Q2 2017 Market Commentary
As Mainers, we relish our summers. Summer is the big dividend that follows months of endurance. First, snow, then rain, then mud and black flies. When it finally arrives, there’s nothing much better than a Maine summer.
As we savor the fatness of summer, we have to recognize that we are also sitting in the fatness of an economic summer:
- The unemployment rate is expected to be just 4.30% by the end of the year. To put this into context, the unemployment rate has been lower just one other time in the past 40 years.
- The S&P 500 Index has returned more than 9% since the start of the year, and it’s returned nearly 18% over the trailing 12 months.
- Corporate earnings are at 10-year highs, and they’re expected to grow more than 18% this year.
- Consumer confidence is at a 10-year high.
- The Bloomberg Financial Conditions Index, a broad measure of the country’s financial health, is at a 10-year high.
- To top it all off, interest rates are still low and inflation remains contained.
The economy is not too hot, and it’s not too cold. Like a Maine summer, it’s just about right. Take a moment to enjoy it. After many long years of economic thaw here in America, we’ve all earned the right to enjoy the summer sun on our cheeks.
Now, it would be wonderful if there were some way to control the weather. We could make every day a Maine summer day. Of course, that’s impossible. It’s also impossible to entirely control the economic cycle, but that doesn’t stop economists and politicians from trying.
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