2012 Economic Outlook - Huntington University

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					When Nothing Seems to

2012 Economic Outlook
(such as it is)

Jim O’Donnell
Huntington University
   So how are we REALLY

Thomas Paine put it well:

“These are the times that try
 men’s souls…”
                          What a Year!

   The Arab Spring,

   A spike and then a large drop in both gasoline and gold prices,

   The Japanese earthquake and tsunami,

   Osama bin Laden's death,

   Sovereign debt contagion in the Eurozone,

   The debt ceiling negotiation debacle,

   A Standard & Poor's downgrade of the AAA debt rating for the U.S.,

   Epic flooding in Thailand,

   Occupy Wall Street,

   The start of the 2012 presidential campaign,
  So how are we REALLY

"The agony continues….
with maybe a slight bias to the
        Barton Biggs, 11-19-11
So, how did we Really do?

         Country Returns, by ETFs, 2011
                     USA       +2%
                     UK         -4%
                     Canada -12%
                     Japan     -15%
                 China, Germany -18%
                   Italy, Brazil -24%
                     Russia -28%
                     India     -40%
 America had – kind-a – the” best house” in an otherwise
                 very sorry neighborhood.
       So how are we REALLY

Not so hot

•     S&P 500 is unchanged in 12 years.

•     Furious, gut-wrenching changes that go no where.

If you think you’ve had enough, I understand.

    --- But then…what do you do? Where do you go to invest?
    So how are we REALLY
Two powerful, catastrophic market
 corrections in the last 12 years
       2000-02: -50 to -75%
       2008-09: -57%

    And then,: Summer 2011: another -20%

PLUS: mind-blowing volatility.
“Mind-blowing” volatility?

 Average daily difference, 8/11 on, hi/lo: 269 pts.
 Number of days Dow closed over 12,000: 136
 Number of Days Dow closed below 12,000: 113
 Days in 2011 when Dow moved +/- 200 pts.: 37
 Five days in 2011 when Dow rose/fell > 4%
 Four consecutive Aug. days Dow up/down 400 pts

      Yikes!!! (Is this a casino??!)
         In these
      Bear Markets…
 Diversification is a largely unattainable
      63 days when 90% of stocks moved same way

 “Macro” themes accounted for about 80% of
  individual stock movements.

 Average correlation of all of the stocks in the S&P to
  the index itself has never been higher
        not during the Great Depression
                -- not during the 1987 stock market crash,
         --- not even during the 2008 financial panic.
   Either “Risk on” or Risk

Today “macro’ themes dominate:   BIG!! themes
              Themes like –

     The European Sovereign Debt Monster
     The U.S. Debt and Deficit problems
     Entitlements and entitlement reform
     Stimulating growth amid austerity
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          “Macro” Themes

They can - and will - kill us if not addressed:
They will be with us a loooooong time
          They produce enormous fear
             Yet are unquantifiable!!!
They will be addressed
     Though their resolution may be far off.
        In the meantime….

 How do we hang on?

 Faith? Yes.
     But this is not a strategy

 First: “Do no harm”
      Tell the truth – don’t scare us

                    Lie # 1

“We’re in a bear market and heading for another

Feelings are not reality: S&P is UP about 38% since
2009 (This is not a bear market!)

GDP up last nine quarters. Economy growing.
Corporate profits up. Dividends rising.

           This lie undermines confidence.
                     Lie #2

“It All Comes Down to Jobs!”

Yes, jobs are important. But all jobs are NOT equal

REAL jobs produce more than they cost

Gov’t. jobs can cost more than they produce – MUCH

      This lie makes our fiscal problems worse.
                      Lie #3

“Hope is absurd. Gloom is appropriate.”


All news is hopeless, even good news.
     Progress in Europe?        Not really
     Stocks up today?           Yeah, for a day.
     Corporate profits up?      For now.
     Housing ever recovering?   You’re kidding!

- The next Great Depression is just around the corner.
                         Lie #4

“It all _________’s fault!”
You fill it in:
      1.   The rich?
      2.   Business?
      3.   Obama?
      4.   The Fed?
      5.   The Occupy people?

      Take your choice or add your own.
      Taxes? Education? Regulation?
                     Lie #5

“Stocks aren’t cheap. Better wait for more clarity.


Consensus, as with certainty – and divorce - is always

very       expensive.
Stocks are! cheap
Stocks are! cheap
       An End-of-the-World
        Investing Scenario
Currently, risk assets – stocks, real estate, for instance - are
priced as if the world will end.

         Soon.                          And maybe so.

But! what     if ……things get better?          Even begin to?

…. What if      some of our seemingly intractable problems
begin to be addressed and respond?

               Would that break the cycle of
 Ten Predictions from a Person with
          Economic Hope

 1.) Crude oil falls to $88 a barrel.
  2.) S&P 500 exceeds 1,420. --- 10% gain
  3.) U.S. real GDP growth exceeds 3.i%,
  unemployment rate drops to 8%.
  4.) Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney for president;
  Republicans retain House, gain Senate.
  5.) Europe develops a broad plan to solve the
  sovereign-debt crisis. Greece and Italy restructure
  their debt. Spain and Ireland strengthen their
  finances. A bank meltdown is avoided.
  European economy contracts.
  Ten Predictions fro a Person with
          Economic Hope

 6.) Computer hackers attack major financial
  7.) Investors buy currencies of countries “that seem
  to be managing their economies sensibly,” such as
  nations in Scandinavia, Australia, Singapore and
  8.) Congress reduces the U.S. debt by $1.5 trillion
  over 10 years, with cuts to defense, Medicare and
  agricultural subsidies as well as some tax
  9.) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ousted.
  10.) Stock indexes in China, India and Brazil surge
    Believe What You Want

 We’re already in recession
 The Financial Crisis of 2008 was just a warning
 Home values will fall forever
 Western Civilization is doomed
 “Big” - and Bigger - Government is our only hope now
As for me and my house - with apologies to Joshua – “We will
   follow the Lord.”
We’ll also think, hope, trust, and believe.
………..and advocate for market-based solutions to our problems.
       Happy New Year!

   More importantly, May God bless you and
                prosper you.

And don’t take me -- or this economic stuff -- too

            Life is more than money.

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