Victims of the recession: A “perfect storm” of store closings, plunging rental income, rising operating costs and billions of debt in need of refinancing is expected to hit America’s shopping malls this year, warns the financial Web site Seeking Alpha. More than 150,000 stores are expected to close this year, on top of the 150,000 that closed in 2008. The rampant vacancy rates could lead to “ghost malls” and a glut of empty retail space that could take many years to fill. Read the article here.
More fighting: Three out of four Americans say the economic downturn is heaping more stress on their family, and one-third say it has sparked more arguments with their spouse or children, according to a new survey. The Country Financial survey of nearly 1,200 people found that 69% of families have cut back on outings like going to the movies or out to dinner and 41% have slowed contributions to their children’s college or tuition funds.
Reversing the trend: Traders that could find scarce storage space for crude took advantage of prices hovering near five-year lows today, reversing at least for a moment the downward spiraling cost of oil. With the February contract expiring at the end of trading Tuesday, light, sweet crude rose 3.3 percent, or $1.22, to $37.73 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract has fallen about one-third in two weeks because of burgeoning supplies at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for the Nymex. Investors have turned their attention to the March Nymex contract where trading volume is far greater. Prices rose 31 cents to $42.88 on Nymex.