Live Big® Digest – Headline Edition

Live Big® Digest – Headline Edition

We thought we’d check in once again on this cold December Friday with another edition of the Live Big® Digest to help keep you warm.   As you will not fail to have noticed, markets have continued to seesaw in recent weeks with every whiff of good news or bad rolling out of Europe (for a refresher on the cause of the crisis, you can refer back to our discussion in October: Live Big Digest – Beware Greeks Bearing Gilts edition).  While some progress has been made since then, a final solution is not in place.  This, combined with the severe consequences if the Eurozone falls apart, have left markets in their current twitchy state.  Our best estimate is that Eurozone political leaders will ultimately agree to a plan that ends the crisis in the short-run and puts EU governments on a more sustainable fiscal path going forward.

Whatever the prospects for relief in Europe, however, we live in a reality-TV culture that feeds on drama.  The Eurozone crisis has proven no exception, with breathless headlines amping up every development. As an antidote, we thought we’d offer our own selection of recent headlines.  This exercise isn’t meant to suggest that there aren’t still economic and financial problems to be ironed out all over the world, but merely to counteract the natural human tendency to focus on the scariest news (not to mention the media’s tendency to favor the negative over the positive).

New York Times
Jobless Rate Dips to Lowest Level in More Than 2 Years
In the midst of global economic turmoil, the American unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped last month to 8.6 percent, and the nation’s employers added 120,000 jobs.

Leading Economic Indicators in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast
The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months rose 0.9 percent, the biggest jump since February, after a 0.1 percent September increase, the New York- based research group said today. The median forecast of 56 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected the gauge would advance 0.6 percent.

Fast Company
Here’s Some Good Economic News: U.S. Manufacturing Is Rising Once Again
Despite what you may have heard, we’re still a nation that makes good stuff, says RKS Design’s Ravi Sawhney.

Good News at Last for Euro-Zone Bonds
The bond markets offered brief respite for euro-zone economies as auctions for countries and the European Financial Stability Facility went well.

New York Times
New Data Offers Some Positive Signs for the Recovery
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 3 1/2-year low last week, and factory activity in parts of the Northeast gained speed in December, suggesting a further strengthening of the economic recovery.

San Francisco Chronicle
Stocks, Euro Gain as Spanish, Italian Bonds Rally
Stocks gained, paring weekly losses, while the euro rose and Spanish and Italian bonds rallied amid optimism the European Union will meet a Dec. 19 deadline for funding a crisis-fighting package.

Inflation eases, creates space for Fed stimulus
U.S. consumer prices were flat in November as Americans paid less for cars and gasoline, a further sign of a cool down in inflation that could give the Federal Reserve more room to help a still-weak economy.

Weekly jobless claims drop 19K to 366K, better than expected
New applications for US unemployment benefits fell last week by 19,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 366,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, putting claims at the lowest level since May 2008.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to rise by 9,000 to 390,000 in the week ended Dec. 10.

The Telegraph
World Power Swings Back to America
The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.

We hope you have a restful weekend and a peaceful holiday season!

The Yeske Buie Team