as part of our
Words mean little on Fridays in the
Wall Street Daily Nation
. Instead, we let pretty pictures do the talking for us.
Each week, I select a handful of graphics to put important
economic and investing news into perspective for you.
So I'll (mostly) shut up now…
Bad for Politics, Good for Stocks
The bickering over the objectivity of unemployment figures is
about to kick into high gear. Why? Because another jobs statistic
fell unexpectedly, just like the latest unemployment reading
Yesterday, the Labor Department reported that weekly initial
unemployment claims filings fell by 30,000 to 339,000. That's the
lowest level in more than four years.
The drop makes economists look like overeducated and overpaid
. (Or we can go with "idiots" if you prefer being blunt.) They
expected an increase of 1,000 filings to 368,000. Talk about a
Of course, any time I mention politics I get blasted for being a
raging liberal and a gun-toting Tea Partier. So I'm going to avoid
weighing in on the subjectivity of the statistics for fear of being
accused of supporting a political party that I, in fact, do not.
Instead, I'll stick to what I know - stocks!
As I've noted before, when initial jobless claims drop, stocks
rise. That's something we can all celebrate, right?
You Didn't Foreclose on That!
Every time I reiterated my stance that the real estate market
was on the mend - and it
- critics blasted me. They said I was ignoring the next big shoe to
drop - another flood of foreclosures.
Newsflash: I still look smart. And
still look like fear mongers.
This week's report from RealtyTrac reveals foreclosure filings -
default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -
dropped 7% in the last month and 16% in the last year. Foreclosure
activity is actually at its lowest level since July 2007.
As Daren Blomquist, Vice President at RealtyTrac, says, the shoe
isn't being dropped. It's "being carefully lowered to the floor and
therefore making little noise in the housing market."
Indeed. Long live the real estate recovery!
What's a Better Inflation Hedge: Gold or Real
Since we're dishing on real estate, I figured I'd bring this
interesting chart to your attention.
After years and years of warning against the threat of runaway
inflation, investors understandably piled into gold. So far,
inflation's been a no-show. At least the profits decided to show
Since bottoming out on October 23, 2008, gold's up 151.9%. But
surprise, surprise. Real estate stocks are up even more.
Since hitting bottom on November 21, 2008, the
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index
) is up 177.9%.
Gold might be the favorite inflation hedge. But right now, real
estate's the best bet.
In the famous words of G.I. Joe (because it never gets enough
exposure in the financial press), "Now you know… and knowing is
half the battle."
That's it for today. Before you sign off, though, do us a favor.
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