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Ash's favorite wedding pic
Bottom Line: The
By Select Industries:
Manufacturing had be the holdout this year as we continued to shed jobs until July. It's also worth noting that construction job growth slowed a bit in July while trade job growth accelerated. Housing continues to be the key to
Perhaps the most important takeaway, for people with specific skills who have been part of the long term unemployed in this country, is that right now we're seeing the best overall employment opportunities.
One reason it may be a little more difficult to obtain a mortgage loan in
Bottom Line: Loan standards are much more relaxed today vs. two years ago. The minimum credit score required, amount of money down that's needed, etc. Every so often though I'll receive a note from someone saying that they're being held to a higher standard than other people they know in similar circumstances. Among the complaints: a higher requirement for credit scores, provable income and length of time with a current employer, more money down & more assets required as collateral. So why might there be a slightly higher standard in
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back about 90% of all mortgages in this country. These are loans that are originated at $417,000 or less. While Fannie and Freddie are in much better financial health these days, they still have to take regular losses on distressed properties (most of which are hold over’s from the housing crisis). Two years ago
Is the stock market overvalued?:
Bottom Line: Last week made a lot of investors a little nervous. The usual reasons were to blame... Economic uncertainty, possibility of Federal Reserve policy changes, tepid earnings, etc. The stock market had one of its worst weeks in a year and some are wondering if we're setting up for a correction, and if so, what it may look like. The S&P 500 is one of the best ways to talk about general market values and it's been a couple of months since I broke down the current vs. historic values of companies. So here you go:
The average historic PE ratio of the S&P 500:
The current PE ratio of the S&P 500:
So what does this mean? Stock values are currently about 25% higher than their historic averages. Does this mean that the market will fall 25%? Certainly not, but if you want to understand what the downside to the stock market could be if it were to enter a downturn, that's an idea of what could happen and be historically justified. It's still my hope that earnings will grow into the value of the market but that still isn't happening. Earnings growth has only been about 2% year over year for the most recent quarter and the stock market has continued to hold near all-time high levels.
Too much of a good thing? No more no money down iPhones with T-Mobile:
Bottom Line: Two weeks ago you'd have thought that T-Mobile was planning to offer zero down iPhone's for the long haul. My how quickly times change. On Friday T-Mobile abruptly announced that Saturday (this past Saturday) would be the last day for that promotion. Why the quick change? While T-Mobile didn't comment, it's possible that it was too successful. Even though T-Mobile wasn't charging any money down from their customers for the new iPhones, they still did have to pay Apple upfront for the cost of each of those phones. While T-Mobile expects to make their money back, plus a profit, over time - it's possible that they were causing a sort term money crunch for a huge layout to Apple for these phones, or the stopped the program before it would cause that to occur. The new plan and price structure they're offering is untested and T-Mobile may have decided to see how this all works out before giving away the store (or at least millions of iPhones). If you want an iPhone 5 from T-Mobile today it'll cost you at least $145.99 down. This leaves AT&T as the only provider offering a zero money down iPhone 5 but that requires signing up for the Next plan which is the worst deal in mobile in my view. Btw... I'll have an update on the next generation iPhone on tomorrow's Cheat Sheet.
The Shark Week lesson in business:
Bottom line: Whether you watched any of Discovery Channel's Shark Week last week or not, you likely were exposed to it in some way. It may have been in conversation with friends or co-workers. It could have been through advertising... By companies other than Discovery. All told 13 national companies used marketing campaigns that included Shark Week as a theme last week. This question is if you lost an opportunity. And if you did, to prevent an opportunity from slipping by in the future.
Whether it's Shark Week or a local annual event that captures the imagination and conversation of your potential customers, it's clear that there are opportunities to work in marketing opportunities around these events. It's important to ensure you don't violate copy write and licensing laws but it's easy to offer up deals with a bite, or a Great White special for example. Many businesses are inclined to think of hurricane specials before or after hurricanes but what about other cultural events? Make a calendar of all potential opportunities, local and national and see what you can do to make use of these opportunities.
Gas prices may come down but not oil - don't expect huge drops:
Bottom Line: It's like clock work. Wait until mid-August and dust off the obligatory - school's back and so gas prices will drop significantly story. I came across many of these stories over the weekend and I felt the need to provide a reality check.
Lower demand for gas has resulted in an eight cent decline at the pump as whole-sale gas prices have dropped by about ten cents per gallon. But that's about as much of a drop as you can expect this year. Ten to fifteen cents per gallon. Oil prices have actually been rising - at $106 per barrel (up 2.5%) as I type this. With oil prices over $100 per barrel you're not going to see a significant decline at the pump based on the usual seasonality. Middle-East turmoil is the latest culprit for rising oil prices.