Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not the 80's.

So the 3rd QRT GDP grew by 3.5%. I'd love to know what percent of that growth happened in September, the 90 Pound Weakling.

I'm trying to figure out the economy, again. Both locally and nationally.

If I had a liquid way to do it, my instinct would be to pull out of the stock market right now, and wait for a 20% correction. But since I'm in this for the next 10 years or so, I'll just sit on it.

I'm wondering if I can take, say, 20% of my total investment and put in and take it out on my own timing. With the theory that as a small business owner I can get early warning signs.

Headlines like, "Stock Market Reacts to GDP News" is exactly what I was expecting back in August when I realized that -- to beat last year, I had to beat one of the worst months ever. Not hard to do. And just as Sept. was a 90 pound weakling, so was the following 11 months, so we've got easy goalposts to reach for awhile yet.

We had a nice little boost in the economy from March until now. Obama Hope, the stimulus, the Cash for Clunkers, the stock market rise, and -- most importantly for me, a slowing down of the decline in business in summer and an actual uptick in in sales this fall.

And we had our season in the sun -- if we're going to see any good business, it will be in late spring through early fall, then at Christmas. Jan. thru April are pretty much dead zones, though, as is mid-fall. So, sure. Business was better. Kicking sand in the face of the 90 pound weakling.

This last week has really sucked, though. I may still beat last year for the month of October, which was actually a pretty good month (the last 'pretty good' month in a year); last Nov. was so weak, I may be able to beat it too, and ditto December.

So things are looking up?

I guess if you think getting out of the wheelchair and into the crutches is looking up, then yes. Far from the long distance running we were doing a few years ago.

So it's time to take a step back and a hard, cold look at the local economy.

This mornings paper seems to me to be full of portents and omens. Thornburgh facing foreclosure; (by the way, Bulletin, why isn't this news in the business section?); Cascade Bancorp getting another warning from the Feds. Were they really thinking about paying out dividends? Weird stuff going on there. For a while, there was a pretty clear pattern of the stock sliding down in the first part of the week, only to jump up just before the dreaded Friday. (FDIC seems to always move in on Fridays.) This week there was a huge jump early in the week, which is fading.

Anyway, I loved the way Patricia Moss reacted to this latest warning: "the agreement"...."is similar to a cease and desist order filed"..."in August." Nothing new here, we're dealing with it, move on. Yet I can't help but think it's significant that the FDIC felt it necessary to issue another 'agreement.' I also wonder how they are going to simply raise 70 million; it isn't like every other bank on the problem list didn't try to do the same thing. Maybe Bend is different. Heh.

As if to point up the parallels to the '80's, there is an article about the founder of Bend Mercantile. What I noticed was, it was one of the many 70's businesses that the Reagan recession caught; what I have also noticed, in this case among others, is that these same business people often were able to move elsewhere and have success. Bend really was different, as in worse, in those days.

Are those days coming again? Not from the number of stores that keep opening downtown. I think we're pretty well established as a destination tourism center now -- we may see a slowdown, but we aren't starting from scratch anymore. Our population is so much bigger. Money did move into town; money was created as well as destroyed.

So not so much the '80's.

Something different.

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