From Rex Nutting of MarketWatch:
Last week, a "reality check" rippled through the markets following weak data on housing starts and industrial production, said Nigel Gault and Brian Bethune, U.S. economists for IHS Global Insight. They expect further "mixed and somewhat ambiguous" reports in the coming week, but, on whole, they say "the evidence is still positive and continues to point to a nascent recovery" that will need "strong policy support" for some time.
Federal policies are clearly supporting the market, but there is uncertainty about how strong it would be without the support. Economists for Barclays Capital say that sales of existing homes would have risen 10% without the tax credit, instead of the 24% that has been recorded with it.
Economists see the economy growing at a pace just above its long-term trend. They expect GDP to grow 2.5% in the fourth quarter, 3% in the first quarter of 2010 and 3.5% in the second quarter. That's a far cry from the 6% growth seen in typical V-shaped recoveries, but it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Of course, those are just forecasts. No one really knows for sure how the economy will do over the next 12 to 18 months. For more details, click here.