Need-to-Know Numbers You Might Have Missed Last Week

Frank Holmes
Cost of a Thanksgiving Dinner in the U.S. Effectively Unchanged From Last YEar
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55 Million Travelers

If you traveled at all last week, I hope you planned ahead. An estimated

Another year, another Thanksgiving. I hope all of my American friends and readers had the chance to spend some quality time with family as we begin the busy holiday shopping season. The leading retail trade group expects sales in November and December to increase as much as 4.2 percent over last year, for a total potential value of $730.7 billion.

Part of this growth is due to the market selloff that happened at the end of 2018. But there’s more to the story than that.

As I recently told you, the U.S. purchasing manager’s index (PMI), a leading indicator of economic activity, turned up for the third straight month in November. This is a good reflection of healthy demand, and a possible signal of further upside. There’s still a month left to 2019, and yet stocks are already up an incredible 28 percent.

Below are some more need-to-know numbers you might have missed from this last week.

$0.01 Increase for a Thanksgiving Dinner

One of the more interesting ways to measure U.S. inflation is by tracking the annual price of a typical Thanksgiving dinner for 10. That’s what the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has been doing for the past 34 years, and in its most recent survey, the group found that the total cost was effectively flat, rising only $0.01—from $48.90 in 2018 to $48.91 today. That’s as little as $5 per person. As Evercore ISI pointed out in a research note this week, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is lower now than it was eight years ago—the first time we’ve seen that since 1947.

“Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world,” commented AFBF Chief Economist John Newton.

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55 Million Travelers

If you traveled at all last week, I hope you planned ahead. An estimated 55 million people in the U.S. were expected to hit the road or take to the skies this Thanksgiving season, up 1.6 million people, or nearly 3 percent, from last year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). That’s the most people since 2005. Looking at air travel alone, some 4.45 million Americans are expected to fly on domestic airlines, an annual increase of 4.6 percent.

$10 Billion Stake in U.S. Airlines

Speaking of airlines… In last week’s equity and bond report, Murenbeeld & Co. analysts Brian Bosse and Chantelle Schieven brought to our attention a lesson inspired by Warren Buffett—namely, investors must change when the facts change.

As recently as 12 years ago, Buffett was famously warning investors to steer clear of the airline industry, which had been destroying capital at least since deregulation in 1978. After the industry consolidated and restructured a couple of years later, however, airlines have committed themselves to capacity growth discipline and returning value to shareholders.

“When an industry changes from reliably destroying shareholder capital into providing reliable positive returns which create economic value, then astute investors should take notice,” Boose and Schieven write.

Buffett certainly …read more

Source:: Frank Talk