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This Week's Business News

Federal Spending & Revenue

Spending is flat. Tax receipts are up. The deficit is down.

That's all based upon what the prior Congress did.

Um, yeah, that Congress.

Hydrogen Cars

Ford Motor Co. announced internal-combustion hydrogen vehicles would be ready for market in as few as three years. It also declared cell-based hydrogen cars would be ready as soon as 2015.

It'll be interesting to follow that story over the next decade.

There's the issue whether there actually will be consumer demand for those products.

Of course there's the issue whether oil and gas prices will shift and render moot the entire program.

It remains to be seen whether rich liberal malcontents will ditch their SUVs and sports cars and spend their (inherited) dollars on environmentally-friendly automobiles.

Finally there's the question whether anybody out there will make the connection between the landmark Energy Reform Act -- passed in 2005 by the GOP Congress largely along party lines -- and the stepped-up development across the country of alternative energy sources, e.g., liquified natural gas terminals, geothermal wells, ethanol, the aforementioned hydrogen cars, wind farms, bio-fuels, solar power, hydroelectric, etc.

Company Layoffs

330,000 -- 4-week avg. of initial jobless claims, July 5, 1997
318,000 -- 4-week avg. of initial jobless claims, July 7, 2007

That's true -- fewer people today are being laid off from their jobs when compared to the same period 10 years ago. That's despite the fact total net employment today is greater by well over 16 million persons.

If Lou Dobbs knew about those numbers he'd act out like Leatherface in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Options and Futures

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade will merge. That combination will create one of the world's largest exchanges.

I love the smell of capitalism in the morning.

Free Trade

Speaking of capitalism, Panama's legislature ignored the protests of lunatic leftists and union-bots and approved a free trade pact with Uncle Sam. If the media/Democrat Congress agrees that will mark the 9th free trade law enacted since you know who stole the Whitehouse.

What's your take on that, Buchanan?

Oh, right, never mind.

Retail Sales -- Mr. Market

Better-than-expected sales data for large chain stores forced many short-sellers to "cover," thereby sparking a big-cap stock market rally. The Dow and S&P 500 set new record highs.

Overall retail sales in June fell 0.9%, following a 1.5% gain in May.

I think the stock markets are drunk.

But I have no problem whatsoever with them making me gobs of money. Hell, if Mr. Market wants to belly up to the bar I'll gladly serve him a double.

Business Makes for Strange Bedfellows

Energizer Holdings will purchase Playtex.

There's no doubt the late Lenny Bruce could have done an uproarious bit regarding a maker of batteries getting together with a company that makes, well, you know.

I'll demur, however.


Boeing's next-generation commercial airliner debuted this week.

It's the first aircraft of its kind made from composite materials instead of aluminum. Billions of dollars in orders already have been granted. Once again Boeing has left behind its EUro rival, Airbus.

Speaking of Boeing, in March 2003 -- while the Lithium brigades were screaming on CNBC about gloom and doom -- Boeing's share price was under $30. Yesterday the stock closed at $100.78.

$30 - 2003.
$100 - 2007.

Now, that's some capital appreciation, huh?

Proving yet again the fundamental truth of investing:

Buy low. Sell high.

Not vice-versa.

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Comments (5)

I'll have to admit I don't ... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

I'll have to admit I don't mind seeing the short sellers lose. In general, I'm pretty much a free-market type, but if I had my way, short selling would be restricted.

I'm pretty leery of the hydrogen cars. Besides the safety issues, I'm wondering where the hydrogen is actually going to come from. Everyone thinks that there is some magical way of separating hydrogen from water. The truth is, nearly all commercial hydrogen production comes from reforming petroleum and natural gas. The cars themselves might be efficient, but it's entirely possible that when you look at the entire production chain, it's actually less efficient than it would be to just burn gasoline or LNG. The reasons are (1) the amount of energy that has to be put into liberating the hydrogen in the reforming process, and (2) the carbon that is, in effect, discarded along with its potential energy. Barring the invention of some new techlonogy, the only way I see hydrogen being more efficient is if a bunch of nuke plants are built to produce electricity with which to disassociate water for the hydrogen.

Oh yes, and I've been holding on to some Boeing stock options since 2002. They're worth a nice chunk of change now.

Fantastic info...I have bee... (Below threshold)

Fantastic info...I have been very interested in thermal energy as of late, especially after Gov. Schwarzenegger formed a bill into law that set a CO2 limit on coal plants as a future source of electricity in the West Coast market. This is a good (early) time for geothermal energy production.

I would also recommend this report to everyone...



Hooverville!... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:


Great info, but it would be... (Below threshold)
E. T.:

Great info, but it would be nice if you would link to the raw data.

Short selling actually prov... (Below threshold)

Short selling actually provides a useful check on the market. It's risky business, though: if you buy a stock for $25 per share, your maximum loss is that $25 if it goes to zero; selling a stock short at $25, though, carries an unlimited risk as you lose $1 for every $1 the stock rises, no matter how high it goes, until you buy it back.

Thanks again, Jayson, for posting the actual data in contradiction to the media meme, no doubt at great personal risk. If you see Maureen Dowd enter the restaurant where you are dining dressed in a trench coat, excuse yourself, and go out the back through the kitchen.

Come to think of it, that's pretty good advice for anybody.






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