Morning Business Memo:
If a friend has a birthday, an anniversary or some other happy event how do you mark the occasion? Increasingly Americans have turned away from greeting cards to ‘likes’ on Facebook, e-greeting cards or other methods, knocking down greeting card sales. Hallmark says it will close a plant in Kansas that makes a third of its US greeting cards. About 300 workers are expected to lose their jobs.
This morning’s Wall Street Journal has an arresting headline: “The Myth of the Black Friday Deal.” After crunching two to six years’ worth of pricing data for a number of typical holiday gifts, The Journal says the best times to go deal hunting almost never involve standing in the freezing cold all night. It turns out that gifts from Barbie dolls to watches to blenders are often priced below Black Friday levels at various times throughout the year, even during the holiday season, and their prices follow different trajectories as the remaining shopping days tick down. Shoppers who brave the crowds and earning morning lines to get the best holiday bargains the day after Thanksgiving could be wasting their time.
The Dow Jones index is at its highest point since December 2007 after another winning week for the stock market. But the averages could come under pressure during third-quarter earnings season. For the first time since the depths of the recession in 2009, Wall Street analysts are forecasting that most big publicly traded companies will report lower profits than the year before. This comes after 11 consecutive quarters of gains, which have led to a big comeback for stocks–and solid returns in most savers’ 401(k) funds. The slowdown in the global economy is the biggest source of worry. Caterpillar (CAT), FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS) are among the companies warning that slower growth overseas is affecting their business. Tomorrow Alcoa (AA) will be the first of the Dow 30 members to report earnings.
Gas prices in California are crazy high, reaching $6 in some places. Refinery shortages and California’s state regulations for gas are said to be the reasons for the price spike. There are also few out-of-state pipelines suppliers can tap into when there are problems. Gov. Jerry Brown says he will take emergency action to allow for the early release of cheaper winter-blend gasoline. Analysts expect this move to relieve prices by up 10 to 15 cents per gallon within days.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio ABCNews.com twitter.com/daviesabc