NBR: Green Shoots Give Hope But…

Here is last night’s PBS appearance:


Green Shoots Give Hope But…
Thursday, June 18, 2009


click for video (second story at the 5 minute mark)


SUSIE GHARIB: The economy sprouted more of those so-called green shoots today, a smaller than expected rise in weekly jobless benefit claims and a solid rise in May leading economic indicators. But despite the positive economic data, the U.S. remains mired in a recession which began in December of 2007. When will the downturn be over? Suzanne Pratt got some answers to that all-important question.

SUZANNE PRATT, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Just as all bull markets eventually come to an end, so too do all recessions. The current downturn, arguably the worst since the great depression, is likely to be no different. Exactly when the recession will end is a bit of a debate on Wall Street. There is however far more agreement as to what the recovery will look like whenever it ultimately arrives. First the issue of timing. In the mainstream camp, many experts predict the economy will soon start expanding again.

MICHAEL MORAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, DAIWA SECURITIES: When they get around to dating the end of the recession, I think it will probably be sometime in the late summer, early fall. If I had to pick one single month I would probably say September. But, I would stay open minded on that.

SAM STOVALL, CHIEF INVEST. STRATEGIST, STANDARD & POOR’S: Our view is the equity markets are foreshadowing an end to the recession by the September period and S&P economics is foreshadowing the same.

PRATT: And then there are the outliers. People like Barry Ritholtz, author of “Bailout Nation,” the popular blog “The Big Picture” and head of research at Fusion Analytics. He says it will be next year before we say, bye-bye recession.

BARRY RITHOLTZ, EQUITY RESEARCH DIR., FUSION ANALYTICS: My best guess is somewhere in the first half of 2010 and if we’re lucky the first quarter of 2010. But, it’s now the end of June. Are you telling me in July we’re going to be out of recession because that’s Q3 and I’m sorry, I don’t really see that.

PRATT: Second, the issue of the recovery itself. Ritholtz sees an extended stretch of transition with GDP hovering in the meek range of only 1 to 2 percent.

RITHOLTZ: You’re not going to come from this really horrific period to one day, the switch goes on and everybody says OK, “oly oly oxen free, everybody back in the pool.” That’s not going to happen.

PRATT: Many other experts agree saying it could be several months after the end of the recession before we see vigorous economic expansion. Citigroup economist Robert Diclemente calls it the foothills of recovery.

ROBERT DICLEMENTE, CHIEF US ECONOMIST, CITIGROUP: I don’t think that what we’ve got in store at the end of this year is more than just a bridging produced by fiscal stimulus and the end of this inventory correction as businesses have tried to realign production with lower levels of demand.

PRATT: Whenever the recovery begins, this year or next, experts say most Americans are likely to remain disillusioned. That’s because it still won’t feel like we’re out of recession until many months after it officially ends. Suzanne Pratt, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New York.

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