Some people just can't stand prosperity. Do we now include the
entire U.S. government in this group?
Early this year, economists were looking for growth to
strengthen and accelerate, largely based on a comeback in the
housing market. So what did Congress do? Implemented a payroll
tax increase and let the sequester happen, which shrank potential
GDP increases at least a couple of percentage points in the first
half of calendar 2013.
Here we are on the back-side of the year, with Europe's
problems receding and U.S. consumers beginning to demonstrate
some purchasing strength. And now Congress is threatening to shut
down the government? Refusing to raise the debt ceiling? In the
service of… instability in the markets more than anything else,
let's face it.
Say what you will about professional politicians -- and
there's a lot you can say I can't repeat here -- but politicians
in DC these days are just as likely to have studied dentistry or
owned a construction company than studied political science or
economics. So perhaps we may be forgiven for seeing the Capitol
as having been overrun by a group of amateurs.
(Note: my opinions are not necessarily those of Zacks
In the relatively sane world, top-tier homebuilder
) posted a big positive surprise in quarterly earnings this
morning. The company improved EPS 39% year over year and revenues
46%. Lennar is a good indicator of continued strength within the
homebuilding sector overall.
) beat on both the top and bottom lines, and
National Oilwell Varco
) announced plans to spin off its distribution business sometime
in early 2014. And China has lifted a far reaching media ban on
access to U.S.-based websites, which could be a tailwind for
The New York Times
After the Fed's shocker last week to keep QE buybacks in the
near term, it's got me thinking: even though we're a couple weeks
or so away from getting a look at the Fed minutes from its most
recent meeting, is it possible the members of the FOMC weighed
(like an albatross) the possibility of congressional bumbling in
their decision not to taper? Just wondering.
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