Year End Strategy Review
I can’t help but think back to a phrase I first heard in the early 1990’s, “the Goldilocks economy”, the reference is to the children’s story, The Three Bears. It best describes the current state of the US economy as being not too hot and not too cold or in other words an economy with moderate economic growth and low inflation. So far, it seems like everything is just about right. US GDP has continued to pick up through 2017 with the latest third quarter reading of 3.2% up from 1.2% and 3.1% in the first quarter and second quarters respectively. Inflation has remained in check notwithstanding the latest November reading of headline inflation, which climbed to 2.2% mostly due to rising energy prices. Excluding food and energy, core inflation is running at 1.7% and more importantly, the latest reading for the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) preferred measure of inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), was only 1.5%, well below the Fed’s notional target of 2%. The other factor the Fed looks at in determining future interest rate policy is employment, which has remained solid so far in 2017 with the November unemployment rate at 4.1%, a 17-year low.