A lot of the weakness in US economic activity has been due to natural disasters. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the resulting loss of electric power caused a loss of production in tightly-linked production processes. Just-in-time manufacturing comes to a juddering halt if any part can't be produced -- and disruption from the earthquake itself followed by a collapse in electricity production meant that even unaffected plants couldn't continue manufacturing. This affected the US car plants of the Japanese car manufacturers too. There was also a major flood in the mid-west of the US, which also impacted production and sales.
Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. I do make mistakes, but I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. The expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would.
The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.
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