Thursday, December 4, 2008

So who won that election?

This will not be a political commentary; however I believe that Canadians have now lost the right to criticize out neighbours to the south and their two party system. At least they know who is "running" the show. If the Conservatives are defeated in late January, does that mean that Stephan Dion (whose own party wants him out) becomes Prime Minister?

A recent survey by Canadian executives showed that almost half believe the the Conservatives should have done more to "stimulate" the economy. More interesting is that the divide on whether the Conservatives should have done more or done nothing was geographically based. Those out west liked the status quo; while those in the east felt they needed to do more. However, almost 80% believe that a "coalition" led goverment would do more harm then good. I'm not picking sides in this debate - just pointing out that perhaps some middle ground would have been more appropriate.

Now we come to the good news - apparently we going to test my theory on the glass half full/half empty analogies. In the month of November, 71,000 Canadians lost their jobs driving the "employment rate" down to 93.7%. This monthly figure represents the worst monthly loss since 1982. How does this rate stack up with previous historical numbers you may ask?

As you can see, we would need to almost double our September 2008 "unemployment rate" before we began to approach the rates of the early 1980's and early-mid 1990's. The trends indicate more losses to follow but the majority of losses are expected to fall in the manufacturing provinces (specifically Ontario). However, the majority of people will still have a job through this "crisis of economic uncertainty", and for those people, you may want to heed the "warning" of Bill Carrigan. Bill writes a weekly article in the Toronto Star about the technical analysis of stock markets (think about me discussing market performance and adding tons of boring charts that you cannot and do not want to understand). He appeared on BNN (I have unofficially renamed the station Bad News Network) yesterday and showed how he believes that the worst is over and that we have already seeing signs that the market has bottomed. That is not to say that the economy will get better tomorrow - remember that stock markets tend to lead nor lag the economy.

Who is right? Who is wrong? I don't feel that any one person can accurately predict the future, but when the number of people telling us we have hit the bottom begins to grow, i think it safe to assume that we are either near or at the bottom.

One last point - in earlier blogs, I explained how the market tends to bottom out then bottom out a second time at around 35 days later. The date for that second bottom? December 4th (yesterday). Now we see whether history will repeat itself again...

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