A lot of stock investors spend their days mindlessly following the ebb and flow of red and green tickers on their computer screens. Me? I prefer to mindlessly follow the ebb and flow of good and bad news as it appears on the wire services.
Take just one hour yesterday, for example. As I scanned the wires, two items popped up -- and neither one was good news:
Item No. 1
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Goldman Sachs
Item No. 2
Meanwhile, over at Wachovia Bank
Wachovia predicts that the Great Recession of 2008 will rival those of 1973 and 1981 in severity. It will, Wachovia says, slash GDP for four quarters in succession, drop the bottom out of consumer demand, and push U.S. unemployment to its highest peak since 1983 -- 9% at the nadir in 2010.
Bearing in mind the caveat that economists are human and -- rightly or wrongly -- tend to project the recent past into the distant future, the DOE and Wachovia projections sure sound bad. Worse, they tally up perfectly. Fewer people working means fewer people buying dinosaur juice from ExxonMobil
On the one hand, this could be good news for consumers -- those of 'em that still have jobs, that is. As oil prices fall, we could see a repeal of the fuel surcharges that have popped up everywhere from FedEx
On the other hand, it's probably lousy news for investors like you and me. Unemployment checks and food stamps are lovely while they last. But they don't fund as many shopping sprees at the local Best Buy
Buckle up, people. Sounds like this is gonna be a long ride, and not a whole lot of fun.