When a consumer purchases a new automobile, the overall experience is never complete without a trip to the finance manager’s office where all types of additional products and services are offered including pre-paid maintenance, rust proofing and extended warranties. By this stage of the process, the price has usually been negotiated with the salesperson and the consumer just wants to get out of the showroom and on the road.
In the CNBC video recorded today and shown below, American Express CEO Ken Chenault comments on credit conditions at American Express as well as broader issues associated with consumer spending. As we have noted in the past, economic recovery will ultimately depend on the extent to which consumers are willing and able to spend. Read this article for more information and a link to the video.
There is certainly no shortage of commentary on the unemployment statistics that come out every month and most value investors do not make investment decisions based on macroeconomic factors alone. In general, it is always a good time to invest when securities can be found that provide solid return potential and have a large margin of safety. But does this mean that value investors should just ignore today’s Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)? Read this article for one opinion.
As the Economist videographic shown below illustrates, the worldwide market for luxury goods has grown significantly over the past fifteen years. The very rich have always consumed luxury goods and continued to do so even in the depths of the current recession. The headwinds facing the producers of luxury goods have largely been due to a pullback by “aspirational” consumers. For more and a videographic illustrating this situation, please continue reading this article.