Saturday, August 25, 2007
Decateur's Weekly Business Roundup
Hey! Didn't think I'd be back, did you? Whatever...
After a roller-coaster last couple of weeks the DOW finally posted a sizable gain on Friday. This came (many have said) as a result of the government's July housing market report stating that housing sales rose an approximate 2%. Wait. July? You heard me right, these were July numbers ...and what, might you ask, has that to do with the multi-billion dollar bailouts going on in the sub-prime mortgage sector in August? NOTHING. Not a dern thing! So, my fellow investors and seekers of business acumen, strike while the iron is hot and sell, sell, SELL! When August's numbers hit the fan a few weeks from now you'll be glad you did. So drain your bank accounts and liquidate your rare stamp collection and put what cash you've made in a water-tight Teflon container and submerge it in the nearest body of murky water (...not your swimming pool) and wait to see how things pan out.
Which leads me to today's New York Times report indicating a down-turn in home sales prices. This may have a dramatic effect for those who've borrowed on their home equity in anticipation of higher future home prices. But do not worry! As far as my own situation is concerned, I've checked with my mom and she's already paid off the house about eight years ago. In other words, my basement apartment is in NO danger of repossession and my Weekly Roundups will continue unabated as long as I continue to date, keep the lawn mowed and make sure the driveway is shoveled.
In the retail sector, I was startled to hear about The Gap's announcement of a 19% rise in quarterly profits. Is this a result of "back to school" sales? Hardly. This number is something solid and a dependable index of how well this company is run. I should know. I was employed at The Gap in our local shopping mall one summer during high school and the work ethic I helped to instill is, I think, finally showing results. Good work GAP! Keep doting your "Is" and folding your tees.
On a cultural note, I was stunned to read Geoff Colvin's Fortune magasine essay, "Are Americans too Lazy?" In his piece he argued that Americans, by "Global standards," were actually working fewer productive hours than most other countries in the world, and that a hard week's worth of work - 48 or more hours - was almost a thing of the past. He said that Americans don't want to believe that research shows "that we're working much less than we used to." I want to officially take issue with this finding. Admittedly, I'm a pundit and a specialist, so I don't qualify as a factory worker or landscaper. My high education in the field of Faking Smart! allows me certain pundit perks that others often wont see or understand. I do want to say, however, that I spend 60-70 hard hours of work writing this column each week for the FSRI and that I'm proud of my efforts. Yes, my paycheck is small - nearly nonexistent - but I'm American and I'll take my flat wage so long as my conscience remains clean.
Finally, an eulogy for Krispy Kreme. Yes, Great Circle Family Foods, the once largest franchisee of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., has filed for bankruptcy owing as much as $100 million to as many as 199 creditors. Apparently the "healthy living" movement has taken a bite out of this doughnut powerhouse's bottom line signifying and end of an era. No more will those delicious rings of surgar and trans-fats grace our office break-room tables - no longer will policemen have an excuse to dawdle. Yes, the doughnut may be dead, but love-handles will live on ...and the American may be all the better for it.
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Wishing you a Happy Saturday! Keep the articles coming!
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