Season’s Subtotal

wsj_format_logo

Here’s yet another online-only WSJ column:  Season’s Subtotal. The WSJ will take a "regular look at how the holiday season is progressing at retailers, rounding up the latest takes from Wall Street, market-research firms and news reports."

I’ll point to it when I catch the updates; Here’s an excerpt:

And, they’re off! Retail-tracking firm ShopperTrak estimated that retail sales for Black Friday, so called because it marks a shift to profitability for many retailers, rose 11% from last year to about $8 billion. Saturday, however, "was weak and disappointing, so together it was only a modest two-day performance,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at International Council of Shopping Centers.

Mall cornerstones J.C. Penney and Sears Roebuck reported solid sales, but a lack of deep discounts at Wal-Mart meant fewer rings of the retail giant’s cash registers. Analysts say discounters are likely to have a hard time this holiday season because lower-income customers have been hardest hit by soaring gasoline prices. Still, Mr. Niemira expects chain-store sales will grow 3% to 4% this holiday season from last year.

Read More

Category: Economy

How Did Terrestrial Radio Lose its Audience ?

Category: Finance, Music

Rationalizations from the Dismal Set

Category: Economy

Nonfarm Payrolls: +112,000 Jobs

Category: Economy

Three Peaks and the Domed House redux

Way back in October 2003, we looked at master technical analyst George Lindsay’s repetitive chart pattern, Three Peaks and the Domed House. That version showed a fairly prescient call by Ned Davis, before the January ’04 top. That was then, this is now. Its time to revisit the pattern, this time via Jeff Hirsch of…Read More

Category: Markets

Oil & Weather: A Guest Persepective

Back on the anniversary of the crash, I ran a guest post from Rob Fraim: 1987 Crash Revisited. That was well received; I thought Rob’s latest missive was worth reproducing here:

.
In the midst of the recent big drop in oil – which is likely at least partly due to forced/margin selling – there is an interesting point to be considered.

Writing on the financial website Street Insights, Richard Ritholtz [Editor: no relation -- as far as I know] made the following comments today:

· It’s too early to write off the winter even though the weather has been quite mild in the Northeast and Midwest to date.

· Heating oil inventory is still at a low absolute level, although it is clearly in a building mode over the next weeks.

· The market experienced significant long liquidation yesterday as several large funds locked in their profit for the year; December 1st clearly signaled that year end is not far away.

· Based on information from several private forecasters, I believe that the overall winter temperatures from Dec. 21- Mar. 21 will be average to below normal even, though the November through early December temperatures have been milder.

As to the weather (ok…cue the “Let’s Make Fun of Rob Fraim” theme music here) here is something of interest (or fun if nothing else):

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a noteworthy record for medium-to-longer range weather forecasts.

Oh, I know you’re laughing at me now. You’d rather pay attention to Skippy the Weatherman on your local Accu-Weather at 6:00 who can’t, for Pete’s sake figure out whether it’s going to rain tomorrow. (And who each year predicts 4 huge snowstorms that never materialize and misses on the blizzard that blindsides you.)

Read More

Category: Markets

even more Accelerated Depreciation of Capital Spending

Category: Economy

Chart of the Week: S&P 500 Breakout

Category: Markets

New Column up at Real Money (12//04)

Category: Media

Universal Music Takes Matters into its Own Hands

Category: Finance, Media, Music