Market Perspectives (November 2011)

by Jim Baird on November 15, 2011

Executive Summary

  • After five consecutive months of losses, risk assets surged in October. The combination of an apparent near-term resolution to the Greek debt crisis along with better than expected economic data and strong earnings results contributed to the “risk-on” trade.
  • Traditional high-quality bonds posted modest gains for the month. Longer-term interest rates moved higher with the increase in investor risk appetite.
  • U.S. economic growth of 2.5% for the third quarter was generally in line with expectations and sufficient to temporarily ease investor concerns that a recession was imminent. The outlook over the next several quarters remains challenging, however, and recession risk remains heightened.
  • The employment market provided some positive news in October as the jobless rate dipped to 9%, but overall remains relatively weak.

Capital Markets

We are the 7 billion…

According to the United Nations (U.N.), October 31, 2011 marked the day that the global population count reached an amazing 7 billion. While the difference between 6,999,999,999 and 7 billion people is just one more birth, within the context of where we were just a century ago, this event is significant. For proper disclosure, the U.S. Census Bureau actually suggests this mile marker in population won’t be reached until March 2012; however, plus or minus a few months seems like a reasonable margin for error considering the complexity of the estimating process. Although the specific date is arbitrary, the implications of a rapidly growing world population and the demographic changes that are accompanying it will continue to have widespread influence for decades to come.

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