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Irrational Exuberance?

With spring now in full bloom, so too is the season for optimism, raising hopes that the third longest economic recovery in U.S. history has the strength to continue. But things are never that tidy or simple. When everyone is optimistic, the shock effect of any downside surprise could wreak havoc. By definition, it’s impossible […]

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No Winter Blues

Economists have a habit of downplaying the significance of data for a single month, famously noting that one-month does not make a trend. Investors, of course, do not always heed that warning, as they just as famously tend to overreact, particularly when incoming data either exceed or fall short of expectations. That divergent response has […]

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Solid Start to 2017

The U.S. economy continues to ride a strong wave of optimism both on Main Street and Wall Street, and hopefully this upbeat mind-set will prevail longer than last year. The Federal Reserve and most private economists were upbeat regarding the outlook for 2016. Expecting stronger growth and higher inflation, the Fed ended 2015 by raising […]

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High Hopes

Since optimism for 2017 is based on hope—as well as hype—only time will provide the answers. Yes, the economy picked up some momentum over the second half of last year and the fundamentals pointing to future growth remain positive. But the likely second-half growth pace of 2.5-3.0 hardly represents the escape velocity that has eluded […]

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Election Ends; Economic Uncertainty Continues

In the aftermath of the election, the equity markets moved higher, which was as surprising to many as the election outcome itself. While Hillary Clinton was a known quantity, likely to continue President Obama’s policies, President-elect Trump is expected to bring change. Investors and traders tend to react adversely to the unfamiliar, shunning risky assets […]

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Households Are Finally Doing Better

After seven years of getting a bad rap, the much-maligned upturn may finally earn some accolades. But while the economy has come a long way from the depths of the Great Recession, it is still running well below its potential. In the labor market, where the unemployment rate stands at a low 4.9%, the share […]

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Sudden (but Temporary) Drop in Job Growth

Over the last three quarters, economic data has shown a divergence between output growth and job creation. From last fall until this spring, companies expanded payrolls at a brisk clip even as the economy’s growth engine downshifted to a crawl speed in the first quarter. Most Fed officials believed the job market was a more […]

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Capital Spending is the Missing Ingredient

Policy makers have to be mostly pleased with the economy’s performance since they met in December; the job market has continued to improve, the U.S. has emerged relatively unscathed from worsening economic developments overseas and the latest figures put inflation within reach of where the Fed would like it to be. If recent trends stay […]

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