Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lunchtime news break: a thank you & more financial news

First, a thank you to TNM readers for not completely abandoning the site yesterday. I know that when TNM strays from posts about new media apps, websites, and the like the traffic numbers sometimes suffer. Not yesterday.

That might be because most media people realize that the economy remains story number one. For reporters and editors that means making adjustments to their content. But for media executives, that means making adjustment to their businesses.
PhotobucketToday, though, the stock market is making everyone pay attention, whether you like it or.

Right as I write this post, the Dow is down over 300 points – that is actually up from the lows of the day! Meanwhile, the DAX, which looked like it have a more moderate day, is in almost (let's stress "almost") free fall, down over 225 points, or 3.40 percent. The FTSE and CAC 40 are doing even worse. And as if to reinforce the global nature of markets, markets in Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Chile are down by similar or even bigger percentages.

It's not just the stock markets, though, that media executives should be looking at. Just a few minutes ago I retweeted a Paul Krugman tweet promoting his latest blog post, which he headlined Rates of Wrath.

Krugman has been obsessed with two things involving the bond markets: first, while austerity proponents have been saying U.S. bond prices will increase due to the national debt, the opposite thing has been happening, due, Krugman speculates, to the slowing economy; and second, the rising bond prices being seen in Italy and Spain is endangering the European single currency community and raising the possibility that those countries may default.

As I wrote yesterday, rising ten year bold prices are translating into larger interest payments for Italy, Spain and other European nations. At the same time, lower bond prices actually lessens the impact of the U.S. debt. Yet, and this gets to the crux of the matter, all the attention in Washington is on the debt, reigning in spending, at a time when the economy badly needs to kick in the behind.

Final note: writing about stock market prices is a fool's errand. Right now the Dow is recovering, possibly as investors swoop in to pick up bargains. After all, if you want to own some Apple stock, what better time to pick up some shares than when the market is tanking. My recommendation, don't that much attention to the Dow, look at the DAX and other indices to see how the world is viewing the current economic news.