A selection of the week’s US headlines: Black Friday sales break records. Consumer confidence brightens. Oil rises above $100 a barrel.
If you find this an awkward juxtaposition, you are not alone. High oil prices are an economic drain, diverting cash from shopping malls to petrol stations in an economy still reliant on consumer spending.
Yet fuel prices that would have left Americans aghast even when they were flush with borrowed cash five years ago are becoming, like congressional paralysis and shorts in November, normal. For investors this is a good thing, because oil may be headed higher still.
US petrol consumption never recovered from the financial crisis. In suburban New York, it is not uncommon to see once-garish gasoline stations boarded up on corner lots.