Monday, May 05, 2008

Bush as ‘Forecaster-in-Chief’ Continues

Today’s ISM report for non-manufacturing (services) unexpectedly shot up to 52 from 49.6 in March, and a 47.8 percent first-quarter average. (Readings above 50 percent signify growth.) Recession bears are running for cover on this one. Coming off Friday’s jobs report, with 363,000 new household jobs, something is clearly going on here. That something could be a bottoming of the economy, sometime this past winter. We’re not totally out of the woods just yet. But the news is sure getting better. (Even the NYT’s Paul Krugman is backing off recession in his column today.)

Over in the Treasury market, the 10-year note is now trading up at 3.87 percent. During the recession winter, it was 3.3 percent. If the economy is coming out of the downturn, then the 10-year will make a move up to 4 percent or higher. The stock market is bogged down this morning, digesting the breakup of the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal. But stocks have enjoyed a great run since mid-March.

I still love U.S. News & World Report’s Jimmy Pethokoukis’s headline: “Economy Refuses to Tank, Bears Weep.” He’s right on the money. As for President Bush, his daughter Jenna is getting married this weekend down at the ranch in Crawford. Plus, he’s having a good forecasting week. Good for him.