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Wednesday's Business News

Retail Sales

Growth in retail sales has been outpacing inflation by a wide margin.

On a year-over-year basis retail sales in October were up 5.2%. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of all economic activity.

The inflation numbers get released on Thursday; year-over-year inflation probably will be in the range of 3.3%

Electric Eye

Here's a link to a very good article from the Associated Press -- sans bias and devoid of any agenda -- concerning illegal immigrants, DHS' biometrics technology, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the US-VISIT database.

As they say, read the whole thing.


Meritage Homes has a price-to-book ratio of 0.4. Meaning that if you bought the company today you paid only 40 cents for every dollar of net assets. The stock could rise 120% and it still would be trading at a discount to book value.

The company has a price-to-sales ratio of 0.2. Meaning that you're prospectively paying only 20 cents for every dollar of gross revenue.

Meritage is one of the best homebuilders in the country; with one of the strongest balance sheets in that beaten-down sector. So far this calendar year the price of the company's shares has plunged nearly by 70%.

So, ergo:

1. Read "The Theory of Investment Value," by John Williams.
2. Be guided accordingly.

The Pits for Spitz

Eliot Spitzer had a really, really bad day.

In addition to dropping that brain dead plan for drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants (discussed below) he was compelled to put the kibbosh on a scheme to grab extra sales taxes from online Christmas shoppers.

Here's a link to a decent enough article on the sales tax issue.

Heading Out to the Highway (to Nowhere)

The media/Democrat U.S. House passed a pork spending bill today for the Departments of Transportation and HUD:

225 / 225 - 100% - Democrats in favor of more DOT and HUD spending
45 / 192 - 23% - Republicans in favor of more DOT and HUD spending

0 / 225 - 0% - Democrats opposed to more DOT and HUD spending
147 / 192 - 77% - Republicans opposed to more DOT and HUD spending

270-147, in favor

The Senate will take up the matter either this week or next.

In any event, the Prez will be vetoing that bill. It's above his desired spending cap. Obviously there are insufficient votes for an override.


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