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Lower jobless claims, better consumer sentiment point to improved outlook

Adriene Hill Dec 22, 2011

Lower jobless claims, better consumer sentiment point to improved outlook

Adriene Hill Dec 22, 2011

Adriene Hill: It’s been a big morning for economic data. On the down side, the 3rd quarter GDP was revised slightly lower to 1.8 percent. But there’s been plenty of good news rolling in today too. We’ve got weekly jobless claims — that are the lowest they’ve been in 3.5 years. And consumer sentiment is up — more folks are feeling good about where the economy is headed. So how to make sense of it all?

For more we turn to Jack Ablin, he’s the Chief Investment Officer at Harris Private Bank.

Jack Ablin: Good morning.

Hill: So we’ve got a few good economic indicators out today, which deserves the most attention?

Ablin: I’m going to say that consumer confidence is a key one — just because it’s really confidence that drives spending and a lot of other behavior. So I’ll probably go with that one.

Hill: Now how about the revised GDP. Growth — it looks like — was revised down to 1.8 percent. It’s still growth. What do you make of that number?

Ablin: Well, you know, to me that’s last quarter’s news. I’m not as concern about that just because we want to really continue to look forward. Even substantially above 1 percent– in my mind — is a few baby steps forward.

Hill: Now when you put together all of this data that we’ve seen today, what does it add up to?

Ablin: Well, I think when you put together today’s data, plus we’ve had better than expected job growth, plus we’ve had better than expected housing activity, you know, it really starts to paint the picture of improvement. You know, if we can continue on this path, it seems two things are going on: One, we’re not only experiencing a nice little insipient recovery, the other though is that it maybe we’re decoupled — or disconnected — from the vagaries of Europe. And I think those two elements, I think we could have a recipe for a bull market in stocks next year.

Hill: Jack Ablin is Chief Investment Officer at Harris Private Bank. Thanks so much.

Ablin: Thank you Adriene.

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