The Independent Market Observer

Celebrate Labor by Not Working

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CFP®

Find me on:

This entry was posted on Aug 31, 2012 12:52:09 PM

and tagged Europe, Politics and the Economy

Leave a comment

Politics made the front pages again, but Isaac got moved back. “Romney Vows to Deliver the Country from Economic Travails” and “A Suitor Makes the Case for Divorce” in the New York Times (NYT) and “Romney Vows to ‘Restore’ US” and “After the Celebrating, the Race Moves to Battleground States” in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) pretty much sum up the political news, while “Storm Weakens But Still is Wreaking Havoc in the South,” (NYT, p. A20) and “Reckoning With Isaac” (WSJ, p. A3) are pretty self-explanatory. The Financial Times (FT) passed on Isaac completely but did have political analysis on page 2, with “Health insurance scheme for elderly rises to top of agenda” and “Parties prepare for tightest of votes in Florida’s bellwether area.” You can see the transition from the convention coverage to the race coverage, from hype to real analysis. Should be a very interesting fall. Once again, I recommend Nate Silver at the NYT as an excellent political analyst.

Europe is the other major meta-story. The deadline is coming near for many European issues, with “Judgment Days Arrive for Euro Crisis” in the WSJ (p. A16) and “Eurozone banks facing sweeping regulation” in the FT (p. 1). In the next two weeks, we have several critical events scheduled in Europe. On September 6, the European Central Bank meets and is widely expected to announce a bond-buying program to support the government bond markets; on September 9, Greece presents its latest attempt at budget cuts; and on September 12, Germany’s constitutional court rules on the legality of the bailout fund and Dutch elections take place, which will probably result in a change of government. I have no doubt I will be hitting all of these issues here in the blog, probably at length.

There are also several other stories worth a look. An interesting study was reported in the NYT, “Majority of Jobs Added in the Recovery Pay Low Wages, Study Finds” (p. B1). Many lower wage jobs are harder to offshore—food service, for example—and many middle jobs are getting easier to offshore, leading to lower average wages overall and especially for new jobs. This is definitely a trend to keep an eye on. We have more cracks emerging in yet another financial market. “Plague of Broken Contracts Frays Cotton Market” in the WSJ (p. A1) shows more problems emerging and being resolved. Protectionism shows up again in “Merkel urges diplomacy to resolve solar panel trade battle with Beijing,” in the FT (p. 1).

Looking forward, we have Ben Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech, which I will certainly be discussing, as well as an interesting article on page 1 of the FT, “Mideast energy companies come under attack from computer virus.” Cyber war is here, and the targets are economic. Stuxnet was just the first wave.

I am cutting it a bit short, as I prepare to celebrate Labor Day by not working, along with most everyone else in the country. I wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends.

Have a great day!

Subscribe via Email

New call-to-action
Crash-Test Investing

Hot Topics

New Call-to-action



see all



The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.

The MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australia, Far East) Index is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.

One basis point (bp) is equal to 1/100th of 1 percent, or 0.01 percent.

The VIX (CBOE Volatility Index) measures the market’s expectation of 30-day volatility across a wide range of S&P 500 options.

The forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio divides the current share price of the index by its estimated future earnings.

Third-party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided on these websites. Information on such sites, including third-party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption by Commonwealth of any kind. You should consult with a financial advisor regarding your specific situation.


Please review our Terms of Use

Commonwealth Financial Network®