Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Latest on the Economy: Case-Shiller and the Conference Board

It's hard to get a handle on which way the economy is headed.

The stock market has held onto the gains of the spring and summer (and some stocks have even continued to rise - I'm thinking here of GE and Intel), and many commentators seem to think a turning point has been reached. I think even Ben Bernanke announced an official "end" of the recession a couple of weeks ago.

But, the unemployment situation remains incredibly bad and certain writers are not at all optimistic (the cover story in a recent New Republic argued that the government is fast-laying a groundwork for the next crash, and Daniel Gross is convinced the real estate market remains a disaster).

In this morning's Washington Post, Dina ElBoghdady reports on two data points released yesterday which illustrate the continuing uncertainty:
  • The Case-Shiller index showed a 1.6% increase in home prices from June to July -- the third straight monthly increase (however, prices are 13.3% lower, nationally, than they were at the same time last year)

  • The Conference Board's consumer confidence index unexpectedly dipped from August to September
I continue to believe that a recovery (or lack thereof) depends enormously on the government convincing everyone to go on another buying-binge. This is why I think Congress will re-up the first-time homebuyer's credit (or even extend it to all homebuyers) -- the pressure remains intense on government officials to do all they can to stimulate people to buy, buy, buy.

No comments:

Post a Comment