|May 8, 2009|
|Shoots of Economic Recovery Sprout Everywhere|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Shoots of economic recovery are sprouting like crocuses. The PR world rejoices. |
News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch told investors May 7 “it is increasingly clear that the worst is over.”
That followed a brutal just completed third-quarter for Murdoch’s newspaper group (Wall Street Journal, New York Post and a raft of Brit and Aussie papers) in which it suffered a 95 percent plunge in operating incom to $7M on $1.2B revenues. Good news for Rupe. Fox News Channel is on a tear as it gleefully rips "The Sainted One" in the White House. Operating income at FNC nearly doubled last year's performance.
Disney shares soared 10 percent on May 6 after CEO Bob Iger reported better-then-expected financials and word spread on Wall Street that the company’s resort bookings are nearly “on par” from the second half of `08. Investors also may have been buoyed by news that Disney is no longer scanning riders on Splash Mountain to make sure women aren’t flashing their breasts for a souvenir remembrance of their big day. That put an end to a 10-year policy, and could be the germ of a new Disney marketing campaign.
And then there is embattled New York Times publisher CEO “Pinch” Sulzberger who appeared downright giddy at Pace University’s unveiling of Amazon’s Kindle electronic reader. The Times hopes its Kindle subs sell like hotcakes, or at least enough to offset the loss in revenues due to the June 1 boost in price of the daily NYT to $2.
[Note to Pinch: you are killing me with the need to round up quarters to feed the paper machine on my corner. The Times is nearing a price "tipping point.]
Happy Sulzberger lauded the Kindle device as “wonderful” and gushed that the NYT is downright “delighted” that the apparent savior of print has arrived. The Kindle event gave Pinch a breather from the bloodbath that he orchestrated at the Boston Globe and the squeezing of staffers on the homefront.
Even down in the dumps American International Group is slated for a share of good news. It is expected to report a $5B first-quarter deficit later today. That’s a vast improvement of the $62B year ago loss. There is good news from Europe. The London Stock Exchange is a whisker away from moving into the black for `09.
Publicis Groupe Maestro Maurice Levy says the ad/PR conglom will approach a “low point” this summer and begin an upward climb during the second-half. Hold on to your hats in `10 because that’s when true recovery begins, according to the toast of Paris.
Brian Westbury and Robert Stein boldly declared “the recession over” on Forbes.com (May 5). They claim the downturn was more of “panic” triggered by the collapse of Lehman Bros and the bank bailout plan.
Consumer prices fell 12.4 percent in the Q4 `08, which was the fastest decline since the Great Depression. Consumer prices then rose 2.2 percent in this year’s Q1 and are rising during the current quarter. The First Trust Advisors economists predict the national Bureau of Economic Research, the nation’s recession scorekeeper, will declare the recession over as early as the end of this month.
This is a light at the end of the economic tunnel. Word to the wise: sometimes that light is that of an approaching freight train.
Good luck to all.
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