Predictions: 9 For '09 From Analyst Vince Farrell
1. State Infrastructure
Look for whatever stimulation proposal to come out of the Obama administration to be focused on infrastructure spending at the state level. Since most states require balanced budgets, many projects have been put on hold as state revenues have declined. It would be easier to grant money to states for "shovel ready" projects.
Expect banks to sell a lot of debt under the new Federal Guarantee program since as an industry they have well over $200 billion in debt maturing the next 5 quarters. All the debt issuance won't lead to much of an increase in funds available for new lending.
3. No Gas
The benefit from lower oil (every .01 cent decline in gas saves the American economy about $1.4 billion) will be offset by the consumers desire to save and by rising unemployment.
Treasury rates will stay unusually low despite the huge volume of debt offerings due to a desire for safety, but expect the cost of borrowing to go up a lot for corporate America for the opposite reason.
The stock market will take its time forming a bottom—at best. Damage like we have seen takes months to repair.
6. Obama to Center
President-elect Obama will continue to move to the center to govern. His selection of rival Clinton (who voted for the war in Iraq) and his visible embrace of Brent Scowcroft (Bush the elder's NSA director and a conservative, but not a neo-con) shows he is moving that way.
The Bush tax cuts will stay in effect until their original expiration date as Obama's advisors convince him raising taxes is not a timely idea.
Corporate earnings estimates will continue to come down. At this moment the consensus is for $80 or so for the S&P 500. Goldman's recent cut to $53 is probably too pessimistic, but overall estimates have to come down.
Europe seems to be in denial, but I expect interest rates to come down-a lot- in 2009 from their current 3.25%. Our Fed will not hesitate to cut rates again and approach zero.