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).
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.
The second-half economy may not be as strong as we had expected. To wit, after a reassuring 3.0% rise in GDP in the April-to-June period and encouraging early third-quarter metrics, the nation had seemed positioned for a similarly impressive final six months.
The nation will soon enter the homestretch of 2017 facing some unexpected headwinds. To wit, the economy, which stumbled out of the gate during the seasonally slow first quarter, before perking up in the second three months (when the U.S.
Wall Street’s focus has shifted away from the economy to a degree. In part, this evolving emphasis is due to the calendar, as data on manufacturing, employment, homebuilding, and producer and consumer prices are already in the books for this month, although reports on consumer confidence, the gross domestic product, and durable goods orders still are a
The widely expected second-quarter economic comeback arrived on schedule, as a report issued late last month showed that the nation’s gross domestic product had increased by 2.6% in the second quarter, up from a listless 1.2% pace tallied in the first three months.