Bridge to nowhere? Some doubts on U.S. economy justified, doom and gloom is not

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Wall Street scurrying for the exits? More and more investors apparently see the economy becoming a bridge to nowhere.

Just a few months ago, investors drove the U.S. stock market SPX, -2.33%  to an all-time high. Now they’re scurrying for the off-ramp and showing fresh doubts about economy. Have things really gone south that fast?

Not really.

The economy is forecast to grow at an above-average speed of 2.6% in the fourth quarter, for one thing. Consumer confidence is at a two-decade high. The unemployment rate remains at a 49-year low. And the holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a big one.

Still, some warning signs have emerged.

Home sales have softened after a rise in mortgage rates. Corporate investment has tapered off. Job creation slowed in November. And a festering trade dispute with China and resulting tariffs have raised costs for businesses and consumers.

“It’s becoming clearer by the day that the best days for this economic cycle are behind us,” asserted Scott Anderson, chief economist of Bank of the West.

The sudden shift in perception is forcing the Federal Reserve to reconsider how many times it will raises interest rates in the next year.

Not only does the economy seem a touch more vulnerable than it did a few months ago, a recent upturn in inflation also appears to have crested. The Fed has been gradually raising rates to head off an unwelcome increase in rates, but now the problem seems less urgent.

One sign came last week in a weaker-than-expected November employment report. The economy added just 155,000 new jobs — well below the 190,000 forecast — and the yearly increase in hourly wage growth stood pat at 3.1%.

More evidence might emerge this week. The consumer price index, which tracks the cost of living, could show a flat or even negative reading for the first time in eight months. The annual rate of inflation as measured by the CPI could drop to a nine-month low of 2.2% from 2.5%

Similarly weak readings are likely in other inflation barometers for wholesale U.S. goods and imported products.

What’s a common thread?

Falling oil prices . A surge in petroleum helped fuel an upturn in inflation earlier this year that spurred the Fed to raise U.S. interest rates three times. Now lower oil prices are acting as a brake on inflation.

Lower oil prices CLF9, +1.24%  will probably deliver seemingly disappointing retail sales in November.

Americans spent a lot less filling up at gas stations, making it look like retailers had a bad month. Economists polled by MarketWatch predict a lackluster 0.2% increase.

“Here’s a word of advice on anyone planning to use the November retail sales report as a guide to how the holiday shopping season is going: don’t,” said chief economist Richard Moody of Regions Financial.

[“source=forbes]

Patna University students attack JDU vice president Prashant Kishor

Prashant Kishore

A massive political controversy has erupted after JDU vice president and close aide of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Prashant Kishor, was attacked by students of the Patna University after his meeting with the university vice-chancellor Rasbihari Singh at his residence on Monday night.

The JDU leader was attacked by students who had gathered outside Singh’s residence. The vehicle in which Kishor had come to meet the Vice-Chancellor was also damaged by the students.

Patna Police had a tough time ensuring that the JDU leader escaped unhurt from the university campus.

The meeting with Patna University Vice-Chancellor came just two days ahead of the crucial students union elections on December 5. Interestingly, professor Ram Shankar Arya, advisor to the chief election officer, was also present in this meeting which went on for almost 3 hours.

The Patna University Students Union election this time is witnessing an interesting battle between candidates of ABVP against the JDU, who are making their electoral debut in the university elections.

Allegedly, Prashant Kishor is garnering the support of youth from across the state ever since he has become the vice president of the party. Over the last few days, he has been meeting youths from Bihar at 7, Circular Road, the residence of Nitish Kumar from where he operates.

BJP has been alleging that Prashant was trying to influence the students’ union elections in favour of JDU.

Irked by his repeated interference in the upcoming students union election, four BJP legislators had issued a press statement slamming Kishor.

A BJP delegation led by MLA Nitin Navin met governor Lalji Tandon on Monday night soon after Prashant Kishor met the Vice Chancellor at his residence followed by him being attacked by students. The BJP delegation demanded the Governor to conduct the Patna University Students Union elections in the free and fair manner.

It may be mentioned that campaigning for the December 5 elections ended at 5 pm on December 3 and the model code of conduct was in place.

According to rules, no leader of any political party could enter the college premises after the end of campaigning and therefore Prashant Kishor’s meeting with PU VC raised eyebrows. Reportedly, he met VC with the intention to pressurise him to ensure the victory of JDU in the elections.

A massive political controversy has erupted after JDU Vice President and close aide of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Prashant Kishor, was attacked by students of the Patna University after his meeting with the university vice-chancellor Rasbihari Singh at his residence on Monday night.

The JDU leader was attacked by students who had gathered outside Singh’s residence. The vehicle in which Kishor had come to meet the Vice-Chancellor was also damaged by the students.

Patna Police had a tough time ensuring that the JDU leader escaped unhurt from the university campus.

The meeting with Patna University Vice-Chancellor came just two days ahead of the crucial students union elections on December 5. Interestingly, professor Ram Shankar Arya, advisor to the chief election officer, was also present in this meeting which went on for almost 3 hours.

The Patna University Students Union election this time is witnessing an interesting battle between candidates of ABVP against the JDU, who are making their electoral debut in the university elections.

Allegedly, Prashant Kishor is garnering the support of youth from across the state ever since he has become the vice president of the party. Over the last few days, he has been meeting youths from Bihar at 7, Circular Road, the residence of Nitish Kumar from where he operates.

BJP has been alleging that Prashant was trying to influence the students’ union elections in favour of JDU.

Irked by his repeated interference in the upcoming students union election, four BJP legislators had issued a press statement slamming Kishor.

A BJP delegation led by MLA Nitin Navin met governor Lalji Tandon on Monday night soon after Prashant Kishor met the Vice Chancellor at his residence followed by him being attacked by students. The BJP delegation demanded the Governor to conduct the Patna University Students Union elections in the free and fair manner.

It may be mentioned that campaigning for the December 5 elections ended at 5 pm on December 3 and the model code of conduct was in place.

According to rules, no leader of any political party could enter the college premises after the end of campaigning and therefore Prashant Kishor’s meeting with PU VC raised eyebrows. Reportedly, he met VC with the intention to pressurise him to ensure the victory of JDU in the elections.

[“source=indiatoday]