July 14, 2008

July 14, 2008
Hey there! How's it going? Great to have you join me again for another Monday in my life. I hope you had a great weekend.

Today was a very low key day for me. I knew from watching the weather last night that it was going to be storming for most of the day. I ended up rolling out of bed around 10am this morning after Gary had already left for work. It was already storming outside so there really wasn't any question of whether or not I would leave the house today. Today was only good for turtles and fish when it came to traveling anywhere. Even the streets on Stockton started to collect water due to the downpour for several hours. The lightning strikes and thunder bolts put on a dramatic light and sound show for us also.

I spent most of the day watching CNBC and the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks were knocked lower again as investors grappled with escalating instability in the financial sector and sobering comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke told Congress the U.S. economy is faced with numerous difficulties such as strains in financial markets, a shaky job market and ongoing weakness in the housing market. These difficulties which are persisting despite the Fed's massive interest rate cuts and expanded lending efforts represent significant downside risks to economic growth, the Fed chief said. U.S. officials' comments come only days after the Fed and the Treasury said they would lend financial support to mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if necessary. The well-being of the government-chartered companies has drawn Wall Street's attention in recent weeks as the companies together hold or guarantee more than $5 trillion in mortgages which is nearly half the nation's total. In addition to the financial sector, Wall Street is concerned about U.S. consumers, who are monitoring their budgets more carefully in the face of higher energy prices, falling home values and an uncertain jobs climate. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that retail sales edged up by 0.1 percent which is a weaker amount than the 0.4 percent increase analysts expected in June. Total sales were dampened especially by plummeting sales at car dealerships.

Investors found little comfort in a Labor Department showing that core inflation at the wholesale level, which excludes energy and food prices, ticked up by just 0.2 percent. Overall wholesale prices jumped by a larger than expected 1.8 percent which is the biggest gain since November. For the past 12 months, wholesale prices including food and energy showed an increase of 9.2 percent, the largest increase since June 1981. We will also need to keep an eye on the price of crude oil trades which will govern gasoline prices at the pump. Fannie and Freddie shares tumbled again Tuesday, along with most other financial stocks. Investors are also nervous after a run on IndyMac Bancorp Inc. led to the California lender's takeover by the government Friday. IndyMac became the largest regulated thrift to fail. All in all, the American economy is definitely in a recession. Now will our recession be a precusor to world wide recession? Only time will tell.

I received emails from my friend, Chuck, who just got back home after a train trip from California to New York to visit friends. I met Chuck threw one of my websites and have been speaking with him through email for almost nine months now. He is a great guy who is lucky enough to travel and see the country now that he is retired. Chuck was a sweetheart and picked up a NYC magnet and Christmas ornament to replace the ones I lost or broke during my last two moves. I have been collecting Christmas ornaments and fridge magnets for almost thirty five years since my grandfather started the tradition with me on one of our trips. I haven't been on a train trip in years and think I might take my next trip by train. The trains may take longer to get somewhere, but you get to see the scenery as you cross the country which I would really enjoy. Now to mention the number of picture taking opportunities on a trip like that. I hope Chuck is back home and doing great. I'm sure I will hear from him tomorrow about the trip.

Gary got home from work around 6:30 after a long day at work. He is still waiting to start the new division of the marketing business where he is employed. In the mean time, he is acting as a floater to help out wherever needed. Gary should hopefully be doing the start up of the new branch of the business in the next couple of months after the owners give the go ahead. Gary decided he would like to have cheeseburgers for dinner since they would be quick and easy to make. Monday night is probably one of the worst nights for television so we only watched about an hour of comedy before bedtime.

Since I am still recovering at home not much else happened today. What about you? What's going on in your life? I hope you have a great week and remember to reach for the stars!

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab