So what is the state of the U.S. economy right now, given that shares are down around 20pc from October peaks?
Car sales are at a 10-year low, with General Motors’ shares selling at levels last experienced in the 1950s. GM, Ford and Chrysler may just be running into liquidity crises as cash flow fades, according to Wall Street sources.
With the climate change bandwagon running strongly, it will take time to shut down the 4×4 factories and increase output at plants producing smaller cars. Profits will fall as a result.
Housing starts have fallen by half from their January 2006 peak. The National Association of Home Builders’ index is at an all-time low. Inventories of unsold houses remain high, with foreclosures rising.
Most of the foreclosures and price falls are centered in California, Nevada (especially Las Vegas) and Florida.
Average prices in Manhattan continue to rise, driven in part by Europeans and others. Considering that a euro buys around $1.60 worth of property in New York, this must be a bonanza for cash-rich Europeans.
Last week’s jobs report was generally in line with expectations, essentially bad, but not cliff-falling territory.
Non-farm payrolls dropped by 62,000 in June, and earlier reports of lost jobs were revised upward by 52,000.
Since December, non-farm payrolls are down by 438,000. The unemployment rate remains at 5.5pc, not particularly high by historic standards.
A mixed picture then. Not as healthy as one might expect, but not the worst-case scenario either.
However, with the credit crunch bill now forecast to reach $1.6trillion, the outlook may be blacker than many realize.