The following is a guest post by a buy-side analyst working in a US asset management firm. The author’s comments are in italics. I welcome your feedback in the comments:
- The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment for September fell to 66.6 from 69.8 in August, and stands at its lowest level since August 2009. – Roubini Global Economics
- Roughly one in seven people in the US lived in poverty in 2009, according to a report released last week by the Census Bureau. The poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent from 13.2 percent, a level that hasn’t been seen in almost 50 years, and the number of people classified as poor rose to 43.6 million from 39.8 million. A similar trend, according to the report, led to a record number of uninsured people: 50.7 million, or 16.7 percent of the population. – Census Bureau
- As global trade revives only sluggishly, bilateral disputes have been on the rise—including U.S. tariffs on Chinese tires and steel, Chinese duties on chicken and an investigation into subsidies for US automakers. Both have also turned to the WTO to help protect local industries. These disputes extend to other trading partners, with an increase in trade disputes being filed in 2010. In September 2010, the U.S. filed two trade complaints against China at the WTO: one on credit card payments and one on steel duties. – RGE Monitor
- Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief executive at Pacific Investment Management Co. said the Federal Reserve will cut its growth forecasts and Europe’s economic bailout is failing.
- Stock buybacks growing at fastest rate ever – buyback announcements have surged in ’10. Companies are using debt to pay for buybacks as yields plunge. U.S. companies have announced $258 billion in buybacks so far this year, compared with $52 billion in the first three quarters of 2009. Bloomberg
- “Don’t forget that the bailouts worked” - We will never know what would have happened if Lehman had not failed. But we can be fairly sure that without its collapse, it would have been impossible to shock the political system into action. In the month after the fall, the U.S. government made a series of massive moves to restore stability to the financial system. And it’s clear that those actions saved the American—and thus the global—economy from total collapse. Newsweek
- Gold is still far below its inflation-adjusted high after a record rally. The chart of the day shows the gold price relative to January 1980, when the metal reached $873 an ounce. Thursday’s record close of $1,272.20 in New York trading equals $454.88 an ounce in real terms, reflecting an increase in the U.S. consumer price index – Bloomberg
- Americans show no signs of relenting in their broad disapproval of Congress as the midterm elections draw near, with 18% approving and 77% disapproving of the job it is doing.
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