Brian Wesbury and Bob Stein of FIrst Trust Advisers offer some sunshine on the U.S. economy:
1) Since bottoming in February, consumer confidence has had the fastest three-month increase on record.
2) The ISM manufacturing index, which fell to historic lows over the winter, has climbed from its hole to signal that the overall economy is now expanding.
3) The Richmond Federal Reserve index, a measure of manufacturing in mid-Atlantic states, is showing growth.
4) Container shipments both into and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – key measures of international trade – have traced a V-shaped recovery.
5) In the financial markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note is back up to 3.86%, almost exactly where it was in August 2008, just before the crisis hit.
6) The VIX Index – a measure of stock market volatility and risk – has also traded back to levels not seen since August 2008.
7) Meanwhile, key commodity prices, such as oil, copper, lumber, and gold are well off crisis-period lows.
Their bottom line:
In the last full calendar quarter before September (the second quarter of 2008), real GDP grew at almost a 3% annual rate. This is exactly what we expect for the third quarter of 2009 – 3% real GDP growth – with even faster economic growth in Q4 and then in 2010.