This Week's Business News

Consumer Prices

Total consumer prices in August fell 0.1%. That followed a price gain of 0.1% in July.

BTW, on year-over-year bases total incomes for all Americans and wages and salaries for all American workers have increased substantially above the rate of total consumer inflation. Hourly wages for lower-tiered workers also have increased above and beyond the inflation rate. For obvious reasons, the topic of incomes, wages and salaries rising above inflation won’t be reported by the media.

Club Fed and Mr. Market

A rash of short covering in response to the Federal Reserve’s rate cut pushed up the markets.

Speaking of the stock markets, back in early-2003 you could have purchased McDonald’s for under $15 a share. That’s when the Xanax brigades were selling that company (among others) in a wild panic. Yesterday, however, McDonald’s closed at $54.81 per share. It’s poised to go higher today. All the while the company has been paying dividends.

$15 – 2003
$55 – 2007
+ four years of dividends too

Buy low.
Sell high.
Not vice-versa.

Accounting for Success

BusinessWeek released its annual survey of the best companies for recent college graduates to launch their fledgling careers.

The top-10:

1. Deloitte & Touche — Accounting + business services
2. PriceWaterhouseCoopers — Accounting + business services
3. Ernst and Young — Accounting + business services
4. IBM — Diversified business services
5. Google — Internet services
6. Microsoft — Technology services + software
7. Walt Disney — Diversified entertainment
8. Accenture — Business consulting
9. Lockheed Martin — Defense contracting
10. Teach for America — Education services


Sleazebag plaintiffs’ securities lawyer Bill Lerach will plead guilty in federal court to a conspiracy count and will serve 1-2 years in the clink. He’ll also pay a large fine and suffer a large money forfeiture.

Lerach spent the better part of the last 30 years costing untold numbers of jobs by filing vexatious class action lawsuits against big businesses. I would have preferred a jail term in Siberia for that miscreant, but I guess federal prison will suffice.

Speaking of miscreants, one of Lerach’s former partners, Melvyn Weiss, was indicted this week on similar charges. With any luck he too will be sent up the river.

Leading Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell 0.6% in August. That followed a gain of 0.7% in July.

Pass, Come, Don’t Come

No, not Larry Craig in a men’s restroom. We’re talking here about gambling. Craps. You know, dice.

Media/Democrat governor Deval Patrick wants to license three full-scale casinos over in Chomsky Land. Which obviously makes sense. Legalized casino gambling is a no brainer for states. It’s easy revenue. It creates lots of jobs. It’s far less regressive than lotteries. It diminishes the need for police bunco squads. It’s good business.

As for Governor Patrick, well, heck, even stopped clocks are correct twice per day.

Across the Pond

The EU’s second-highest-court upheld a 2004 ruling under which {cue the imperial theme music} Microsoft was adjudged guilty of EUro antitrust violations. The intermediate appellate court also affirmed a number of harsh sanctions relative to the company’s EUro operations, including a requirement to separate Windows from Windows Media Player and to share software codes with competitors to make rival servers more compatible with Windows.

Fannie + Freddie

Various administration officials plus Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s oversight agency expressed support for increased participation in the jumbo and subprime mortgage markets. I would prefer less of FNMA and FHLMC and more of the pure private-sector.

Insurance Law

The Florida Supreme Court handed a major victory to P&C insurers by limiting the purview of their potential liabilities for hurricane-related damages.

Rx for More Gumbmint

Congress passed legislation giving the FDA more power and more money to try to avoid Vioxx part II. Or at least that’s the stated purpose of the legislation. President Bush apparently will sign the bill, so time will have to tell how beneficial this new law will be. Color me skeptical.

True Gloom

Large newspaper publisher Gannett Co. reported: (1) a decline in monthly revenue, (2) a decline in year-over-year operating revenue, and (3) a decline in year-over-year advertising revenue. Another big newspaper chain, McClatchy, also posted big revenue declines. Imagine what would happen to Gannett, McClatchy, and to other Democrat newspaper publishers, if conservatives finally, mercifully, went ahead and canceled their subscriptions — en masse. {gulp}

Glug, Glug, Glug

A falling dollar, short covering, carry trading, and Mid-East sabre rattling boosted up oil prices.

Remember All Those Reports About Dying Polar Bears?
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