A clue as to why Wall Street is confused over latest economic data --- figures and headlines are all over the place, notes Grumpy Editor.
Among headlines from Friday’s newspapers:
Retail buoys economic outlook
Retailers singing ‘Blue Christmas’ as sales fall
Spending jumps in November
The first headline, above, reflects information from the Commerce Department. It reports retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in November from the prior month, marking the biggest gain in five months.
The second headline is based on a report from the National Retail Federation. It estimates the four-day Thanksgiving Day weekend (including Black Friday) dropped 2.9 percent from last year.
The third headline also stems from the Commerce Department report with an Associated Press story adding, “Two straight months of healthy sales suggest steady hiring is encouraging Americans to spend more this holiday season, particularly on big-ticket items.”
The AP piece also quotes an economist who points out the Commerce Department report “suggests that the holiday shopping season began on a strong note.”
The Wall Street Journal, in citing the Commerce Department report, also adds input from an economist who says, “the numbers certainly suggest a stronger trajectory of consumer spending than we had thought."
In case you missed these…
NEW JOURNALISM JOBS LOOM AS LOS ANGELES SOON GETS A NEW DAILY. Aaron Kushner, co-owner and publisher of the Orange County Register says his operation will move into the City of Angels early next year with a new, seven-days-a-week newspaper, the Los Angeles Register, staffed by journalists working in Los Angeles covering local news. Kushner points out more than 200 people were added to his news staff in the past year, more than the size of most newsrooms in the country.
NOT A VERY NICE CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Martha Stewart Living magazine is hit especially hard as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia lays off between 75 and 100 staffers --- about 25 percent of the company’s work force --- 13 days before Christmas.
JOURNALISM MAJOR RETURNS AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY. The College Station school in the Lone Star State is bringing back its journalism major next fall. But it will be "a small, rigorous program limited to 25 entering freshmen per year,” says the university.
LOCAL VS. FOREIGN THINKING BY SAME-CITY EDITORS. A few days after the Las Vegas Review-Journal runs a photo of Santa Claus cavorting with fish in a far-off South Korea tank, the Las Vegas Sun features a full page with five photos of a Sin City Santa swimming with sharks and other fish in the aquarium at nearby Silverton, a Las Vegas casino.
AT LEAST BALLPARK HOT DOGS REMAIN UNCHANGED --- FOR NOW. Taking some of the sport out of the game, baseball’s rules committee votes to outlaw home-plate collisions by 2015. Under the rules, runners would have to (politely?) slide home while catchers, giving runners a clear path, will not be allowed to block home plate.
“HURRY UP AND WAIT” ROUTINE CONTINUES FOR VETERANS. Not widely heralded in national broadcast or print news from Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s home state, is that Nevada veterans shockingly wait an average 433 days to have disability benefits claims completed by the Veterans Administration, according to Dean Heller, the Silver State’s other U.S. senator, a Republican.
NOW IT'S SANTA’S TRANSPORTATION VEHICLE THAT IS THREATENED. While polar bears used to be the great concern of global warming folks, now it’s the Arctic’s alleged reduced number of reindeer that worries them --- and obviously making it tough for Santa.
ONE AWARD THE WHITE HOUSE SNUBS. PolitiFact gives President Obama its “lie of the year” prize for his claim that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.”