Getting to Love “The Same Ole’ Same Ole’ (YahooFinance)
For the last couple of months, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could have turned over the podium to a parrot to deliver a summary of the monthly Fed meeting. That’s how predictable these post-meeting addresses have become. Perhaps, until there is a significant change to report, the Fed could bring in a guest speaker to deliver the almost-rote report: “While there are numerous indications that America’s economic recovery is still gaining momentum, at this time we don’t anticipate a reduction in the government’s $85 billion a month stimulus program.” And that would be just fine for investors, as you won’t find many of us that mind the pattern of almost-weekly new market highs. Here’s hoping the next time we see “Helicopter Ben” he’s accompanied by his newest assistant, Polly.
A Steak Through the Heart of Consumers (Bloomberg)
Rising feed costs have resulted in U.S. beef production hitting a 21-year low and have forced ranchers into making a tough decision. They can either cut herd size or swallow the price increases. And in this economy, that’s really no choice. So, for the fourth year in a row, beef production has been cut. According to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg, this will result in the smallest herd since 1973. Last summer’s drought is still to blame, and will continue to be the villain until the summer of 2014. This is because it takes a full two years to raise enough cattle to actually increase the supply of “slaughterable” beef. In the meantime, carnivores will have to eat higher prices while consumers may want to scour the market for leftovers.
For Optimistic Investors, We Present the European Banking Sector (CNBC)
With 17 countries all contributing to define the current state of the European Community’s (EU) economy, it’s understandable that investors could be left scratching their heads when it comes to which reports to believe. But not if you’re one of those “glass-is-half-full” investors, as you don’t need to look far for optimistic reports. For example, earnings for the second quarter of 2013 clearly reflect strengthening conditions in both France and England, as far as banking goes. French bank, Societe Generale, reported earnings that more than doubled 2012’s same-quarter figures. Lloyds delivered similar results, when the English bank confirmed reports that it returned to profitability in the first half of this year. So, all’s well and on target for an EU recovery, right? Well, don’t bet on it, just yet.