Valentine’s Day disappoints after Star Wars surge

March 2, 2016

By Lindsay Dunsmuir

The Fed’s Beige Book, a compendium of anecdotes from business contacts across the U.S. central bank’s 12 regional districts, is not known for tickling detail.  But it seems one regional Fed district – Boston to be precise – is paving the way in bringing a bit of relatable life to the usually dour document. In January’s report it pointed out that a toy company in its district reported strong sales “largely driven by the new Star Wars movie.” This time, it seems that all that movie-related spending has left locals with little money to spend on love. “Sales of Valentine’s Day items usually spike a few days before the holiday, but this year sales were lackluster,” the Boston Fed reported. Next time around, will we find out that children were deprived of their chocolate Easter bunnies? It’s anyone’s guess, but it seems like the researchers in Boston are minded to let us know.

Yemen slides into civil war

March 26, 2015

A Houthi fighter walks on a vehicle damaged by an air strike at a residential area near Sanaa Airport

Dramatic escalation in Yemen overnight with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launching military operations including air strikes in Yemen to counter Iran-allied forces besieging the southern city of Aden where the U.S.-backed president is holed up.

No Let(ta) up for euro zone

April 30, 2013

Fresh from winning a vote of confidence in parliament, new Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta heads to Berlin to meet Angela Merkel, pledging to shift the euro zone’s focus on austerity in favour of a drive to create jobs. He may be pushing at a partially open door. Even the German economy is struggling at the moment and the top brass in Brussels have declared either that debt-cutting has reached its limits and/or that now is the time to exercise flexibility. Letta will move on from Berlin to Brussels and Paris later in the week.

Here come the downward U.S. GDP revisions again

July 16, 2012

It’s become an uncanny, almost seasonal pattern over the last few years: The economy perks up as a new year kicks into gear only to flail again by the time summer comes around.

A penny more for gas, $1 billion less for Walmart

April 27, 2012

Jessica Wohl and Chris Reese contributed to this post.


For every penny rise in the price of gas at the pump, U.S. customers of Walmart take a collective $1 billion hit to their disposable income.

from Global Investing:

A shoe, a song and the promise of the West

December 16, 2011

I found myself at Selfridges this week, specifically in what the London retailer says is the world's largest shoe department.

Recession? It’s all in the mind…

August 21, 2009

Remember that old chestnut about how it’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job and it’s a depression when YOU lose yours?

Buy now, pay later? It’s later.

August 19, 2009

Buy now, pay later was the mantra of U.S. consumers during a debt-fueled binge earlier this decade.

Saint Augustine and the U.S. consumer

June 30, 2009

Johns Hopkins University economist Christopher Carroll thinks U.S. consumers have finally got religion when it comes to saving, after years of free spending. For the sake of the broader economy, he is hoping they take to heart the prayer of Saint Augustine.

Household spending cutbacks: What’s the first to go?

June 2, 2009

An Ipsos/Reuters poll of 23 countries found that cuts in household spending have remained constant during the past six months with entertainment, vacations and luxury items the first to go for nearly three quarters of families, followed by clothing, energy consumption and gasoline/driving.