Double dipping in the filings…

September 1, 2010

Hardly a day goes by without hearing somebody’s opinion on whether we’re headed for a double-dip recession. Last week, it was Fed Chief Ben Bernake saying he would do whatever he could to avoid the double dip, which as this NPR story shows is being viewed as an increasing possibility. And this morning, there’s a new survey out by Citibank (C) that shows that an overwhelming majority of small business owners — a whopping 86% — believe the economy is headed for a double-dip.

Given all this, we thought we’d take a look at some recent filings to see if there’s any consensus there on the much-feared double dip. To be sure, we saw a marked increase in the number of companies talking about a double-dip recession in their filings. How much more? We counted nearly 200 filings during August that talked about a double-dip recession in some form or another. That compares to exactly 1 filing during August 2009.

Much of this concern is being noted in the filings made by mutual fund companies, the investments most favored by so-called mom and pop investors. While we don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to these filings here at footnoted, we thought this was worth a short diversion off the usual footnoted path.

For example, yesterday, George C.W. Gatch, president and CEO of JP Morgan Funds noted in his President’s letter that “The U.S. economy has clearly entered a soft patch on its path to economic recovery. These signs of slower growth have ignited concerns that we are headed for a double-dip recession. Although there is uncertainty over the pace of the recovery, investors should note that double dip recessions have historically been rare.”

Jonathan Baum, Chairman and CEO of mutual fund giant The Dreyfus Corp was even more optimistic in his letter filed on Monday, noting that “we still believe that it is unlikely that we—ll encounter a —double-dip recession.” And US Global Investors Funds (UNWIX) noted in its letter that “the “double-dip” recession debate is escalating…With growing concerns about a slowdown or even a “double-dip” recession in the U.S. and Europe, China may ease up on its policies directed at slowing the economy.”

While I majored in economics at college, that was a long time ago. As a result, I don’t profess to be one of the prognosticators on whether we’re on the verge of a double-dip and will leave that to the so-called experts. But judging by what we’re seeing in the filings — the sheer number alone should tell you all that you need to know — fears of a double dip are clearly a big concern

Image source: The Food Section

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