Friday, January 9, 2009

Economy is slumping....Now what?

So here is what we have seen in the last week:

The ISM Manufacturing Index hit its lowest level since 1980 (and manufacturing surveys in Europe and China also nosedived).

U.S. consumer confidence fell to a record low in December, as reported Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, the Case-Shiller Index registered a record 18% drop in October vs. year-ago levels, bringing the decline from housing's peak to 25%.

So here are my predictions for 2009:

Continued declines in mortgage rates. Only so many people can refinance and only so many have current values greater than the appraised value that will happen. When many are asked to add equity (ie. invest more $$$ to refinance) many people won't have the cash to do it. I think 4.5% rates on 30 year notes will happen and be quite the norm as the Federal Reserve tries to revive the U.S. Economy

Many people will be looking for work and having a tough time finding it in 2009. I see unemployment going to 10% if the auto companies go belly up. Given that we have now sunk $10-$15 billion into them we'll probably sink another $25 billion into them later, throwing good money after bad.

Will inflation hijack 4.5% interest rates? It is possible that the U.S. dollar could fall more than ever, which could drive inflation through the roof and take interest rates HIGHER vs. lower. We have to borrow $$$ from people to finance our debt and they might charge us (as a country) MORE to get that cash given our slowed growth, higher leverage ratios, etc.

The stock market will continue a downward slide of 15%-20% as EPS estimates for 2009 begin to get ratched downward. I think S&P 670-700 is a very reasonable level for the index. Just my 2 cents. Due your DD there and read/view some of the opinions I've posted here from others over the last few months. Look at other Dan Ross Forecast posts.

Dan Ross

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