May 2014 Flash Report

Led by significant reductions in inventory investment, first quarter US GDP was revised down to a -1% annual rate. Real final sales, however, grew by 1.6% which suggests that inventories and growth will rebound next quarter. Initial jobless claims, a key leading indicator, also came in at 300,000 bringing the four-week average to its lowest level since early 2007 while unemployment fell to 6.3%. Fueled by higher stock prices and rising home values, consumer confidence reached its second-highest level since 2008 as the Fed expressed concerns about the health of the housing market and indicated a reluctance to raise interest rates. The combination of growth, sustained repression, and complacency/low volatility is prompting some investors to rethink inflationary and market risks.

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