3M (MMM) provides an interesting window into the economy and the market. The first quarter was strong, but much of that was helped by the weak dollar and U.S. organic growth slipped by nearly 3%.
Furthermore, the company said the second half will likely be weak. And this is from a company that serves airlines, banking, brokers and offices — in other words, a good swatch of this economy. A rising dollar, if it continues, won’t help. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
But on the bright side, and totally unrelated: Housing in the affluent North County area of San Diego, where I live — and where prices have taken a 20% hit — appears to be percolating. I’m surprised by the high price a neighbor just put on his house, and will pulling for him to get it! Prices in this spring market, my Realtor says, have stabilized, with a good number of houses in escrow. However, she adds that the buzz is that it’ll still take at least a year before there is any real sign of light.