his blues chops. In particular, note the title track, Bags’ Groove (one the great jazz classics), Moten Swing and Elllington’s great C-Jam Blues. The bonus tracks added to the reissue aren’t particularly special, but don’t diminish Peterson’s brilliance on this record.



(videos after the jump)


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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

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