The modification to the current one-child policy, which I recently discussed in these pages, will help create an even bigger middle class in the country that will drive up the demand for goods and services. (Read “China’s Expected Baby Boom a Boon for U.S. Business.”)
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has become more bullish on China, and predicts Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) growth will rise to 8.2% in 2014, driven by a rise in domestic consumer spending. (Source: “OECD sees China growth accelerating in 2014,” China Daily, November 20, 2013.) The OECD even goes as far as to say the Chinese economy could surpass the U.S. economy to become the world’s biggest economy by 2016. While this is faster than I expect, it’s clearly not impossible, given the rise in income levels and spending.
The middle class in China will drive the economic engine of the country, unlike what we are seeing in America with the declining spending prowess of the middle class. In fact, what we are seeing in China is similar to the power of the U.S. middle class that drove the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
If China can emulate what happened in the U.S. then, there could be some golden years ahead for the Chinese economy.
To play the expected rise in consumer spending in China, which is increasing at double-digit rates and is likely to … Read More
Black Friday is less than two weeks away, and I sense there’s increasing nervousness in the retail sector. For some, this weekend of spending accounts for over 50% of annual sales.
Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE/M) reported a strong fiscal first quarter in which it beat the Thomson Financial earnings-per-share (EPS) consensus estimate by $0.08 per diluted share or 20%. But while Macy’s offers investors some hope, the good news was short-lived, as the stock’s results may have had more to do with the company’s own success than a strong retail sector.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE/WMT) and Kohls Corporation (NYSE/KSS) followed suit with soft reports that left investors worried about the strength of the holiday shopping season.
In the case of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer reported a 0.1% decline in comparable U.S. store sales (without fuel) for the 13 weeks ended October 25, down from 1.7% growth a year earlier. For the 39 weeks ended October 25, Wal-Mart saw its U.S. sales contract by 0.4%, versus 2.4% growth in the year-earlier period. The result from Wal-Mart raises some red flags for the retail sector as we head into what is the most critical shopping time of the year.
Mike Duke, president and CEO of Wal-Mart, noted in the company’s quarterly report that the retail sector is “competitive.”
Wal-Mart also doesn’t appear to be too optimistic going forward and that makes me nervous, since the company is a good barometer … Read More
While the mainstream media and politicians are telling us the economy is improving…key economic indicators point to a global economy headed the wrong way.
The Baltic Dry Index is an indicator of demand in the global economy. If the Baltic Dry Index is declining, it means the global demand for goods is softening. When you look at the chart below, you’ll see the devastated Baltic Dry Index—the index is saying demand never came back after the credit crisis of 2008.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Another key indicator for growth in the global economy is the major stock Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE/CAT)—a worldwide company involved in the capital goods sector.
Caterpillar is a bellwether stock because it gauges the activity of capital goods companies in the global economy. If these companies are not investing in new projects or upgrading their older equipment, it suggests the companies have a pessimistic forward-looking bias.
Below is a chart I’ve created for my readers that compares Caterpillar’s revenue growth to the growth rate of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
You can clearly see the relationship between the GDP of the global economy and Caterpillar’s revenue growth—they move very closely in line with each other.
Not long ago, Caterpillar issued its third-quarter corporate earnings. The company’s corporate earnings per share plummeted more than 42% compared to the same quarter a year ago—$1.45 per share compared to $2.54 in the third quarter of 2012. Caterpillar’s revenues plunged more than 18%, coming in at $13.42 billion compared to … Read More
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