Our Two Cents – Week of 11/28/11

While turkey and gravy were on our minds last week, we didn’t forget about helpings of headlines that included holiday shopping, European finances and the NBA lockout. Here’s our feast of news for the week.

Black Friday’s numbers were certainly in the black. The day-after-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza, which kicks off the holiday season, bagged a record 226 million shoppers who visited stores and websites this past weekend. According to the National Retail Federation, the number of shoppers increased from 212 million last year, and the average holiday shopper spent nearly $399, up 9.1 percent from about $365 last year. Total spending for the weekend generated an estimated $52.4 billion. That’s some good news for the U.S. economy as Americans are still spending in an economy that’s struggling to produce jobs. Across the Atlantic, the European economic crisis is still escalating. President Barack Obama is meeting with top European Union leaders to discuss how the U.S. can aid and help prevent global economic backlashes. According to Moody’s Investor Service, “all of Europe’s sovereign ratings are being threatened by the ‘rapid escalation’ of the crisis,” and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is warning that the region could face further economic despairs. As the crisis engulfs other European nations, Germany refuses to bailout her other nations because it has been the go-to sibling for financial assistance. South of Germany, Italy’s newly installed Prime Minister Mario Monti is busy at work reviewing the country’s finances as he tries to steer Italy to positive financial waters by preparing new budget measures. In the hedge fund world, the GlobeOp Forward Redemption Indicator for November measured 3.44 percent, up from 2.51 percent in October. Experts forecast redemption requests will increase as year-end approaches. Rounding out this week’s news is the NBA lockout. Some lawyers representing the players and owners have charged more $1,000 per hour for services. Of course, fans, local restaurants and vendors have also faced the brunt of revenue losses from the lockout, but good news is that basketball—and hopefully some in-the-black revenues—is expected to tip off Christmas Day.



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