“Blame it on the weather” seems to have quickly become the consensus mantra to explain away the recent lackluster performance of many companies. Just last week, Fed chief Janet Yellen joined the chorus saying that harsh winter weather may have had a negative impact on recent economic data.
We wanted to know how people outside the Fed and Old Wall assessed the situation in our Poll of the Day. So we asked: Is the weather to blame for the lackluster performance of companies or is it an excuse?
At the time of this post, 67.5% of respondents picked EXCUSE with 32.5% chose WEATHER.
One voters who wasn’t buying the weather EXCUSE asked “Come on. Did the dog eat your homework, too?”
Another commenter said, “No one ever cites good weather as the reason for accelerating sales growth and expanding operating margins. CEOs/CFOs take all the credit during good times and are quick to defer to extenuating circumstances during bad times. A shame really...”
Over in the “Blame Mother Nature” camp, Hedgeye Managing Director Moshe Silver said WEATHER was to blame arguing, “People's perceptions about weather patterns have changed. After Katrina and Sandy, people fear that the "storm of the century" will be more like the storm of the week. The internet is full of reports of solar activity unlike anything earth has experienced for 1,000 years and how it creates extreme weather conditions. Real or not, it's got people spooked; changing consumption patterns are to be expected. This is just the beginning.”
One voter who blamed WEATHER wrote, “Because I wasn't even able to get to work; forget about a shopping mall or even Home Depot for a shovel.”
Another blame the WEATHER voter added, “Look, the U.S. economy isn't exactly firing on all cylinders. I get it. But to suggest that the weather hasn't played a significant role in curbing consumer spending strains credulity. Have you been outside lately?”
One thing is for sure, it will take more than a few months of frosty temperatures to truly know if weather was the culprit for this period of slow growth.