Homebuilding and Retailing Stock Indexes Speak Volumes

By: Paul Kasriel | Wed, Jul 19, 2006
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Together, consumer spending and residential investment (housing) account for about 75% of GDP. Financial market prices tend reflect investors' expectations. These expectations may or may not turn out to be realized but they are based on the information and analysis at hand. Because investors stand to gain or lose funds based on the positions they take in a market, there is an incentive for them to seek out the most information and best analysis when placing a "bet" in a market. Below are charts of two stock market indexes - the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Housing Sector Index and the S&P 500 Retailing Index. Both of them set 52-week lows today. What does that tell you about the U.S. economic outlook for the next several quarters? What do you think will happen to these indexes if the Fed continues to push up the fed funds rate? Perhaps someone ought to email Chairman Bernanke a copy of these charts to help prepare his remarks before the Senate on Wednesday morning.

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Housing Sector Index

S&P Retailing Index



Paul Kasriel

Author: Paul Kasriel

Paul L. Kasriel
Director of Economic Research
The Northern Trust Company
Economic Research Department
Positive Economic Commentary
"The economics of what is, rather than what you might like it to be."
50 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60675

Paul Kasriel

Paul joined the economic research unit of The Northern Trust Company in 1986 as Vice President and Economist, being named Senior Vice President and Director of Economic Research in 2000. His economic and interest rate forecasts are used both internally and by clients. The accuracy of the Economic Research Department's forecasts has consistently been highly-ranked in the Blue Chip survey of about 50 forecasters over the years. To that point, Paul received the prestigious 2006 Lawrence R. Klein Award for having the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip survey participants for the years 2002 through 2005. The accuracy of Paul's 2008 economic forecast was ranked in the top five of The Wall Street Journal survey panel of economists. In January 2009, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes cited Paul as one of the few who identified early on the formation of the housing bubble and foresaw the economic and financial market havoc that would ensue after the bubble inevitably burst. Through written commentaries containing his straightforward and often nonconsensus analysis of economic and financial market issues, Paul has developed a loyal following in the financial community. The Northern's economic website was listed as one of the top ten most interesting by The Wall Street Journal. Paul is the co-author of a book entitled Seven Indicators That Move Markets.

Paul began his career as a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He has taught courses in finance at the DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Paul serves on the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The information herein is based on sources which The Northern Trust Company believes to be reliable, but we cannot warrant its accuracy or completeness. Such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.

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