GDP continued its modest growth trend with an upwardly revised GDP growth estimate for the fourth quarter of 2016 to a still lackluster 1.9% (vs. 1.6% for the entire calendar year of 2016 – the worst performance since 2011). Growth last quarter was driven by a large increase in consumer spending (which was, in turn, driven by rising consumer sentiment), offset to some degree by reduced business investment. We’re still a few days away from the official release of first quarter 2017 growth numbers, but our expectations are for somewhat muted results. Read More
The biggest event of the 4th quarter for us here in the U.S. and probably for those overseas as well, was the surprise election of Donald Trump as President. This is the second (or possibly the third) surprise election in 2016, the first being the Brexit vote that occurred back in June. As with the Brexit vote, the electoral victory of Donald Trump was greeted by a short-lived market swoon which was quickly retraced. Here in the US, the retracement was followed by a jump to new record highs in the markets, in what is now being called “the Trump [ read more ]
Has Brexit (the UK’s secession from the European Union) doomed Europe and the UK to future recession? If Donald Trump wins the presidential election, are the markets going to plunge? When will the Federal Reserve raise rates, and when they do, are we headed for another recession? Speaking of recession, aren’t we due for the next one in the United States; it’s been almost nine years? This is just a small sample of the questions we’re all asking and thinking about. Our short answer – no one knows for sure, but let’s take a deeper look and see if we [ read more ]
Investors experienced a turbulent roller-coaster ride to start 2016, ultimately resulting in a tale of two halves in the first quarter. Rampant volatility across US equity markets carried over from the end of 2015, sending markets down by as much as 10% initially. However, several of the themes that negatively dominated the month of January reversed course by March, resulting in the S&P 500 ending in positive territory as of March 31st. These themes included climbing oil prices, a rebounding energy sector, and a falling value of the U.S. dollar.
Fourth Quarter 2015 – Economic Commentary PDF