Today’s WTF Headline: Festive Consumers

This one sent coffee out my nose:

Consumers in a Festive Mood as the Holiday Season Approaches
Conference Board, Nov. 20, 2007


Festive? Really?

Perhaps the Conference Board can explain this:

Americans enter holidays in dark mood: Reuters poll

or this:


Graphic courtesy of Barron’s

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. BayAreaGuy commented on Nov 21

    About the only festive one is going to be Jolly Old St. Nicolas, because he won’t have as many stops to make this year…


  2. Marcus Aurelius commented on Nov 21

    Maybe the festive spirit will baloon into full-blown insanity and everyone will buy a house!


    The one who dies with the most debt, wins.

  3. DP commented on Nov 21

    I don’t know about other places but here in NC the new real estate tax appraisals just came out and they are looked to be based on values pre-credit crunch. Higher market values more taxes – one more reason to pare back the holiday shopping.


  4. Steve commented on Nov 21

    I am feeling festive, but that could be because I started drinking earlier than usual!

  5. techy2468 commented on Nov 21

    below article says that consumer may not cutdown holiday spending much since its a cultural thing, and its not a discreationary spending.

    i am wondering what happens in first quarter if consumer is maxed out in Xmas??

  6. Winston Munn commented on Nov 21

    Russ Winter is the only one I’ve found that monitors these numbers – and it is uncertain how meaningful they might be. Regardless, when inbound container traffic declines, it doesn’t say much about increased demand.

    Quote: “Long Beach and Los Angeles inbound container shipments for October.

    LA: 2006- 412,554 2007- 385,530

    LB: 2006- 335,668 2007- 323,131”

    Maybe they forgot to pack Santa’s sled.

  7. David commented on Nov 21

    I repeat. Consumer confidence is a BS statistic. It shouldn’t even be reported, much less traded on.

  8. peter from oz commented on Nov 21

    don’t worry
    the PPT is working on it
    you WILL feel better
    as you drive those extra miles to a Wal Mart
    you’ll have more time to think about the excuses to the kids and have a better look around for a smaller house or apartment to rent because economically it makes no sense to own one until the market bottoms
    see the PPT will help you feel smarter also
    rgds pcm

  9. KirkH commented on Nov 21

    Festive is a derivative of Festivus, the holiday where people wrestle eachother in “Feats of Strength” leaving only one left standing.

    I think it means we’ll be too broke to get real trees and will have to make due with aluminum poles.

  10. Lord commented on Nov 21

    What? Black humor not your style? Nothing like a little Nightmare Before Christmas.

  11. Stormrunner commented on Nov 21


    Fascinationg article on the Gold cycle as related to the Mayan Calander.

    Callemen had a student Ian Lungold who did lectures on the workings of the calender intriquing stuff if looked upon with an open mind a dose of healthy skepticism.It basically describes a Universal as opposed to terrestrial account of time. Probably best to disregard the prediction of the last 10 mins quite over the top. The mechanics of the calander were to say the least thought provoking.

    video lecture

  12. PeterR commented on Nov 21

    Re: U. Mich. sentiment chart —

    Last low in Oct. ’05 was a market low– about 250 SPX points ago. That is what the charts say.

    SPY daily MA(322) is hanging tough, and has been a fairly accurate bottom since the 2002/2003 lows.

    Reports of Santa’s intoxication may be greatly exaggerated IMO.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  13. norman commented on Nov 21

    RE: PeterR

    Right on, Bro. And not only was Oct 2005’s low the same as now but so was the one on Mar 2003. (I don’t use MA’s.) What is Barry drinking?

  14. jimcos42 commented on Nov 21

    These consumer sentiment idexes just won’t do. They need to be hedonically adjusted.

    Better ones would be calculated:
    ex home values
    ex job outlook
    ex fuel and food price considerations
    ex mortgage adjustments
    ex inflation expectations
    ex stock market outlook
    ex interest rate outlook
    ex a generalized “sky is falling” factor

    With a little creativity, we can make things look really great!

