New orders for U.S. factory goods fell in April for the third time in four months as demand slipped for everything from cars and machinery to computers, the latest worrisome sign for the economic recovery.2. That win by Tiger was incredible.
The Commerce Department said on Monday orders for manufactured goods dropped 0.6 percent during the month. The government also revised its estimate for new orders in March to show a steeper decline.
Economists had forecast orders rising 0.2 percent in April.The report showed broad weakness in a sector that has carried the economic recovery, adding to a growing body of soft economic data.
3. Another great article in the WSJ: with yet another spring, another slowdown, perhaps time to re-think some policies. Again, another well-written article. I am impressed how well "they" can analyze the situation, write a well-articulated argument, and then get it published (and delivered to my front door).
Well, this week makes it official. The weakest economic recovery since World War II has become weaker still, sinking into a spring slowdown for the third year in a row. Are we finally ready to debate a change in the policies that have led to this pass?4. We went to one of upscale malls in the Boston area yesterday, the Natick mall. I had not been to a mall in a long, long time. It was fairly busy for a Sunday. There might have been about three people, on average, in any given store in the mall, except for the ... drum roll ... the Apple store. It was again, pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder, but in all fairness, it's a pretty small Apple store. But wow, talk about busy. While in the mall we had sushi at Wasabi-Natick, probably one of the better sushi restaurants I've visited in a long time. It's a "conveyor-belt" sushi bar. Very nice. I obviously don't agree with the reviews.
On Thursday the government reported that growth in the first quarter was 1.9%, even weaker than the 2.2% initial estimate. Then Friday delivered the third slower jobs report in a row, which qualifies as a depressing trend. Employers created only 69,000 net new jobs in May, and April's total was revised down to 77,000 jobs. Stocks were crushed in the backwash.
Earlier in the day my son-in-law and I discussed the future of brick-and-mortar in an iPhone world. He had gone to Wal-Mart last weekend to buy two new bicycles for the granddaughters. A fair number of bikes, but not the ones they wanted. So, they got the measurements and then went home and ordered on-line (including one from Wal-Mart). Two immediate thoughts where brick-and-mortar have a disadvantage: a) in-store inventory; and, b) customer service. With regard to customer service: b-a-m staff cannot easily tell when a customer is serious about buying and when a customer is just looking. If a buyer is serious and customer service is lacking, today's generation will move on. And, of course, Wal-Mart is not known for customer service. Not much one can say about in-store inventory. That's a challenge for items that take up a lot of space. iPads, iPhones, MacAirs don't take up much space. An $80 bike vs an $800 iPad.
5. I love this digital world. I am always looking for classical music that I can enjoy. My wife and younger granddaughter (age 5) prefer classical music when driving. The older granddaughter doesn't mind much what is playing; I prefer almost anything to classical, but I am willing to listen to some classical and I do enjoy some classical music. Yesterday I was reading ancient history on the Mediterranean Sea, reading about Dido (Elissa) again, and wanted to check something out on wiki. To make a long, long story story, I found the following.
The entire opera can be found here.
6. I still think it will be a Spurs-Miami Heat NBA championship series, but I'm beginning to wonder if it might not be Spurs-Boston, or even possibly OKC-Boston. Right now, I would favor slight odds on an OKC-Miami Heat face-off.
7. Some years ago I opined, but never had a forum to post, that in the on-going push and pull of government and free market capitalism, I suggested that over time the government would become more and more irrelevant. Just moments ago 2:04 p.m., Monday) a CNBC talking head asked if the government was becoming irrelevant with regard to economic issues facing us. Irrelevant. Hmmm.