Economic Surprise Index Turns Negative

March 07, 2014

In this week’s chart, we take a look at the CITI Economic Surprise Index. As a matter of background, the CITI Economic Surprise Index is a composition of various economic indicators that are released; anything above 0 indicates that economic reports are beating expectations and anything below 0 is underperforming estimates. Since its peak in mid-January, the index has been on a steady decline and just reached its lowest point since June of last year.

The start of 2014 saw several key economic indicators fall short of expectations including retail sales, new jobs, manufacturing, and the consumer confidence index; such trends help explain the decline. On the bright side, many experts have blamed the historically dreadful weather conditions as key contributors to such pull-backs in economic activity, and expect a rebound once spring arrives. Indeed, the market appears to agree: after a negative January (-3.5%), the S&P 500 returned 4.6% in February, shrugging off much of the poor economic data. Given the optimistic outlook shared by most economists for 2014, it is expected that the Economic Surprise Index will swing back to positive territory as winter gives way to spring.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

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