Good morning, investors, and welcome back to Breakfast with the Fool. The bagels are toasted and the coffee's hot. Pour yourself a cup of java and grab up a stool, and let's scan the morning papers together.
Blockbuster bullish, not bankrupt
Laughing in the face of bankruptcy fears, Blockbuster
Economy more durable than expected
Turning now from virtual, ether-borne entertainment to something a bit more substantial, early this morning the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that that orders for cars, airplanes, household appliances, furniture, and other U.S.-made "durable goods" increased 3.4% in February. Granted, "3.4" may not sound like a big number when most headlines these days are denominated in the trillions. But here's the good news: Wall Street expected a 1% to 2% decline in durable goods orders, which have been hurt especially by a precipitous decline in new plane orders from Boeing
FedEx Fred feeling frisky?
Between the higher durable goods activity and a concurrent Commerce conclusion that industry inventories dropped 0.9% in February (implying a greater need to restock those inventories in the future), FedEx
Before buying into the happy talk, however, take note: Even as February's numbers changed color from red to green this morning, Commerce revised its January numbers lower, escalating the previous estimate of a 4.5% January drop to 7.3%.
A more cynical Fool than I might wonder whether Commerce engaged in some "creative accounting" to shift production from January into February -- thus breaking a six-month string of "down" months for durables and "showing progress." But even investors totally devoid of cynicism should take note: Durable goods estimates are sequential in nature. They show how production is trending month-over-month, and so are subject to seasonal fluctuations. Compare apples to apples, however, and it's worth pointing out that February 2009's numbers are still down 28.4% from February 2008.
Hang tight, Fools. We're not out of this mess yet.
How long will it be till reality begins to resemble Wednesday's good "news"? Your guess is as good as ours ... so post your thoughts below, and Fool on!
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Boeing. Home Depot and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. FedEx and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.