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Support Our Troops - www.LetsSayThanks.com

by Southern Californias Top Producing Mother & Son Te

We think that it is extremely important to be thankful that we are in such a blessed country.  Many of us may disagree about certain things that are going on politically in this country but you have to admit that there is no other country like the US. 

In this Christmas season it's important to be thankful especially for our troops that are oversees ultimately protecting us from harms way.  Go to www.LetsSayThanks.com to send a thank you card to our troops that are halfway around the world.  It takes only 2 minutes to write a personal note to one of our brave troops and it's completley free.  It will be a great gift to them especially now during this time that they are away from their families.  We are so blessed to be able to spend time with our families this Holiday season.  Please send them a than you card.   

The Economy's Summer Sprint is Unlikely to Last

by Southern Californias Top Producing Mother & Son Te

WASHINGTON - The economy sprinted ahead at its fastest pace in four years during the summer, although it is expected to limp through the final three months of this year as the housing and credit debacles weigh on individuals and businesses alike.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product grew at a 4.9 percent pace in the July-to-September quarter, unchanged from an estimate made a month ago. The performance was especially impressive given that the housing market plunged deeper into despair. Builders slashed spending on housing projects in the third quarter at an annualized rate of 20.5 percent, the most in 16 years.

Economic growth in October through December is expected to have slowed to a pace of just 1.5 percent or less. Gross domestic product measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States.

"The economy is slowing down so fast this quarter you can see the skid marks as it slams on the brakes," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group.

The big worry is that individuals will cut back on their spending and throw the economy into a recession. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and others say the odds of that happening have grown this year. Greenspan recently warned that the economy is "getting close to stall speed."

To rescue the economy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues have sliced a key interest rate three times this year; those moves dropped that key rate down to 4.25 percent, a two-year low. Still, Bernanke has been criticized for not moving more quickly and aggressively to deal with the problems.

The collapse of the once high-flying housing market, a mortgage meltdown and a painful credit crunch, have propelled home foreclosures to record numbers. The problems have forced banks and other financial companies to rack up multibillion-dollar losses, have unnerved Wall Street and have the Bush administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress accusing each other of not doing enough to stem the crisis and scrambling for solutions to curb the fallout.

Credit problems have made it harder for people to get financing to buy a home, aggravating the housing slump. The inventory of unsold homes continues to pile up, forcing builders to cut back even deeper on construction projects. Home foreclosures and late payments are expected to get worse. The troubles in housing are expected to drag on well into next year, acting as a weight on national economic activity.

In the third quarter, the housing slump lopped a sizable 1.08 percentage point off GDP. Analysts expect the ailing housing market to bite into economic activity in the coming quarters.

Whether the economy manages to avoid a recession or not will hinge largely on how consumers and the nation's employment situation hold up.

Another report showed that more people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, suggesting that the job market is softening.

The Labor Department reported that new applications filed for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to 346,000. It was a larger increase than economists were expecting. They were forecasting claims to rise to 335,000 last week.

Consumer spending grew at a lukewarm pace of 2.8 percent in the third quarter, just a tad better than the 2.7 percent reported a month ago. Consumer spending, however, is expected to get a lot cooler in the final three months of this year, economists say.

So far, the nation's job market, while slowing down, hasn't fallen to pieces. New job creation and wage gains have helped to support consumer spending and offset some of the negative forces from the housing and credit problems.

The unemployment rate, now at 4.7 percent, is expected to climb to 5 percent by early next year as the economy loses speed. Should the job market abruptly lose momentum, consumers could be spooked and snap shut their wallets and pocketbooks, sending the economy into a tailspin.

"The last major pillar supporting economic growth - consumer spending - may soon start to buckle," warned Bernard Baumohl, managing director of the Economic Outlook Group.

Businesses, however, largely carried the economy in the third quarter. Sales of U.S. exports abroad powered growth. Exports grew by 19.1 percent, on an annualized basis, the most in four years, and even better than previously estimated. Those sales were aided by the falling value of the U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. goods cheaper to buy on foreign markets.

A separate GDP-related gauge of inflation showed that "core" prices - excluding food and energy - increased at a rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, up sharply from a 1.4 percent pace in the second quarter. The new third-quarter core inflation reading was higher than a 1.8 percent growth rate estimated a month ago. The 2 percent reading was at the upper bound of the Fed's comfort zone for inflation.

That pickup suggested that high energy prices are pushing up the prices of other goods and services. High energy prices are a double-edged sword. They can put a damper on growth and also stoke inflation, which would be a dangerous combination for the economy.

