The Downturaround is annoyed. As if all of the bad economic news out there is not enough, we just read a blog entry from Floyd Norris in which he links to some dude who spends his time updating a chart showing how the current market crash compares to the worst ones in recent history. This guy gets linked to all the time by all of the pessimism-porn blogs, and it annoys us because, honestly? This is the informational equivalent of having one guy dig a hole and the next guy fill it up. We get it: The market has now performed worse than it did in 1929. Does that actually tell us anything about our current situation or where we're heading that we didn't already know? No, it does not. We at the Downturnaround think people who focus on these things could probably make better use of their time.
As for how we use our time? Well, as always, we are dedicated to making you, the reader, a happier person. And so today we dove straight into the middle of a darkening cloud in order to bring you the silver lining.
• Things are not going great in China. But do you know where Mattel is creating the first ever, full-on Barbie store? A six-story building in Shanghai. And you know why that makes us feel okay? Not because we own any Mattel stock, but because it shows that American companies have plenty to gain from Chinese growth. Screw this talk of "decoupling." Chinese economic expansion does not come at our expense, contrary to what many of the fearmongers out there say. It creates additional markets for America's unparalleled array of global brands. [Bloomberg]
• When big companies can't get it right, there is opportunity for smaller, nimbler competitors. Today's example: Indie filmmaking set to profit from major studios' cutbacks. [Bloomberg]
• Wall Street may be bleeding jobs, but new hiring has not ground to a standstill. [DealBook/NYT]
• Netflix stock continues to thrive, which demonstrates, among other things, that most of the world does not sit still and wait for doom to overtake them (only journalists do that). People and businesses adapt to new circumstances, they come up with new ideas, and eventually everything gets better. [Clusterstock]
• Let's talk about the beleaguered American homeowners for a minute. Perhaps you saw the headlines yesterday about how one in five are underwater on their mortgage. This is not good news. But there's another headline you didn't read: One in three American homeowners owe NO money on their mortgages — because they don't have mortgages: They own their homes outright. So more Americans owe NOTHING than are underwater. Makes you feel a little better, doesn't it? Bonus: Mark Cuban, of all people, has a remarkably hopeful story about not freaking out about being underwater. [Cyberhomes.com]
• The death of equities? Yup, heard that story before. A long, long time ago. [Infectious Greed]