Waking up to what the day holds can be difficult in an economy like this.  While I generally expect things to be tough for most companies out there, it is nearly impossible to predict how the stock market will react.  One of the toughest parts of a performance driven job, where you can be judged by the minute, is to keep yourself from permitting that very thing.  I need to remind myself of that today.

Yesterday was a surprisingly good day for the markets, particularly considering an utter lack of participation by the financial sector.    While it is encouraging to see the market make some progress, it will will likely be difficult for the move to be sustained without financials’ participation.  Given that the current troubles are one part credit crunch and one part recession, a recovery will require healing at both ends.

Here is a fascinating statistic I learned this morning.  Automobile sales in China during January exceeded those in the United States.  Wow, is about all I can say.  I noticed an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal Monday, suggesting that cobbler’s sales were up 50% in recent months as customers fix what they wear (shoes, luggage etc) rather than buy new.  This trend gets me intrigued by companies like Autozone and O’Rielly Group, but with defensives like PG and COST and WMT pulling back so much, I get a tad gun shy about buying anything that is hanging in there reasonably well. 

Someone else made an interesting comment this morning, suggesting that when oil gets back to $50-60 we’ll likely know that the economy is starting to mend.  I agree that this could be a decent indicator as well, although it will likely be a coincident or lagging indicator rather than a leading one. 

Cisco Systems reports earnings after the close tonight and will be an interesting one to watch.  After covering the company for years, I have learned that they are decent barometer of nearer term, global trends.