Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Entertainment Business Barometer: Wall Street Stock Performance & Washington

The entertainment business, like other business segments is certainly linked to the larger economy as well as the performance of Washington during economic crisis times. Modern American business community history of performance of Wall Street stocks also seems to be an important barometer of ultimate Washington performance approval more than any other measurement tool. Individual Washington public approval polls overall don't seem to matter quite as much as this important Wall Street stock value performance barometer.

Starting with Herbert Hoover as an example, the American stock market suffered a decline of nearly 30% in value. Hoover was not re-elected. However, his successor, Franklin Roosevelt witnessed a nearly 25% stock market value increase during his first administration, although the war later lowered stock values somewhat as the production of some products suffered during the war, while other products flourished with military spending. In the 1949-53 years under Truman, Wall Street did have a slight 10% value increase, but did seem to be under-performing somewhat without the added value of huge war spending pumping up some industries.

During the first Eisenhower Administration, Wall Street did see about a 15% bounce in value. However, during the second term as the American economy cooled, stock markets values became flat. During the Kennedy Administration, there was a 10% market value growth again. However, during the Johnson Administration, while the American economy continued to grow, the weight of the Vietnam war seemed to drag down stocks once again and Wall Street performance seemed flat despite the overall economy growth. During the 60's full size Chevrolet models would sell around 800,000 units a year, a production figure never to be again matched.

As the Vietnam War drug on, Wall Street performance under Nixon was actually flat, although Nixon won a massive re-election in 1972. However, under Gerald Ford, Wall Street performance actually worsened with a sort of stagflation(a stagnant economy and inflation both). Surprising, as bad as the recession was under Jimmy Carter, Wall Street performance did increase by a mere 5% in value, which was considerably better than the 5% market value decrease under Ford.

During the first Reagan Administration, the Wall Street market performance actually worsened from the 5% growth under Carter, to a flat growth level. However, during the second term, a modest Wall Street growth of about 8% in stock values was recorded.

During the only term of the first President Bush, Wall Street stock values again became flat and experienced a zero market value growth rate. However, during the first Clinton Administration, stock values underwent a 10% value growth and then a value growth of about 17% during the second term. The stock market value also increased to around 11,000 points.

However, during the George Bush Administrations, stocks dramatically tumbled to around 6,600 points. Yet, voters seemed forgiving enough of the president's performance because of the 9/11 attacks and military action in Afghanistan and Iraq to re-elect him despite terrible Wall Street stock value performance.

So far, Wall Street has some interesting perspectives about the young Obama Administration, not even in office one full year. Wall Street has rebounded to the 10,000 point level, which isn't quite as good as the high mark under the Clinton term, yet is a significant watermark level. Further, both the banking community and the auto industry were at least made stable by Washington performance actions. Certainly, Wall Street stock values would have suffered a serious hit if there were major manufacturing or banking institution losses if Washington didn't act.

Still, there is strange unevenness in the business community right now. While many Wall Street stock values are soaring, and some companies that were so close to bankruptcy only a year ago are recording huge recent profits while many small businesses are experiencing very difficult times. Many small businesses can't get the credit they need to survive financially. Some businesses may be hiring, but others are cutting jobs as consumer spending remains fairly flat. Yet, Goldman Sachs is now paying huge bonuses.

Washington action on the economy might have prevented a second version of the Great Depression, but it has also created a climate where some major Wall Street businesses were major beneficiaries of Washington aid and doing well, while main street businesses continue to lag near to economic death. Unemployment might have declined slightly from a 10.2% to 10.0% level, with the fewest number of jobs lost since the start of this recession. However, that's little comfort to millions hurting in this Christmas season. It's also little comfort to many small struggling businesses.

The ultimate verdict on the performance of Washington during this crisis has not yet been yet set. There are still many factors and time to be played out. But retail products such as DVDs, Cd's, and other entertainment goods are all likely to experience lower sales than could be expected during better times. A lackluster Christmas for many retailers is probably to be expected.


At 5:58 AM, Blogger james said...

Interesting… I might try some of this on my blog, too. It’s quite interesting how you sometimes stop being innovative and just go for an accepted solution without actually trying to improve it… you make a couple of good points
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