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The charts, graphs and comments in my Trading Blog represent my technical analysis and observations of a variety of world markets...
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Dots

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Will the American Consumer Save the Day?

Global economic data released Wednesday night and Thursday morning showed multiple contractions in manufacturing in China, in manufacturing and services in Germany, France and Europe, and in European industrial new orders. Additionally, core retail sales contracted in Canada, the price of homes continued to fall in the U.S., while the U.S. Conference Board's Leading Index rose, and unemployment claims dropped in the U.S.

That leaves saving the American economy up to Americans this year. With heavy debt loads already being carried by the average family, as shown below, one can see that will be a very monumental task (click this link for a bigger graphics picture). As noted in my post of March 7th, the levels of consumer debt accumulated during the past three months are higher than they were in 2007/08 just prior to the financials crisis, and are at their highest levels seen since January 2000...an interesting scenario considering that personal income has declined, as mentioned in my post of March 1st.

With brokers/banks peddling their stocks with the cry that "Now is the time to buy equities!" (which are at their peak in price from the 2011 lows), the question of the day becomes, "Does the average investor actually have the means to pile in at these pricey high risk levels, especially when U.S. investment by foreign counterparts may be shaky/unsustainable?" Banks may be forced to continue buying their own reserve of stocks, supplemented by low interest loans from the Fed, while continuing to raise bank rates. Under this scenario, when the Fed will actually begin to pay attention to rising inflation is anybody's guess.