This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

January 18, 2006

Purse Strings Loosening

People who were being very careful with their discretionary funds are beginning to change their attitudes and behaviors. The tight-fisted trend is shifting to more risk-taking and more comfort using extra money for personal happiness instead of security.

In Las Vegas and many other gambling venues, activity has increased. Gamblers are willing to take the chance of losing more than they have for the past few years. For the gambling establishments, this is wonderful news. Casino payrolls are stronger, more seats are filled in the entertainment shows, and suppliers to the industry are delighted. Slot machine manufacturers like International Game Technology are big winners.

Visitor traffic to Las Vegas is up substantially, driving convention business and investment in resort property. Prices of publicly traded casino and entertainment stocks are climbing. Nevada continues to grow at a rapid rate, with a significant part of the attraction being the gaming industry and related enterprises.

Legendary Las Vegas is only a visible representation of the bigger picture. American Indian casinos are bringing in a considerable amount of revenue. Nationally, they surpass the income of similar facilities in the entire county surrounding Las Vegas. Casinos in California, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana, are all enjoying growth. It’s an international phenomenon—even beyond fabled Monte Carlo. The industry is strong in the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Poland, and Japan, and even on the Internet.

Investors are looking for more adventure and higher risk opportunities that offer the possibility of high return. Stock brokers confirm that they have seen a more bold approach on the part of some of their investors who had been conservative in the past.

Recreational vehicle and entertainment industries show increases that suggest people are less concerned about protecting their assets for a rainy day. They are willing to use some of those funds for short-term or long-term personal pleasure. Even pet spas and resorts have increased in popularity. As we move into the next couple of years, more people will eat in restaurants, take vacations, and buy experiences and material goods they have avoided since the economy turned down in 2000.

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