Stockmarkets continue to surge on hope that the first green shoots of recovery are appearing. Traders in London are covering their short positions and looking beyond weak corporate numbers over the next couple of quarters to 'normality' by the end of the year. Normality by most appearances will be an improvement in negative growth from 6% in Q1 2009 to minus 2% in Q4 with anaemic growth of around 1.5% in 2010 as unemployment rises to 10.5%. To me valuations look stretched against this backdrop and are probably getting ahead of themselves.
Looking at the data over the last week I suppose you could say that it could have been worse but it's still pretty dire. With the banks repairing their balance sheets and cutting back on lending I can't help but feel that any recovery in consumer demand is likely to be tepid even with lower mortgage and gasoline costs boosting purchasing power.
Exports of Australian wines fell for the first time in 15 years. In 2008 the value of wine exports to the UK and US shrank by 17% and 23% respectively.
Bankruptcies in the US during March are running at 5945 a day - the highest rate since 2005
April foreclosures are likely to rise after the moratorium on sales and evictions on properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ended on March 31st.
In March the number of people in the US involuntarily working part time rose by 423,000 to 9 million.