Archive for the ‘Ethan Allen’ Category

Nobody Wants to Say “Recession,” Especially the Fed

January 10, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 10, 2008
Updated 1700 Eastern Time USA

Home sales are in crisis, unemployment benefit applications are at an all time high, and retail sales in December were the worst in 5 years.  Recession? 

The Federal Reserve says no. 

The Wall Street traders we spoke to said, “Yes.  Absolutely.  To say the U.S. is not in a recession is to deny the trouble — the problem — and not face the urgency of our difficult times.  The question is not ‘Are we in a recession?’  The question is ‘When will it end?'”

Home furnishings manufacturer and retailer Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. plans to close 12 retail stores and two service centers, cutting operating costs amid a slowdown in the housing market.

Retail sales in December wore the worst in five years.

Although WalMart and Costco booked small gains in December sales (between 2 and 4%); their earnings reports were seen by analysts that shoppers were turning to more cost effective products like bulk food supplies.

Concerns about higher gasoline prices and food costs as well as declines in the credit and housing markets have reduced shoppers’ mall trips and made them tighten their purse strings, analysts said.
A lack of must-have fashion items over the holiday sales season also hurt the appetite for apparel buying, they said.Retailers, while trying to keep inventory lean at the start of the season, have been pressured to give more discounts to clear unsold merchandise, pressuring profit margins, investors said.

All the “higher-end” retail stores reported sharp drops in December sales: some over 10%.

Macy’s sales declined 7.9%, worse than a 6.5% drop expected by analysts and missing the company’s own forecast of a drop of 4% to 7%. The department store retailer forecast fourth-quarter profit to be at the low end of its forecast range of down 2% to up 1%. It sees January sales to decline by 4% to 6%.

Hiring stagnated in December, pushing the unemployment rate up to 5 percent, a two-year high.

Financial analysts are loathe to use the word “recession.”

One TV financial expert told Peace and Freedom, “If I say on TV that the U.S. is in a recession, every corporate man that expected to hire three people today might only hire one. Using the word recession typically means consumer and business spending will decline some simply because of the psychological impact of that awful word ‘recession.’”

Interet rates will likely be cut to improve buying and boost the economy.
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Fed ready to cut interest rates again

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer 
January 10, 2008
1300 Eastern USA
 

WASHINGTON – (AP)  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged Thursday to slash interest rates yet again to prevent housing and credit problems from plunging the country into a recession.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addresses a housing and ...
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addresses a housing and economic forum, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 in Washington. Even though he said the Fed would lower interest rates, he refused to admit that the US was in a recession.  Wall Street traders said he did not understand the problem or the urgency.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080110/ap_on_bi_ge/
bernanke_21

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