The situation could complicate the Fed's job of trying to keep the economy growing, while making sure that inflation is under control. The central bank's bracing tonic for weakening economic growth is lowering its key interest rate, while the remedy for inflation is raising its key rate.

One of the reasons Bernanke and his colleagues opted to slice the Fed's key rate by just one-quarter percentage point on Dec. 11 was because of concerns about a possible inflation flare up. The modest cut disappointed Wall Street, which wanted a bolder, half-point rate reduction. That investor disappointment caused stocks to tumble.

Stock Prices Surge on New Fed Plan

by Southern Californias Top Producing Mother & Son Te

Investors upset by the Fed's quarter-point rate cut Tuesday were relieved by the central banks' commitment to help the economy weather the ongoing credit and mortgage crisis.

The Fed said it had agreed with the European Central Bank and the central banks of England, Canada and Switzerland to confront what it called elevated pressures in the credit markets. The Fed said it will create a temporary auction facility to make funds available to banks and set up lines of credit with the European and Swiss central banks for additional resources.

"I think it's certainly a strong measure to ease this credit crunch and I think it will encourage banks to use the discounted borrowing. If banks won't lend to each other, then at least the central banks will lend to them," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago.

Bond prices fell as investors returned to the stock market. The 10-year Treasury note's yield, which moves opposite the price, rose to 4.13 percent from 3.97 percent late Tuesday.

On Tuesday, stocks plummeted after the Fed lowered the target fed funds rate by a quarter point to 4.25 percent, disappointing investors who hoped for a more aggressive move to boost the economy during the seize-up in credit and rise in home foreclosures. Investors were also unnerved that the central bank did not implement a larger cut in the discount rate - the rate the Fed charges banks - and did not offer a more definite pledge to cut rates further.

"We've thought for some time the market was going to be volatile and trendless until the end of the year," said Brian Gendreau, investment strategist for ING Investment Management. "The Fed rate cut didn't do it to help us get through this weak patch in the economy. These new liquidity vehicles, and coordination with foreign central banks, is what investors were looking for."

Elf Yourself

by Southern Californias Top Producing Mother & Son Te

This is something that you have to do.  Elf yourself.  Go to www.elfyourself.com and transform you and your family into a family of elves.  It is HILARIOUS!!!  You can view our team "elfyourself" clip, just clcik here. or click the picture above. What you see above is just a clip of the viedo that plays when you send the link that is given to you to your friends and family.  We gaurantee that you will get a lot of laughs and have a lot of fun setting it up. 

Send it to your friends and family as an email attachment.  It will be a great Christmas card 

FED to Cut Rates Again!

by Southern Californias Top Producing Mother & Son Te

Most economists are expecting a quarter-point cut in the federal funds rate at Tuesday's meeting, which will be the Fed's last rate-setting discussion this year. That would push the federal funds rate down 4.25 percent and send banks' prime lending rate, the benchmark for millions of consumer and business loans, down to 7.25 percent, the lowest level in two years.

The Fed started cutting rates in September with a bolder-than-expected half-point move and then reduced the funds rate by a quarter-point at its Oct. 31 meeting. The central bank was trying to make sure that a severe slump in housing, spreading mortgage defaults and financial market turbulence which hit with force in August did not derail the economy.

In its October announcement, the Fed indicated that its two rate cuts might well be all that would be needed to make sure the country was not pushed into a recession.

But that view has undergone a dramatic about-face in the six weeks since that time, reflecting worsening conditions in financial markets and continued sharp declines in housing as lenders tighten standards in response to rising mortgage defaults.

Many analysts believe the current quarter and the early part of next year will represent the period of maximum danger for a possible recession.

"I think a full blown recession can be avoided but just barely," said David Jones, chief economist at DMJ Advisors. He predicted that the Fed will follow up its expected December rate cut with three more reductions at its first three meetings of 2008.

For all of 2008, a forecasting panel of the Securities Industry and Financial Market Markets Association said Monday it believed overall economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, would come in at an anemic 2.1 percent as housing construction and sales continue to fall for most of the year. That would be the weakest GDP growth in six years.

 

 

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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Photo of The Mother & Son Team - Maria Palacios & Chris Gon Real Estate
The Mother & Son Team - Maria Palacios & Chris Gon
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, California Properties
16911 Bellflower Blvd
Bellflower CA 90706
(877) 883-1003
Fax: 562-381-9113