Blacker Friday? Job losses in November were the worst since 1974, as U.S. employers cut payrolls by 533,000. Mortgage loan delinquencies and foreclosures hit record highs in the third quarter — though one economist told CNBC he sees the damage tempered by falling mortgage rates. Merrill Lynch cut its oil forecast to $50 a barrel from a previous $90, saying a temporary downspike of $25 is even possible. But one analyst praised the oil plunge as the equivalent of a "huge tax cut."
Historic Oil-Price Collapse = Consumer Windfall
Cameron Hanover's Peter Beutel said the bear market, which usually takes as long as eight years to play out, seems to be playing out this time in six months or less. At today's prices, he said, we are effectively returning the equivalent of $600-$700 billion to consumers on an annualized basis. "It's like a huge tax cut," he said.
Dismal Jobs Report Kills Retail Gains
Art Hogan of Jefferies called the November jobs report "eye-poppingly bad," saying it destroys the possibility of improved consumer confidence. The jobs report washes out the positive impact of last Friday's strong opening of the holiday shopping season. On the positive side, it is so bad that it may fast-track government help, removing political resistance.
Wee Bright Spot: Mortgage Rates Dropping
Falling mortgage-interest rates are an encouraging sign, said ITG chief economist Robert Barbera. He believes a big decline in rates can stabilize the housing market — but that will take time, so as much as $600 billion worth of tax cuts will be needed as well.
Worst in Our Lifetimes? Buy Anyway
Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, said leading indicators show the economy going off a cliff, the worst numbers he has ever seen. But RidgeWorth Capital Management's Alan Gayle said that he's ready to put some money to work in the domestic markets, because things have sold off so much already.
Show Him Something New — Then He'll Believe
Michael Woolfolk of Bank of New York Mellon says he's a "top-down economist" — so it'll take industrial innovation on the scale of Google , Microsoft , or Yahoo to get him positive about job creation and the economy again.Until then, he sees a "terrible situation" where profits are thin to non-existent.
CNBC's Companies in the News:
- Goldman Sachs