The lesson from Black Monday

Black Monday taught individual investors a lesson 20 years ago, said Justin Lahart in The Wall Street Journal. Stocks bounced back within a year, and they have recovered after every drop since that plunge. Individual investors have been paying attention, and learned to continue to “plow money into the stock market even when the picture looks bleak.” The risk, some money managers say, is that someday the economy’s “resilience” will run out, and the “buy-on-the-dips strategy” will quickly lose its charm. 

Luxury luxurious again
Luxury is once again “the exclusive preserve of the very rich,” says Daniel Gross in Slate. Ten years ago, luxury businesses convinced “aspirational” shoppers to start trading up. But now, with a “credit crunch, poor housing market, and slowing economy,” America has fractured into three tiers of shoppers: working class, middle class, and ultra rich. And only the ultra rich are not cutting back. Wal-Mart is slashing prices 20 percent to draw shoppers, but Gulfstream and Ferrari dealers “literally can’t keep enough goods in stock.” In fact, in a 10-star world, “luxury businesses are now going to 11.” And shoppers “who don’t come heavy shouldn’t come at all.”
Big beer going flat
It’s a new golden age for American beer, says Garrett Oliver in The New York Times, and “the proposed merger of SABMiller and Molson Coors” just doesn’t matter. A decade ago, the thought of such a “juggernaut” with 30 percent of the market would have worried U.S. “craft brewers.” But now there are 1,500 of them, and they know “there is no future” in industrial beer. By the 1970s, the 4,000 U.S. breweries from the 1800s had been whittled down to about 40, “all making the same bland beer.” But with sales now “flat or declining,” the “age of American industrial brewing is over.” And U.S. beer is once again the toast of the world.