Chart of the Week: Consumer Confidence Spikes

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index Rebounds In December

Chart_cci_2

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had been declining since August, rebounded smartly in December. It now stands at 102.3, up significantly from 92.6 in November. The Present Situation Index also snapped to, up almost 10 to 105.9 from 96.3.

Methinks tis the season to be Jolly: “The continuing economic expansion, combined with job growth, has consumers ending the year on a high note,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “The most significant contributor to the rebound in confidence has been the overall improvement in current conditions over the past twelve months. And consumers’ outlook suggests that the economy will continue to expand in the first half of the new year.” 

Source: The Conference Board
.

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"Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria."  -Sir John Templeton

 

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A Different Kind of Top 10 Music List For 2004

It’s year’s end, and that means list time.

The annoying thing about the ubiquitous year end list — best Books, best Movies, best Albums — is that they tend to be compiled by people who read, watch or listen to stuff for a living.

Most of the listed items are nanoseconds old. And while that’s de rigueur for someone who does that professionally, it has little correlation to the lives the rest of us lead. Gotta job, family, obligations? Then you probably don’t get to listen to hundreds of new releases each year. Good luck then, making an intelligent top 10 list.

Movies? The days of waiting on line opening night are long since gone for this old man. A majority of the films I ended up renting, buying or pay-per-viewing this year were not 2004 releases. Wanna make a helpful list for me? Tell me the best stuff on HBO next weekend; Knowing 2004′s most critically acclaimed Eastern European documentaries is of little use for most people.

OK, rant over. Here’s a different kind of top 10 list; these favorite CDs are what actually got listened to in 2004. While a few of these came out this year, that wasn’t a requirement. These are what actually spent the most time this year on the iPod or in the CD player of a person with a job and an ever decreasing amount of spare time.

The task was made infinitely easier by iTunes, which shows me the chronological order of when CDs were ripped, and purchases made via ITMS, or downloads via a P2P service, as well as the number of plays each song got. Incidentally, the correlation between my downloaded P2P tunes and subsequent CD purchases is extremely high; I’ll bet others have had similar experiences. Don’t expect an RIAA study looking into that phenomenon anytime soon . . .

Anyway, on to the top 10 list:.

~ ~ ~

Roman Candle  Says Pop

Roman Candle’s debut is a joyful assortment of finely crafted pop
tunes. If FM Radio didn’t suck, this is the sort of music you would be
hearing on it right now. Finely crafted lyrics mated to delightful
melodies delivered by a tight power pop five-some in a surprisingly
slick production. Like nearly all the discs on this list, this one is
really good from start to finish.

Why didn’t you ever hear of these guys? Roman Candle hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and signed with an independent label. No payola, no Clearchannel — and no radio play.

Roman Candle   Says Pop
(2002)

Bonus:  I discovered Roman Candle through BBC 2’s Bob Harris Check him out.

~ ~ ~

 

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