Hurricane Sandy dents retail sales
Hurricane Sandy lowered retail sales by $4 billion in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region, nearly 20 percent of the usual total, according to the Associated Press. Nationwide sales totals for the week of October 28 to November 3 typically generate $78 billion but estimates for this year were $74 billion. New York operated at about 70 percent of its capacity.
Demand for Treasuries hits record level
The Financial Times reports that since the Standard and Poor’s downgrade from the triple A rating, Treasury bonds have enjoyed an impressive rally. Evidence of a weakening US economy has pulled yields lower, rewarding existing holders of bonds. The benchmark 10 year yield hovers just above a postwar low of 1.44 percent, after record demand last week. A year ago the 10 year yield stood at 3 percent. Despite ongoing stimulus, the recovery remains weak and demand for Treasuries remains high.
Harsher energy regulations expected in Obama’s second term
Energy companies are likely to see even more regulation in Obama’s second term, with less access to federal lands and water, despite the false promises of energy independence. Reuters reports that Obama plans to reduce energy independence by promotion of more fuel efficient vehicles rather than promoting drilling. Obama plans on spending more on green energy despite Solyndra. Obama is expected to tighten rules and regulations on energy exploration, actions that are expected to add billions of dollars in cost for oil and gas companies. Expect $4 gas prices to be the new norm.
Americans setting up new households
The Wall Street Journal reports that Americans are setting up new households at the fastest rate in six years, an indication that anxiety about the recession is easing. The US added 1.15 million households in the 12 months that ended in September, according to the Census Bureau. That is an increase from the 650,000 households formed annually for the past four years. It is still behind the 1.25 million households added annually during the boom years. Rising household formation indicates that students are finding jobs and more adult children are leaving their parent’s homes.
Greeks strike to derail austerity
Thousands of Greeks protested Tuesday before an important vote in Parliament to cut billions of dollars in government wages and benefits in order to qualify for Eurozone bailout funds. USA Today indicates that cuts include raising the retirement wage from 65 to 67. The Prime Minister indicates that the austerity measures voted on this week will be the last and argues that without bailout funds, Greece will face bankruptcy and eviction from the European Union. Unemployment is at 25 percents and the economy is predicted to shrink by 6.5 percent this year. The Eurozone has given Greece $307 billion in bailout pledges since 2010. They are due to give Greece $40 billion in loans this year if Greece makes $17 billion in spending cuts.
Northeasterners go to Craigslist to find gas
CNBC reports that despite shorter lines at gas stations in the Northeast, closures have led to a gray market for fuel on Craigslist. Prices for a five gallon container ranged from $30 to $100 on Tuesday. The NY Attorney General has opened an investigation into the postings. Drivers also turned to social media to find out where they could buy gas. Twitter account @njgas had 6400 followers and was growing early this week. In areas where power has been restored, gas is also returning.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.