Am I still optimistic on the economy?
I would say that my outlook is mixed. I believe that the panic has passed for investors. I believe that there is technical momentum in the market. But I am also concerned about the fundamentals of the economy -- commercial and credit card debt default, unemployment and finally, de-leveraging by households and its negative impact upon consumer spending. The financial marketplace has gone way up, but why? Earnings have exceeded expectations. But I worry about the quality of the earnings, and especially the impact of lower demand will have on declining revenues. With that said, here are some thoughts on why we might want to be more positive: 1. The 2nd quarter of this year was better than the 1st...in every measure save unemployment. 2. All the data is historical, so the real question is whether we have hit bottom. I think the answer is either yes, or we are very close. 3. The stock market is a barometer for economic activity. The cost-cutting has been aggressive and this has led to p