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Say It Ain’t So

Although news outlets recently reported that the recession officially ended in June 2009, the message does not seem to have made much difference to those living on the front lines in the business community.  Borrowing is still difficult and unemployment remains high.
 
The latest quarterly Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey shows that only 14% of U.S. CFOs, out of 937 surveyed in early September, are more optimistic about the economy than they were last quarter.  A staggering 57% noted they were less optimistic.
 
Main Street isn’t faring much better.  A new poll from CNN/Opinion Research Corporation found that a nearly three-quarters of Americans believe the economy is still in a recession.
 
What is it going to take for the pessimism to abate?  I’m not sure anyone knows the answer to that question but when housing-related industries begin to rebound, businesses resume hiring to meet growth expectations and consumers start spending again in earnest, we might hear some real-world positive data about the state of the economy.

 

Laurie Berman, lberman@pondel.com
 
 

Recessionary Cocktails

Honestly, we’re not big drinkers at PondelWilkinson, but who can resist a good cocktail recipe to take the edge off the recession? The following are suggestions from The New Yorker.
 
Long Island Iced 401(k) – Put hopes in shaker. Add dreams. Shake until dashed, then drink all the vodka, gin, tequila, and rum left in liquor cabinet.
 
Broke & Tan – Fall asleep in yard on weekday, wake up sunburned and so dehydrated that anything tastes good.
 
Nasdaiquiri – Add a dozen I.P.O.’s to portfolio, wait until bubble bursts, drink all day every day.
 
Blackberry Sling - Discover that your BlackBerry doesn’t work because you haven’t paid the bill. Sling it against the wall, then buy a prepaid phone and make some rum in your toilet.
 
Please feel free to submit other suggestions and they will magically appear on this blog. Cheers.

 

Evan Pondel, epondel@pondel.com
 
 

Roth ‘n Roll

I just returned from the 20th Annual Roth Conference in Dana Point, Calif. All of the usual suspects were there toting their Roth beach bags around like tourists in search of a secluded cove, or in this case, a quiet table to talk shop.
 
Not sure if Roth put something in the water, but everyone seemed excessively happy. I looked around the room during our one-on-one session and noticed a sea of smiles meeting and greeting and eating.
 
The stock market is down, smelling salts of a recession are in the air, and the Fed keeps cranking out weak data.  Am I missing something? Is there a Prozac vendor nearby?
 
I realize that nearly a third of the attendees hail from the East Coast, and popping pastries at the Ritz-Carlton Dana Point in mid-February is a lot more appealing than popping antacid while knee deep in traffic on the Major Deegan. But investors and presenting companies were practically gleeful at this year’s Roth conference.
 
The fact is Roth knows how to throw a good party. Our buy-side meetings were with top-notch firms. The evening entertainment included In-N-Out Burger and alt-rockers Good Charlotte. And the Ritz-Carlton box lunch included a cookie that was moist and, well, delicious.
 
I suppose my only complaint is the noise level that emanated from neighboring tables during our one-on-one meetings. That, of course, and the distracting view of the handful of surfers and the Pacific Ocean that serve as a backdrop from nearly every vantage point at the hotel. 

 

Evan Pondel, Senior Associate, epondel@pondel.com