US consumer confidence
The US Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved in February 2017. It was at 114.8 compared to 111.6 in January 2017 and beat market expectations of 111.3.
The index showed improved figures as improvement in consumer sentiment is on the rise. Expectations in regards to business climate, personal income, and labor market conditions improved. However, the improvement was a little lower in January as consumers remained cautious about near-term economic growth.
However, consumers were slightly positive about the condition of the labor market and the current business environment, which indicates that the economy could grow at a moderate pace. The improvement in various economic indicators such as the inflation index, economic growth, and labor market conditions are increasing consumer confidence. Consumers’ long-term outlook for the economy (SPXL) (VOO) (IWM) is also changing.
Possible rate hikes
The Fed also sounds more hawkish for 2017. Earlier in its December 2016 meeting, the central bank said that there could be three rate hikes in 2017. The rate hike is appropriate in the economy when the economy shows a stronger move. The hawkish tone from the Fed is indicating that the economic activity is improving gradually.
In the next part of this series, we’ll analyze the performance of the US GDP in 4Q16.