Investment News You Can Use.Markets ended another volatile week lower despite a bounce in oil prices. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.81%, the Dow fell 1.43%, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.59%. Amid volatile stock prices and disappointing global economic news, you may have heard a lot of chatter on media networks about whether the U.S. economy is facing another recession. In this week’s market update, we wanted to share our views. Why is there so much talk about a recession? With oil prices barreling below $27 amid a global slowdown, a lot of financial commentators are talking more seriously about the potential for a U.S. recession. These recession fears are not baseless and we’re taking them seriously. Predicting a recession is always a difficult exercise because it relies on balancing positive and negative indicators, many of which are based on old data. We heard from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last week that the Fed sees a mixed economic picture ahead. She further warned that the U.S. economy could feel the effects of economic turmoil abroad. Though Fed economists aren’t currently worried about a recession, you can bet that they are taking a close look at potential recession triggers. What are they looking at?
- Continued weakness in oil and commodity prices that are hurting energy producers.
- Emerging market issues (particularly in China) that affect exports and U.S. firms.
- Falling demand in the manufacturing sector.
- Worries that central banks are out of bullets.
ECONOMIC CALENDAR:Monday: U.S. Markets Closed for Presidents Day Holiday Tuesday: Empire State Mfg. Survey, Housing Market Index, Treasury International Capital Wednesday: Housing Starts, PPI-FD, Industrial Production, FOMC Minutes Thursday: Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, EIA Petroleum Status Report Friday: Consumer Price Index
- Supreme Court Justice Scalia passes away. The conservative justice’s death leaves a gap in the nation’s highest court and ups the stakes in this year’s presidential election. It is not clear whether it will be President Obama or his successor who will nominate the next justice.
- Retail sales rise more than expected. Consumers spent more than forecasted in January across many categories of goods, easing fears about consumer spending this year.
- Consumer sentiment drops. Worries about the economy took their toll on a measure of consumer optimism though long-term prospects remain stable.
- Chinese exports slump in January. China’s exports – a major driver of the economy – dropped 11.2% from the previous January. The fall was larger than forecast and highlights China’s growing economic woes.
Quote Of The Week
“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb