Lindsey Report – April 2015

The first quarter (Q1) of 2015 was just completed, which means the beginning of spring in Michigan, although snowfall we awoke to on 3/31 did not give any impression of spring, nor did it give me the warm and fuzzy.  In terms of the equity markets, the first quarter ended with a whimper, as the S&P 500 was barely up, rising less than 1% (Rueters).

We have recently seen some up-and-down volatility, as if the market has no real direction.  Interestingly, the S&P 500 experienced several down days in a row, but the first time that it posted back-to-back up days was at the end of the month (MSNMoney).  My feeling is that there is a lack of conviction either positive or negative.

We did receive a final report from the Commerce Dept., stating that the economy grew at 2.2% in Q4 of 2014.  That combined with the cold winter and some lackluster economic reports have led some to predict even slower growth for Q1 2015.  CNBC’s 3/30/15 “Rapid Update”, which averages forecasts from eleven economists, fell .4%.   The new median forecast is for 1.4% growth in Q1.  In other words, they are predicting that the economy started the year slowly, like my car pulling out in the slushy snow Tuesday morning.  Fortunately, those same economists are predicting that the economy will pick up in the second quarter, growing closer to 3.5%.

It is still hard to believe that technically the Great Recession ended mid-way through 2009 (Wikipedia), which means we are nearing the six-year anniversary of this “expansion”.  I realize that many do not feel like the economy has experienced much of a recovery and by many measures it has not (e.g. unemployment, house values in many places, etc…).

Fortunately for investors, the stock markets, as measured by the S&P 500, the Dow and the Nasdaq have all seen very significant gains since that time, and in many cases are significantly higher than they were “pre-recession”.   Although GDP has rarely been “robust”, during this recovery, I’m hopeful that this slow, methodical recovery will continue to lay the groundwork for a stronger economy and a longer term expansion!  Only time will tell!

 

 

The opinions voiced are for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice to any individual. To determine which investments are appropriate for you, consult myself prior to investing. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.  The economic forecasts set forth in this commentary may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantees that strategies promoted will be successful.

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