Looking good for the eighth inning

Posted 10/13/09

Everyone is a baseball fan this fall. Go Rockies. I use this analogy for the state of the economy as well. We are three-fourths through 2009 and I …

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Looking good for the eighth inning


Everyone is a baseball fan this fall. Go Rockies. I use this analogy for the state of the economy as well. We are three-fourths through 2009 and I believe in the eighth inning of the recession.

The first quarter was miserable. We thought the economy was going to fall off a cliff and our life savings and banking system with it. This did not happen, and almost within six weeks we saw a miraculous turn around. Investors went from fear of being in the market to fear of missing out of the recovery. Sure enough the markets continued to march forward for six month regardless of rising unemployment, continued housing foreclosures, negative GDP and a host of negative news.

The investor had decided it was time to start investing again. Their optimism along with the markets usual role of forecasting the future have pushed returns into double digit territory for all equities markets for the first three quarters.

True, the economic data seems to be trending towards more positive territory but the majority of the reports still carry a minus sign in front of the number. Some stimulus money was put to work, including housing rebates, cash for clunkers and education credits. You can also see from the amount of construction that our state is spending stimulus dollars as well. All of this activity is good to keep the mood up even though the results are only anemically positive.

We have still come a very long way in a short time. The length and severity of the Great Recession would indicate it will take a long time to build the right type of recovery. I suspect we will continue to see volatility with every new data point, some positive and some negative. We will continue to struggle with housing prices, lost jobs and the effects of a growing deficit and a shrinking dollar.

The fact that all of these things are normal at the tail end of a recession should lead to more optimism and eventually positive consumer confidence.

The ninth inning of recession could bring more unemployment, a decline in commercial real estate, continued stagnation in housing and consumer spending. However we should start to see fewer job losses and improved economic output by early 2010 according to Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke.

Some analysts believe business spending will lead the recovery as the consumer continues to save rather than spend. This will make for a slower recovery with uneven results depending on the industry.

There is still the possibility of a jobless recovery as we had in the early nineties as well. This occurred where the economy began to grow before the unemployment numbers receded. There are all kinds of possibilities and each cycle will have its own identity

Some analysts believe we will revisit the seventh inning stretch as we did in July with a correction. This too is normal in every year where the market needs to adjust to solid ground along the way.

The ninth inning should lead to a foundation where consumers regain confidence and we start the next growth cycle. This would indicate that the eighth inning is a good time to build your recovery strategy and make certain you are in the right seat.

Patricia Kummer has been an independent Certified Financial Planner for 22 years and is president of Kummer Financial Strategies Inc., a registered investment advisor in Highlands Ranch. She welcomes your questions at www.kummerfinancial.com or call the economic hotline at 303-683-5800. Any material discussed is meant for informational purposes only and not a substitute for individual advice. Investing is subject to risks including loss of principal invested.


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