Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Case/Schiller Beyond Dreadful

The Case/Schiller home price index for the past few months was reported this morning. It indicated that not only is it much worse than expected, but it also suggests that the bottom in housing is still far away. In October alone, home prices were down more than 19%! Housing prices will almost certainly continue to decline.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Company Matches for (401)k Being Suspended

We are seeing more and more company match plans for (401)k plans being eliminated. Fedex was the latest today to eliminate the company matching funds for the retirement funds. Pensions have already come to an end over the past few decades. Now, even company matching funds are coming to an end. Americans must eventually come to realize that they alone are responsible for their well-being and retirement. We will learn that lesson voluntarily, or involuntarily, but we will learn that lesson. Government will not be able to provide it for us!

Liquid Illusion

Here is an excellent article on global central bank attempts to create liquidity, and why it is largely an illusion of liquidity. Delusions of reserve grandeur? Great article by Satyajit Das!

In recent years, there has been speculation about the amount of capital or liquidity available for investment globally. The substantial reserves of central banks and their acolytes, sovereign wealth funds, were frequently cited in support of the case for a large pool of "unleveraged" liquidity − that is, "real" money. In reality, the available pool of money may be more modest than assumed.

Click here for the entire article.

Dollar, Ruble Continue Devaluation Tumble

The Dollar overnight has shown new signs of vigor in its devaluation drive. The Russian central bank has also devalued the ruble for the eighth time this month.

Here is the FT story on the ruble.

Here Come the Bankruptcies

Now we are beginning to see the corporate bankruptcies. The retail federation predicts that 12,000 major stores will shut their doors in 2009. This is only the beginning! The retail federation also estimates that 73,000 small retail stores will shutter their doors this year! That is a mind-numbing figure, especially when one begins the number of lost jobs that will result from those losses!

U.S. retailers face a wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers
starting next month as holiday sales are shaping up to be the worst in 40 years.

Here is a Bloomberg article: Holiday Sales Slump to Force Store Closings, Bankruptcies