Thoughts From Joe - January 17, 2013January 17, 2014 Posted by: Joe Morgan, CFA
Top Eight Job growth in December disappoints, primarily due to weather. The economy added just 74,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent as many dropped out of the labor force. One report does not make a trend and there are other signals of health from the labor market that allow hope for a continued recovery to remain. One interesting note about December's data was the 273,000 people who are estimated to be out of work due to the weather. As the chart below shows, this is the largest number for December since 1977.
Source: Arbor Research
Stanley Fischer was nominated to be Vice Chair of the Fed under Yellen. Fischer is the former head of the Israeli Central Bank and a mentor to most mainstream central bankers and wannabes including Bernanke, Yellen, Mario Draghi, and Larry Summers. Fischer as number two at the Fed seems an odd choice given his vast experience and accomplishments. It may signal a lack of faith in Yellen from the Obama camp, but that doesn't really matter now. What's important is how Stanley Fischer sees his role at the Fed. Will he follow Yellen's lead, swallowing his lifelong stature as a driver of policy, or will he continue to be outspoken, particularly in areas where he disagrees with the new Fed Chair? I don't have insight on this yet, but I think we'll learn pretty quickly whether Dr. Fischer intends to muzzle himself.
The House and Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill, avoiding another government "shut-down." No major surprises were included in the final version of the Murray-Ryan compromise from last month. In short, Republicans will not push the government into "shut-down" status and Democrats are licking their wounds from the ACA. If we can continue this state of political détente, the political uncertainty facing business and consumers will begin to fade.
Stocks are off to a bad start as earnings season seems a bit sluggish. Analysts estimate per share profits in the S&P 500 to be up 6...Read More