November 2012 Flash Report

On November 6th, US voters re-elected President Obama to his 2nd term in the Oval Office but Congressional power remains split between political parties, setting the stage for more brinksmanship over the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling. This past week 3rd quarter GDP growth was revised higher to 2.7% versus the prior estimate of 2.0%. As we stated a month ago, a big component of this was defense spending while the latest revision included unexpected upticks in trade and inventory levels. The consumer component was still a disappointment. We expect that the current stalemate in DC will discourage some holiday shoppers and businesses looking to invest in capital and/or labor. So while policy risk is very high, the opportunity costs of lost expenditures and investments associated with this period of uncertainty could provide a negative shock to the market in the months ahead on top of the well documented threat posed by the fiscal cliff. In Europe, finance ministers agreed to help reduce Greece’s debt load and prevent an exit from the Eurozone (more debt for the EFSF, less debt for Greece).

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