Fourth quarter GDP was revised down from 2.6 percent to a 2.2 percent. Weak exports and lower than initially reported inventory stocking, were the reasons for the downward revision. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the strength of the U.S. dollar. But, before investors throw their arms up in despair at the tepid rate of U.S. growth, they should take a look at some of the bright spots. Consumer spending increased 4.2 percent. This is indeed solid evidence that the, game-changing 70 perecnt of the economy, consumer remains resilient and that cheap gas will continue to bolster spending in 2015. In addition, Capex (capital expenditures) were significantly bumped up to 4.8 percent despite the fact that any Capex related to the oil sector is under pressure. Capital spending is crucial because it begets more jobs and hence more consumer spending. Overall GDP for 2014 ran about 2.4 percent; higher than 2.2 percent in 2013 and 2.3 percent in 2012, so we’ll take it. Please follow GDP on page 62 of the Voya Global Perspectives™ book.
The Latest Market Commentary From Our Strategists
Weekly Commentary & Statistics
Stock markets extended their gains into the third week of February. In the U.S., a holiday-shortened trading week produced solid progress for most equity indices; both the DJIA and S&P 500 established new records, while the Nasdaq closed just 1.9% short of its March 2000 peak. European and Asian bourses posted similar results to establish new multi-year highs. Yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury was volatile, but ultimately higher; it’s risen nearly 50 bps over the past three weeks. Oil prices remained under pressure and finished lower.
Monthly Commentary & Outlook
- While there’s been no shortage of risks to roil investors here in the new year, it’s more important to focus on ever-growing corporate earnings and adequate diversification.
- Any increase in interest rates during 2015 will be the result of domestic economic strength — which is a good thing.
- The overall net effect of lower oil prices is positive and should help support global economic growth as central banks step up their stimulus efforts.
- If tech sector earnings are any indication, corporate America should be able to navigate around the challenges of a strong dollar.