This Week’s Business News


Total consumer inflation was 0.2% in June. That followed a 0.7% price gain in May.

Hopefully we’ll see a lot more 0.2s and a lot fewer 0.7s.

BTW, on annualized bases the trends in total CPI gains over the past few decades:

6.9% – June 1977
3.6% – June 1987
2.3% – June 1997
2.7% – June 2007

Foxes Hunting on The Street

News Corp.’s efforts to purchase Dow Jones heated up this week. If that deal becomes final Rupert Murdoch will control The Wall Street Journal.

Certainly there would be synergies in owning The Journal and the nascent Fox Business Channel.

Ultimately, however, price is king.

News Corp. is offering to pay far too much.

Industrial Production

Output at the nation’s factories and mines increased in June 0.5%. That was in line with Wall Street expectations and far above the slight decline posted in May.

Excess capacity is at the manageable level of 18%.

Housing Market

Construction on 1.47 million new homes began in June. That was above Wall Street expectations and above May’s downwardly-revised figure of 1.43 million housing starts.

1.41 million building permits were issued in June. That was below expectations and below May’s upwardly-revised figure of 1.52 million permits. Building permits are a gauge of future construction.

Obviously housing starts and building permits are far below the levels reached at the apex of the recent housing market boom.

Leading Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell 0.3% in June. That was below Wall Street expectations and far below the revised 0.2% gain posted in May.

Griddles and Grills

IHOP will purchase Applebee’s.

Mmmm, IHOP.
Mmmmmm, Applebee’s.

Suddenly I feel hungry.

True Gloom

Subprime loans???

Um, no.

E.W. Scripps announced it will shut down two newspapers: The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post. This comes on the heels of the San Francisco Chronicle firing 25% of its reporters and editors, along with recent, massive job cuts at The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The San Jose Mercury News, and The Chicago Tribune, plus shut-downs of other local newspapers around the country.

But don’t fret.

As Ian Faith from Spinal Tap would say, it’s not that the print media is dying off and soon will become extinct — its appeal merely is becoming more selective.

By hooker by crook...
This Week in the Courts