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Whole Foods and New York Investment Firms Smile

Posted by: Greg T. Spielberg on August 06

This is the first week I’ve felt truly optimistic about the American economy. I generally am optimistic, but it’s a general je ne sais quoi that is nothing to write about. The U.S. economy, however, gave much to be optimistic about — news that pushed BusinessWeek/YouGov’s Optimism Index past 50 for the first time. The Index will be live on our Case For Optimism collection page come Monday.

In New York City’s financial sector, where an estimated 70,000 jobs have been lost, profits are finally back up. BusinessWeek writer Esmé E. Deprez quotes a somewhat surprised analyst at the city’s Independent Budget Office who says the sector’s recovery “seems to be happening quicker than we expected.” Part of the profits have come from proprietary flash and high-frequency trading, which are under fire from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the SEC mostly because of their lack of transparency.
Some SEC regulation is good thing too, and I’m sure we’re all confident in Goldman’s ability to make profits. The firm’s 2Q net income was $3.4 billion, bringing it closer and closer to oil-company margins.

Another early riser was Whole Foods, whose share price increased 16% in one day this week. The stock has tripled in value since January, a surprising leap considering the attention given to consumers’ down-market food purchases throughout the winter. The Whole Foods jump suggests two things: 1) Shoppers are willing to spend some more on their produce and specialty items. 2) Investors feel safe putting their money into the market again. I vote for #2. You?

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.



BusinessWeek’s Joe Weber, Patricia O'Connell, Michelle Conlin, Frederik Balfour, Peter Coy, Greg Spielberg and Roger Crockett examine The Case for Optimism by looking past the financial turmoil and economic unrest gripping the globe to focus on the promising future that lies on the other side of this storm. We’ll chronicle the forward thinkers investing in R&D, launching promising new products, entering new markets, or implementing management and leadership.

See why BusinessWeek Editor-In-Chief Stephen J. Adler is optimistic about the economy amid the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.

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