On a tangentially related topic, it has been like a reflex, a throat clearing, for many business journalists to say that the housing market is everything in the American economy. The latest entry, one of so many, came this week from a New York Post column. "No doubt about it, the housing industry is in trouble," he led, getting no argument from The Business Press Maven, before starting a big one: "And as housing goes, so goes the national economy." Uh, not quite. Housing -- as we may have seen in a GDP number that may or may not hold -- could have slowed the American economy. In truth, even assuming a heavy upward revision, it probably did. But as far as investors are concerned, companies have been making money on international trade hand over fist, head over foot, elbow over knee. As Business Press Maven readers well know, there is nothing I have been more positive about than the long-term economic effects of international trade. As I
One of the biggest long-term positives of the American economy -- and one of its least noted -- is the potential for lasting increases in exports thanks to globalization. The American economy will still feel the positive effects of this ultimate trend when our children's children are pontificating about stock market movement.Along with capital spending by businesses, this is the reason (as all you letter writers know) that I have long made the case that while the housing market will be grim, stock pickers will still find it a good period. But even in my uncanny wisdom and foresight, I did not anticipate the additionally positive effects on American-based multinationals of burgeoning international trade with a weak dollar. Which is why, as much as I like to gloat -- vanity becomes me -- we now have to shift gears, or rather keep ongoing track of how much the weak dollar is adding a lift.