There was building sentiment in April that we were headed for another spring slowdown. Unfortunately, last Friday's GDP report failed to put those concerns to rest as it showed the economy was growing, but more slowly than anticipated, and not fast enough to create meaningful job growth.  This week the Fed announced no changes in rate targets or current stimulus plans saying the economy was growing "at a moderate pace." But remarkably several usually hawkish (meaning tough on inflation) Fed bank presidents revealed their growing concern over "De"- flation. And just to keep things interesting, today's jobs report stirred the pot further with a surprise on the upside. Today, we'll try to make some sense of it all.

Today, the government revised its assessment of the US economy’s growth for the second quarter downward more than economists expected this morning. GDP grew at only 1%, down from a previous estimate of 1.3% in July.  But the underlying numbers were more positive. Final sales of domestic product improved to a 1.1% annualized rate from 0.0% in the first quarter. Capital expenditures were revised to 7.9% from 5.7% and non-residential fixed investment was revised to 15.7% from 8.1%. 

The economy continues to expand, in spite of hurricanes, high energy costs, and Fed Funds rate increases.  The weeks’s crowded raft of economic reports was kicked off by housing.  The reports were mixed, but generally point to a slight cooling.  The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales of existing homes fell 2.7% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.09 million.  Houses stay on the market longer as the inventory of homes on the market rose to a 4.9 months' supply in October, from September's 4.6 months' supply.  Meanwhile, housing affordability dropped as the median sales price rose 16.6% on an annual basis to $218,000.  That was the biggest jump in 26 years. 

Good news on jobs, leading economic indicators, and comments from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve sent stocks soaring on Thursday.  So far this year the Dow and S&P are up roughly 24% while the NASDAQ is up 46%.  Stocks are poised to have their first up year since 1999.