The outlook is brightening as we hit the home stretch of 2017, with the nation quickly regrouping following the succession of deadly hurricanes that struck early in the second half.
The U.S. economy is in a comfort zone as the old year winds down, with recent reports showing further gains in retail sales, largely favorable trends in machine tool orders, and high levels of consumer sentiment.
Investors have had a lot to ponder in recent weeks.
The economy’s resilience is on display. To wit, after a formidable recovery in the second quarter (following a listless first three months), the long up cycle showed its mettle in the July-to-September span.
The headline numbers paint a mixed picture. To wit, we’re seeing reports affirming a solid recovery in orders for durable goods, a nice comeback in retail sales, and a reassuring outlook from the Federal Reserve (the Beige Book).
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The consumer is back in the game, after a spring and early summer that saw the public exercise a considerable degree of restraint. In September, though, Americans flocked to the nation’s car dealers, clothing and accessories stores, furniture outlets, purveyors of food, beverage, and health care products, and the Internet.
The headlines tell only part of the employment story. To wit, the economy lost 33,000 jobs last month—the first monthly decline in seven years. On the face of it, that would portend an ill wind blowing in for investors.
Inconsistency remains the standard for this long business expansion. And nowhere is this more evident than in the 2017 GDP pattern.
Housing remains a core component of the long business expansion. True, records are not being set.