Thursday, December 08, 2016

Animal Spirits and Business Confidence

by Bill McBride on 12/08/2016 01:05:00 PM

A few excerpts from two research reports this morning:

From Merrill Lynch: Animal spirits matter

Anecdotes and surveys suggest that business and consumer confidence has improved following the election. The gain in animal spirits could amplify the boost to the economy from fiscal stimulus, creating upside risk to our forecast. We will have to wait for the "hard data" from November and December to have clarity on the timing and magnitude.
emphasis added
From Wells Fargo: Small Business Confidence Jumps Following the Presidential Election
Small business owners are feeling much more optimistic about the prospects for the economy and their business in the coming year. The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, which was conducted from Nov. 11 to Nov. 17, jumped 12 points to 80 from the previous quarter and is up 26 points over the past year. Small business optimism is now at its highest level since January 2008, when the index was coming down as the economy slid into recession. The latest reading marks the largest quarterly increase in a little over a year and is one of the largest quarterly gains in the series’ history.
...
While political factors likely influenced the magnitude of the improvement in small business confidence, business owners’ attitudes about the economy and their business have been gradually improving for the past few years. All of the improvement in the most recent quarter, however, came from the expectations series, which jumped 17 points in the fourth quarter. The present situation index fell 5 points, essentially reversing the prior quarter’s gain.