Gold is a flight-to-quality product.
The story is all about oil. This is still a fluid situation but we have enough information to feel comfortable lowering our economic growth estimate even further.
We're expecting a solid year for equipment and software spending. Businesses seem to have very optimistic plans for investment in 2006.
We would not be able to land (in Stockholm) until 130 a.m. and that is not reasonable.
In general, the economy is proving to be resilient to energy and gas price pressure. It's on a growth path. Even though oil prices are higher, the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Therefore, we see consumers' savings rate falling and spending up.
Even with the weakness in the headline number, the rest of the story looks good. June, July, August have all shown strength in retail sales outside of autos.
For the Fed ... they know there will be disruptions in September from Katrina, but policy is forward-looking and takes six months to have any effect. If the Fed can withstand the political heat, they will stick to their guns with a quarter-point rate hike.
Overall, they were a bit concerned about inflation and see strong growth, which supports the notion that they will continue to tighten policy. But after Katrina, all bets on how much they might tighten are off the table,
It's a slow week for releases, ... I think there's almost no chance the productivity revision or the wholesale inflation numbers will have much effect on the Fed's March policy decision.
Today's report simply reinforces the belief that it will be 25 points instead of 50 points.
Going into the hurricane we had a shortage of refining capacity anyway. This just throws a hand grenade into the already delicate balance.
What we are seeing is that these numbers are coming in line with other confidence figures, which shot ahead in May and June with oil prices falling, and now with oil prices soaring, we are seeing the effect from higher prices at the pump.
The net effect on the economy is always positive. We have more consumers of energy than producers and the result is that the sector that benefits from low inflation and low interest rates comes out ahead.