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Who's afraid of the index of leading indicators?

I don’t put much stock in the Conference Board’s Index of Leading Indicators. Seven out of 10 of the indicators are actually economic data—the Commerce Department released building permit data, for example, on Tuesday, May 18 —that were published before the index was...

Update Johnson Controls (JCI)

Before the stock market opened in New York on Friday, April 23, Johnson Controls (JCI) announced earnings of 43 cents a share (excluding one-time items.) That was four cents a share above Wall Street estimates for the company’s second quarter of fiscal 2010. Including...

Good news from Oracle is better news for the U.S. economy

There wasn’t anything wrong with the earnings results that Oracle (ORCL) announced yesterday. For the company’s fiscal third quarter, which ended in February, revenue climbed to $6.5 billion, up 18% from the third quarter of fiscal 2009. (Excluding currency effects...

Are things as bad as most investors think they are? I'd say No

One of the cliches about bear markets is that they’re so devastating to investors’ portfolios because they (1)inflict huge losses in the sell-off and then (2) leave most investors so traumatized that they can’t bring themselves to participate in any rallies.  Well,...

What's on the agenda after healthcare?

While Republicans battled Democrats (and Democrats battled themselves) over healthcare, not much of anything else got done. Not reform of the financial system, not serious action on jobs (the $18 billion “jobs” bill that Congress did pass isn’t even a down payment),...

I only wish manufacturing made up more of the economy

Manufacturing continues to contribute more than its share to the economic recovery, according to index numbers released this morning (March 1) in the Institute for Supply Management survey of purchasing managers. Unfortunately, manufacturing accounts for only about...

Is today's good news on home prices only a false dawn?

So how stable is this stability in home prices? That’s the question raised by the good news on home prices from today’s (February 23) release of the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices. On a seasonally adjusted basis the index climbed 0.3% in...

How to worry–and when–in 2010

This is my fourth take on how to worry in less than six months. I wrote the first one in October when the Dow Jones Industrial Average had poked its head above 10,000 for the first time in a year (and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index was just about to kiss...

Honey, we bankrupted the kids!

Worried that the global financial crisis combined with the Great Recession in the United States has bankrupted not just ourselves but our kids and their kids? Good. You should be worried. Maybe then we’ll do something about the problem before it’s too late. First,...

Blame it on Lisbon…and Madrid and Budapest.

First it was Greece. Now it’s Spain, Portugal, and Eastern Europe. Heaven forbid that investors shouldn’t  have a financial crisis somewhere in the world to worry about. A European Union pledge of support for the Greek government’s plan to cut its current 12.7% (of...

Were more jobs lost in the recession than we thought?

Watch out for some nasty revisions in the employment numbers due out on Friday. The data release will include a revision of numbers stretching back into 2009 that’s likely to show bigger job losses during the recession than previously calculated. Paul Dales of Capital...