January 7, 2008

Couldn’t Help But Notice (010708)

Covering further Chinese clampdowns on the Internet, and following up on 2007 predictions made at the end of 2006 by Forbes’s Rich Karlgaard and Biz Weak:

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Didn’t see this coming (/sarcasm) — “China to own all Internet video”:

China has upped the ante on censorship, moving beyond the Great Firewall of China to mandate that all Internet video sites must be state-owned. Websites would then be required to follow the same censorship rules as television broadcasters and newspapers, which are already operated, and strictly regulated, by the state.

Apparently, BizzyBlog Internet Wall of Shame members Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cisco, and others were unavailable for comment.

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I said last year that I would follow up on these predictions, so before 2008 turns into 2009, here goes:
Rich Karlgaard of Forbes:

  1. U.S. economy grows at 3%-plus — too early to tell, but with the first three quarters at 0.6%, 3.8%, and 4.9%, Karlgaard will be right if the fourth quarter comes in at 2.8% or better. I think it will.
  2. Global economy grows at 4.5%-plus — again too early to tell. The IMF in May predicted 4.9%. I don’t see any reason to believe Karlgaard will be wrong on this.
  3. American stocks do well — So-so: Dow – nominal +6.4% (8.9% with dividends); S&P 500 – nominal +3.5% (5.5% with dividends); NASDAQ – nominal +9.8% (with dividends not noted). I say Kargaard missed on this one.
  4. Global stocks do better — from the same link as the previous item: “Overseas markets generally trounced the U.S. stock market in 2007, continuing the trend of the last few years.”
  5. Big Tech has another good year — See NASDAQ above. Although it’s a bit short of the 75-plus year long-term trend for stocks in general of 11% (with dividends), it’s good enough.
  6. Web 2.0 inflates to bubble status — No proof of a burst, but enough early signs like this to say it’s probably waiting to. This guy assumes it currently exists.
  7. Bargains emerge in U.S. residential real estate — Well, yeah. The “broad-based” Case Schiller index — which, since it looks at 20 cities, really isn’t — is down quite a bit (PDF link can be found at this page), while overall residential real estate prices are up in nominal terms but trail inflation (not descending into Hades, as you might think from Old Media reports). So there would are probably some pretty good bargains in many of the Case Schiller cities.
  8. Tiny jets begin to ship — Last sentence here about Honda: “So far, Honda Aero has received more than 100 orders for the new jet. Deliveries are set for 2010.” I believe they’re the only ones in the business at the moment.
  9. Hockey and soccer gain popularity — If they did, they must have been very tiny gains. That’s a miss.
  10. The New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLI — Uh, no.

Karlgaard gets a 6 out of 10 (correct on 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7).

Biz Weak’s (that’s how we say “Business Week” around here) home price predictions:

Biz Weak predicted these metro-area home price declines for the year beginning November 7, 2006. Their figure is presented first, followed by the metro-are price declines according to the report from the governmnet’s Office of Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) dated September 30:

  1. Boston, -5.7%; -3.6%
  2. Chicago, -4.3%; +2.16%
  3. Denver, -4.6%; -0.32%
  4. Las Vegas, -5.9%; -2.51%
  5. Los Angeles, -5.1%; -0.07%
  6. Miami, -5.9%; +3.45%
  7. New York, -5.0%; +1.72%
  8. San Diego, -6.0%; -5.07%
  9. San Francisco, -4.7%; -0.93%
  10. Washington DC, -6.0%; -0.33%

Although the date ranges don’t match up (and I don’t see how anyone can audit what Biz Weak did because of the weird date it picked, which may be why they picked it), Biz Weak differs from OFHEO by more than 3% in 8 of the 10 metro areas listed — all in the negative direction (/surprise). Those are misses that by any reasonable definition can’t be explained by the 38-day difference (Sept. 30 – Nov. 7) in the measurement date.

It seems like there wasn’t a lot of 2008 predicting going on at the end of 2007. Given the results noted here, perhaps that’s just as well.

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