Quick News Hits

Just two quick comments on today’s new as it was pretty much the same ‘ol thing today:

WSJ: “American Express Co. said its customers reduced spending by 10% in the fourth quarter, sending its quarterly net income down 79% in what the credit-card company’s chief executive called ‘an operating environment that was among the harshest we have seen in decades.'”

Clearly, the American consumer is contracting.

NYT: “Home prices in November dropped 18.2 percent from a year earlier, not quite as bad as economists had expected, but still the steepest plunge on record, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Prices in 11 of the 20 metropolitan areas surveyed fell at record rates, and 14 areas reported double-digit declines from November 2007.

The 20-city index for November fell to 154.59, its lowest point since January 2004.

“The disappointing news is that the declines are still accelerating,” said Adam York, an economic analyst at Wachovia. “It emphasizes just how much stress the housing market is under.”

Maybe the Fed really does have it right this time and the worst is still in front on us.


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