When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekly Good News Wrap - July 12-18

  • Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: Roubini, Jobs, Banks, and More

    Posted: Sat, 18 Jul 2009 00:00:00 +0000

    The immortal words of Gomer Pyle rang out in financial headline after headline this week, "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!"

    First the banking sector became awash in surprisingly good news. Four of the US top banks smashed all earnings estimates and posted collective net profits of $13.6B for the second quarter.

    Bank of America (BAC) posted a profit of $3.2B
    Citigroup(C): $4.3B
    Goldman Sachs (GS): $3.4B
    JP Morgan Chase (JPM): $2.7B

    The technology sector followed with Intel's surprise. It posted its best quarter over quarter sales increase since 1988. Further, the chip leader formally asserted that this current quarter ending in Sept, will be significantly stronger than any analysts had even dreamed of. IBM also added its vote of Q3 confidence later in the week.

    And there was more surprisingly good news in the jobs data Thursday. The number of initial claims in the week ending July 11 fell 47,000 to 522,000 - the lowest level since early January. The data for continuing claims also fell by 642,000 -- the largest drop on record! This huge downward surprise even pulled the four-week moving average of these continuing unemployment claims down by 110,250.

    And then on Friday, the housing market chimed in with surprises of its own. Contractors started building single-family homes at the fastest rate in 4-1/2 years. "The bond market was completely caught off guard by the increase in housing starts," said Jane Caron, chief economic strategist at Dwight Asset Management in Burlington VT.

    And stocks surprised most strategists as well. Just last week many had forecast stocks to continue their recent declines (or at least continue to move sideways). Q2 earnings jitters dominated the news. But as markets closed on Friday, many traders were left scratching their heads as the Dow rocketed to its best weekly gain since March, closing within easy striking distance of the 9000 mark.

    But perhaps the mother of all surprises this week came from the bear of all bears, Doctor Doom, Nouriel Roubini. Just last week the ultra depressing economic prognosticator wrote an article "Brown Manure, Not Green Shoots." But this week in a significant flip, flop, Roubini actually stated, "the worst of the worst is behind us." (He later of course whined that his words were taken out of context.)

    Gomer Pyle frequently exasperated his immediate supervisor Sergeant Carter with the Private's Pollyanna-style demeanor. With positive economic surprises everywhere, it is no surprise that Roubini feels a bit frustratedas well.
  • Lackluster Recovery? Not According to Intel

    Posted: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 02:52:00 +0000

    Many economists have claimed that as recovery begins in the current economic cycle that the rebound will be lifeless.

    However several economists and indices argue that many times deeper than average recessions are followed by a significant economic rebounds.

    As this current earnings seasons begins, Intel agrees. On Tuesday the technology leader boosted its formal guidance for revenue in this quarter by $1B beyond consensus estimates. The strong third quarter prediction follows a 12 percent jump in second-quarter sales from Q1 results. It was Intel's largest quarterly sequential increase in sales since 1988.

    "It was a superb quarter for them." said Patrick Wang, a New York-based analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "Intel’s results reflect the stabilizing environment."

    Intel's stock was up significantly in after hours trading. US stock futures also jumped late Tuesday and trading in Asian markets rallied strongly early Wednesday morning.

    With initial unemployment claims at their lowest level since January, investors positioning capital for commercial real estate buys, and firms like Alcoa and Intel shattering earnings and revenue estimates, it appears that this recovery could be anything but lusterless.

  • Recession-Proof Jobs - Part 2

    Posted: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 22:02:00 +0000

    Even though recovery has begun many job seekers continue to be effected by the recession just past. Many are beginning or in the midst of their search for new careers. I've written about recession proof jobs, careers and industries before, but here is yet another look.

    - Jobs that Protect Life and Property – Jobs like firefighters, paramedics, police officers, 9-1-1 dispatchers, and other security staff are always in demand. In state and local budgets, these personnel are likely the last to be cut in the case of staff reductions.

    - Health Services – Nurses, doctors, psychologists and psychotherapists are always in high demand. Additional caregivers and medical assistants, particularly home health assistants are growing in demand.

    - Legal Jobs – The legal services sector seems to always be strong. Lawyers and paralegals in the claims and compensation sectors, or those dealing with bankruptcies, and contractual disputes usually see more work during recessions.

    - Repair Techs – Skilled service techs like plumbers, electricians and auto mechanics typically do not lose their jobs during recessions. When new houses are not being built or new cars not bought, emergency home and auto repairs become vital. As homes and cars age they need to be servicing with greater incidence.

    - Personal Care Professionals – Barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists typically are not effected during economic down drafts.

    - Energy Jobs - The real boost in these jobs will come from federal and state government commitments to a more efficient energy systems. Power plant operators with vocational training, insulation works with secondary education and electrical power-line installers and repairers are likely to have jobs as energy demands continue to increase.

    - Green Jobs - With nationwide push to make homes and office buildings more energy-efficient and the drive to develop alternative energy sources (solar, wind, nuclear) as well as fuel cell technology, any job involved with wind power, either the design or related products, will likely be recession proof. Environmental scientists, environmental engineers and hydrologists are all great choices.

    - Sales and Marketing – Businesses need to market more aggressively in hard times. Skilled marketing and salespeople working on commission pay basis always keep their jobs even during the recession days.

    - Education – The need for trained educators and their support personnel are frequently highly sought after even during economic dips. A review of the professions listed above yields the need for training in these recession proof occupations. As job seekers look to transition to other careers, demand for teaching professionals increases dramatically.

    For more specifics on 150 careers, their average salaries, and the growth potential of each, have a look at the Time article titled, "The 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs Overall" or the excellent book, "150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs."

    You may also remember that these 28 national firms are offering over 50,000 jobs. And these firms say, "No Layoffs - Ever!"

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