Retail Sales Rise on Gasoline Prices

Adv10308

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Real Retail sales dropped in March, driven lower primarily by durable goods and automobiles.

Nominal sales — non-inflation adjusted retail sales — surprised to the upside. The 0.2% gains were due mostly to increases in essentials — food, gasoline, and heating oil.  Sales at Gasoline
store were up 1.1 %, while food & beverage stores up 0.4%; nonstore retailers (home heating oil) was also strong. Outside of these basics, Consumer spending was less strong. Declines were in
building materials (down 1.6%), and general merchandise (down 0.6%).

On a year-on-year basis, March Retail sales softened to +2.0% from +2.9% last month.

Bottom line: What little strength we saw last month was narrowly based, and due due to higher prices. In real terms,
sales were negative. The impact of Retail Sales on Q1 GDP will be to pull it down further.

Retail_sales_march_08

chart courtesy of Barron’s Econoday

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Sources:
ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL TRADE AND FOOD SERVICES FOR MARCH 2008
MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2008, AT 8:30 A.M. EDT
http://www.census.gov/marts/www/retail.html

ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES 4.14.08 .pdf
April 14 Release
http://www.census.gov/marts/www/marts_current.pdf

Related:
U.S. Retail Sales Rise on Gain in Gasoline Purchases
Bob Willis
Bloomberg, April 14 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aGV74CnL6F7Y&

Category: Consumer Spending, Economy, Inflation, Retail

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Joseph Stiglitz On The Economy

I have been meaning  to post this since Thursday morning : An interview with Joseph Stiglitz, the Columbia Professor who is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, with his overview of the economy.

Stiglitz recent books include Globalization and Its Discontents (2003) and Making Globalization Work (2006).

The professor pulls no punches — about the economy, President Bush, and Fed Chair Bernanke.

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click for crappy WMV video
Stiglitz

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Sources:
Stiglitz on the Economy
CNBC
Thurs. Apr. 10 2008 | 7:00 DT[08:07]

http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=708404472

Joseph E. Stiglitz Home Page
University Professor
http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/

Category: Economy, Employment, Video

Friday Evening Jazz: Kind of Blue

KINDA blueA few months ago, Hale took an eclectic look at some of the lesser known works of Miles Davis. Tonite, I want to go in the opposite direction, and simply focus on one disc: Kind of Blue.

Why? Not only is Kind of Blue Davis’ best-selling album, it may very well be the best-selling jazz record of any artist, of all time. Even though it was released almost 50 years ago, it still sells over 5,000 copies per week today. In addition to its commercial success, it has come to be described by many Jazz critics as the greatest jazz album of all time.

Writing in AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted: “Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of “So What.” From that moment on, the record never really changes pace — each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality.”

The one jazz record to own even if you don’t listen to jazz — the band is extraordinary: John Coltrane,  Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on saxophones, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. I recently received a remastered CD of kind the album, thus retiring my scratchy hiss and pop laden vinyl version.  (And another intelligent CD pricing: $7.47 at Amazon)

For those of you looking for some , check out NPR:  Kind of Blue (54 minutes)

videos after the jump . . .

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

The Brushedback Economy

Category: Psychology