  15. TKL commented on Nov 21

    The Conference Board’s report concerned the amount people intend to spend this holiday season: $471 on average, up from last year’s average intended amount of $449. An increase of almost 5% is quite upbeat, so using the word festive in the headline was fair. Can’t anyone write a headline anymore without being mauled by bears?

  16. viamede commented on Nov 21

    Festive! Ya know FESTIVE!!! Like the turkey feels “festive” about Thanksgiving. It’s all perspective.

  17. Winston Munn commented on Nov 21

    I guess the Conference Board doesn’t read Reuters or believe in Zogby polls:

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans enter the holiday season in a dark mood, with economic worries, security fears and a lack of confidence in government fueling growing pessimism, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

    The Reuters/Zogby Index, which measures the mood of the country, fell for the third consecutive month, dropping from 96 in October to 94.9 on new growth in the number of Americans dissatisfied with the economy and pessimistic about the future.”

    However, on our deathbeds, we will receive a total consiousness vision of the SPX at all-time highs – so we got that going for us.

    Big hitter, that Bernanke. Long.

  18. alexd commented on Nov 21

    Why do we put up with a government that obviously lies to us?

    If they are not good enough to raise the sheep (electric!), shear the sheep, and then he wool over our eyes we should not permit them their offices!

    We cannot trust people who have pensions, health care in retirement, and a revolving door policy into cushy jobs with industries that they favored to give us anything, since they have secured their future and seem not to care a wit about ours!

    We need people who work under a policy that they get nothing until those they represent get theirs. Starting at the top, while those smaller entities such as neighborhoods, towns’ cities and states work their way up until we all meet in the middle.

    Oh yeah if they make a promise,and don’t keep it, we shoot them and give the office to their previous opponent, who too has to work under those circumstances.

    Eventually they will all keep their mouths shut and the people will get some peace and maybe even competent governance.

  19. Francois Theberge commented on Nov 21

    “a lack of confidence in government”

    That’d be the understatement of the new millennium. Contempt, derision, anger, utter frustration would be polite words to describe some of the epithets that otherwise well-educated people I know, have used to describe the actual political class.

    “if they make a promise,and don’t keep it, we shoot them”

    There is a much simpler (and less messy) way to correct that:pay them! Pay their electoral campaigns so they can’t ask special interests groups for it.

    It is a sad state of affairs when on an econ blog, one realize that politics has become a big problem working against the fair workings of the markets.


  20. Winston Munn commented on Nov 21

    TKL wrote,

    “The Conference Board’s report concerned the amount people intend to spend this holiday season: $471 on average, up from last year’s average intended amount of $449. An increase of almost 5% is quite upbeat, so using the word festive in the headline was fair. Can’t anyone write a headline anymore without being mauled by bears?”

    I can’t answer for the bear headline-writer maulers union, but when a 5% increase in nominal spending is converted to the -5% in real spending suggested by the inflation calculations of John Williams at Shadow Government Statistics, it makes even a lonely truthseeker like me wonder if the holiday eggnog bowl hadn’t been raided a month early.

  21. Movie Guy commented on Nov 22

    The drugs must be good over at the Conference Board.

    How old is Lynn Franco? Maybe 14 or 16?


  22. alexd commented on Nov 22


    I agree with you. I sopmetimes feel a need to move to satire when I vent. I used to tell people that the way to acheive a balanced budget and get rid of the national debt was to set guidlines and timelines. If the politicians did not achieve the timelines they were shot, but if they did they got a raise in pay and their terms in office would be extended by a number of years as a reward. The next question out of my mouth was simply how long do you think it would take to get our financial house in order under those circumstances?

    Yes elections should be paid for by the country it makes so much sense it hurts.

  23. techy commented on Nov 22

    human beings so self centered that the best we can achieve is cycle of ups and downs.

    i am not sure there exists a perfect system when a selfish human is involved in it.

    nothing works with a human being part of it, democracy or communism does not matter.

    right now we think we are in prosperity due to capitalism, maybe till the rich get so much richer and the poor get so much poorer that there will be a bloody class warfare…which may change the society we live in.

    and we will start all over again, maybe a new system.

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