Guest post by Sober Look.
The ISI Group combined four US regional Fed indices with Markit Manufacturing PMI to create a comprehensive US manufacturing index (chart below). A pattern of growth starts followed by fairly sharp corrections emerges. Some have speculated that this volatility, at least in part, can be explained by the Eurozone uncertainty flare-ups: Greece (2010), Italy (2011), Spain (2012). The pattern also exists in the economic surprise indices (see post-1 and post-2).
Confidence that there will be no stock market crash in the succeeding six months generally declined (though with a lot of ups and downs) over the years since 1989 until the stock market bottomed out in late 2002. Just after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Crash Confidence actually rose a little. But Crash Confidence reached its lowest point at 20.79% for institutional investors and 28.95% for individual investors as of November 2002. Crash confidence reached its all-time low, both for individual and institutional investors, in early 2009, just months after the Lehman crisis, reflecting the turmoil in the credit markets and the strong depression fears generated by that event, and is plausibly related to the very low stock market valutions then. The recovery of crash confidence starting in 2009 mirrors the strong recovery in the stock market.
With Europe saved by the Downgrade we can now start focusing in the Economy. Latest on the Economy by Gallup;
Three years after bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers jolted the U.S. economy into economic turmoil, job creation has rebounded from post-collapse lows, but economic confidence and consumer spending remain within the ranges seen in 2009. Gallup finds underemployment and unemployment essentially where they were a year ago.
Full report here.