Our Economy: What's Next?

Investors are nervously waiting for GDP numbers on Thursday. Considering some quarterly earnings reports have been surprisingly strong this week, maybe GDP will be too?

The fear isn't the number coming out Thursday but that the GDP data could foreshadow a grim fourth quarter lies ahead for the U.S. economy, says Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics LLC in San Francisco. "We do think that the fourth quarter is going to be the worst...The big uncertainty right now is just how deep and prolonged the recession might be," Rupert says.

MKM Partners chief economist agrees. He tells us, “It looks like the economy fell off a cliff in September. And into the early part of next year I think we could see a lot of negative data."

However other analysts are more focussed on what the government says now. They're hopeful that the U.S. has avoided an economic contraction in the third quarter as companies built up inventories ahead of the Holidays.

Unfortunately the optimists are in the minority. According to a Reuters poll, on average economists expect the U.S. GDP figures to show a decline of 0.5 percent in the July-September quarter, and many see that as the start of a nine-month contraction, or possibly even longer.

It seems the best we can hope for is that the landing isn't too bumpy. "I think it will be a long road to normalcy for the credit markets and for the economy," concludes Darda.

The data is due on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. New York time (1230 GMT). We’ll be watching.

If you'd like to see our entire interview with Mike Darda you'll find it toward the end of the Word on the Street video.

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