RJH writes...

Napoleon Bonaparte. Invaded Russia with 650,00 men. Returned with less than 40,000. Blamed the disaster entirely upon an early winter. The French call that culot (nerve) and, unsurprisingly, was yet another reason the fellow enjoyed some notoriety both at home and away.

Wachovia Securities. Forecasting nonfarm payroll gains of 250,000 in September (data to be released this Friday). Consensus is 150,000 to 155,000. Wachovia have hedged their number, blaming in advance this year's hurricanes as "a real wild card". More culot, given the Wachovia August and July predictions: both monthly calls were optimistic - wildly so for July - and significantly above consensus.

Having written about this previously I can confirm, again, that forecasting is just a teeny-weeny bit difficult. Especially when it's about the future. However, there is demand for it and those convinced by the analysis of the Wachovian chief and senior economists should without delay buy cfds, calls, Bush-futures and whatever else is for sale. Bet the farm if you have faith because an actual this Friday of 250,000 will cause more than an upward ripple. And it will win the Wachovia economists some Napoleonic-like fame.

But if they are spectacularly wrong and strong again, clients may soon forget them as: upon the death of Napoleon, George IV was told "Majesty, your worst enemy is dead." His reply was "Is she, by God!"

Touchingly, his thoughts had turned first to his Queen, Caroline.

Postscript: The data showed 96,000 jobs added. Time for a model rebuild. If they must.

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