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It is time to dust off the crystal ball and predict what next year will bring. My track record is solid but not flawless. Uncertainty is intense, especially since this an election year, but I believe some trends are strongly evident.
The economy – Mixed news continues to plague our economy, although in general, things are looking up. Job reports and economic news are inconsistent and often dramatically revised, but the trend is positive. The federal debt continues to grow, and some believe it is of no consequence. I’m not among those folks, since, to my simple mind, such assumption defies the basic tenets of economic enterprise and theory. The stock market has reached new heights and manh exoect the trend to continue.
The Fed, recognizing this improvement and weary of inflation, will start tapering off its liquidity programs. I expect the shift to be extremely gradual with a steepening impact on the yield curve. The dollar continues to strengthen as global prospects for economic growth dim further into the future. This may not last, but we should enjoy it while it’s here.
The housing market offers some good news as well, with pricing stabilizing in many (but not all) markets, and in many cases showing double digit growth. Also, our troubles pale by comparison to the Eurozone& Their issues also artificially inflate the market for our Treasuries, given the flight to (relative) safety, which makes our borrowing appetite less painful in the short run.
A Greenwich Associates survey of small business owners and midsized companies shows that the vast majority of both are expecting to make some capital investments this coming year, and are looking to borrow to fund these investments. This, in turn, bodes well not only for banks but for the economy as a whole, as it indicates confidence in future prospects that didn’t exist for quite some time.
In sum, I expect the economy to move slowly upward in 2014 for a while, and have little faith in unemployment figures.
Real estate – Real estate is so local that nationwide predictions are impossible. Overall, things are looking up across the country in most sectors, including sales of existing homes and apartment building
This column will offer fool proof recipes, restaurant suggestions and other foodie tidbits for your consideration and consumption.
You can find more tasty recipes in the Recipe Archive