Picture This: Detroit and Europe on the Mend
It’s Friday in the Wall Street Daily Nation. That means it’s time to embrace the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
For the newbies in the group, each week I select a graphic or two to convey an important economic or investment insight. And this week, I’m highlighting nascent recoveries in two far-off lands, Detroit and Europe.
So let’s get to it…
What Pickup Sales Might Be Signaling for Detroit and the U.S. Economy
The Motor City might not be a jalopy, destined for the junk heap, after all!
On the heels of being one of only two U.S. cities to report a year-over-year increase in real estate prices in October, now this…
Automakers are, dare I say it, enjoying boom times. Well, not exactly. But sales are definitely on the upswing. Light vehicle sales jumped 8.9% year-over-year on a seasonally adjusted annual rate. The last two months of sales were the strongest since June 2008.
Of particular interest, though, is the strength in sales of Ford’s (NYSE: F) F-Series trucks. They’re up for two years in a row… and now back to 2007 levels!
In December alone, Ford sold more F-Series trucks than it has since 2006. Big whoop? Could be.
As Bespoke Investment Group notes, F-Series trucks are considered to be an indicator of strength in the small business sector. It turns out that most F-Series buyers are small business owners.
And any strength in the small business sector could be an early sign of increasing strength in the U.S. economy. (Wouldn’t that be nice?) Accordingly, we’ll be on the lookout for more signs.
All Calming on the European Front
Moving across the pond to Europe, most pundits expect the debt crisis that wreaked havoc in 2011 to carry over into 2012.
I’m not about to argue with that prediction. But for the time being, the charts indicate a “calming” on the European front.
In the last month, European stocks rebounded noticeably. In fact, the STOXX Europe 600 Index closed at a five-month high.
And European government bonds rebounded in record fashion. Spanish bonds rose 6.9%, Belgian bonds rose 6.4% and Italian bonds rose 5%, according to Bloomberg.
Apparently the European Central Bank’s latest (and record) bailout measure worked. For now at least.
That’s it for this week. Let us know what you think about this column and all of our work at Wall Street Daily. All you have to do is drop us an email at email@example.com or leave a comment below.
Ahead of the tape,