This week (January 27 – 31, 2014) the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) policymaking arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), holds the first of its eight meetings this year. The meeting — which will conclude with the FOMC issuing a statement at 2PM ET on Wednesday, January 29 — is being held against the backdrop of a wave of volatility in global financial markets, as market participants brace for another round of tapering by the FOMC.
We — and the consensus of economists as polled by Bloomberg News — expect that the FOMC will vote to taper its purchases of Treasury notes and…
Some things just go together — like the Oscars and Meryl Streep. The actress received her 18th Academy Award nomination last week. It is not all that surprising since half of the annual Academy Awards over the past 36 years have featured Meryl Streep as a nominee. While not as well known, business spending and stock market gains go together at least as well — especially when it comes to renewed spending by manufacturers and the stocks in the industrials sector Last week’s monthly report of U.S. factory capacity utilization, which measures the percentage of maximum potential output currently in use, reached the highest level since mid-2008. The drawdown in spare capacity highlights how long it has been since capacity has been expanded for America’s manufacturers….
The beginning of the year is often full of talk about what indicators to watch as to how the year may unfold: the first five days indicator, the January effect, the Super Bowl indicator, even the Chinese lunar New Year cycle, among many others. Many of these indicators claim to tell us either the outcome for the year or the pattern stocks may take for at least part of it. While most of these are little more than folklore and are easily discredited upon analysis, there is one that has stood the test of time, and I call it: the Year-Two Curse….
LPL Financial Research forecasts U.S. economic growth, as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), to accelerate to 3% in 2014 from the 2% pace of recent years. This marks our first above-consensus annual forecast for GDP in many years. As of mid-December 2013, the Bloomberg-tracked consensus estimate by economists for 2014 was 2.6%. If achieved, the 3% pace of GDP growth in 2014 would be the best performance for the U.S. economy since 2005, when the economy posted 3.4% growth. While a strong growth rate in comparison to the past 10 years, the 3% growth rate would simply equal the average pace of real GDP growth since the end of WWII….