Economic Outlook: W.W.W.B.D.?

By ANTHONY HALL, United Press International  |  Dec. 13, 2011 at 10:16 AM
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W.W.W.B.D? That's right: What would Warren Buffett do?

It is only a few weeks after Black Friday set a record for sales at $11.4 billion. It is only a week away from a generous drop in the unemployment rate, which two months back stood at 9.1 -- where it had lingered for months -- slipping with some satisfaction down to 8.6 percent. The labor market appears ready to add jobs with the same kind of gusto -- that is, mediocre gusto at best -- that defined the first four months of the year -- months in which the word "recovery" didn't catch in one's throat.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday Macroeconomic Advisers and Goldman Sachs had both raised their forecasts for economic growth for the fourth quarter, the former raising their estimate from 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent, while the later raised its estimate significantly from 2.4 percent to 3.4 percent.

In step with that improved optimism, Nomura Global Economics raised its fourth quarter estimate from 3.7 percent growth to 3.9 percent.

In October, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose 0.9 percent, far higher than expected. Growth in manufacturing gained speed in November, the index that breaks even at 50 rising from 50.8 to 52.7, the Institute of Supply Management said.

In the same month, sales at Chrysler rose 45 percent from November 2010 while sales at Ford rose 13 percent and sales at General Motors were up 7 percent from 12 months earlier.

Where are stocks? Where were they two months ago?

In the first week of October, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 10,655. On Monday, the Dow closed at 12,125.

Warren Buffett has explained many times what he does: He buys low and sells high, loves a bargain and rarely, if ever, makes a short bet. Every transaction, at least in intent, is geared toward the long-term.

The point, moreover, is that the impression that markets have been pummeled of late, as the European debt crisis drags on is not, per se, accurate. The euro on Oct. 3 fell to $1.3184. On Monday, the euro stood at $1.3205. So the euro is not dead yet, either.

In international markets Tuesday, the Nikkei 225 index fell 1.17 percent while the Shanghai composite index in China dropped 1.87 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong shed 0.69 percent while the Sensex in India added 0.83 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia lost 1.4 percent.

In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 added 1.39 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany gained 1.03 percent. The CAC 40 in France gained 0.37 percent while the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.9 percent.

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