Sunday, February 26, 2012

As the U.S. Economy Stabilizes, is the Eurozone Less Confused?

In the U.S., consumer sentiment data continues to improve, new home sales seem to be improving (although the data is a bit confusing), and weekly jobless claims remain at the lowest level in almost four years. In the Eurozone, as Germany’s business confidence index increased to a seven-month high, economic data across the region remains mixed. Regarding the Greek mess, its creditors continue to work on restructuring the country’s debt and the process: 1) remains confusing, 2) has fatigued both stakeholders and observers and 3) has not removed concerns of a potential default.

MY TAKE

The improving U.S. data is constructive but should be tempered by the oil dynamics mentioned above, as well as potential economic weakness in other geographic regions. While some market pundits suggest the U.S. can decouple itself from other economies, that outcome is rarely the case (although the potential impact may be muted). The reappearance of concerns about other peripheral countries, such as Portugal and Spain, are worth monitoring.

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