May 22, 2017— Measures of consumer confidence loom large in the financial market press. Several analysts believe that consumer confidence indices have predictive power on consumer spending and stock market returns. Some analysts use intuition to suggest that increased consumer confidence leads to an increase in consumer spending, which strengthens the economy given that consumer spending makes up about two-thirds of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
May 16, 2017 — The advance in consumer prices has slowed noticeably in the past two months, prompting discussions about the health of the economy as well as the Federal Reserve’s (“Fed”) planned rate hikes in the months ahead. The slowdown was apparent in the March data for both major measures of inflation: the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index.
December 15, 2016— The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve unanimously voted to raise its target for the federal funds rate on December 14 from a range of 0.25%–0.5% to a range of 0.5%–0.75%. The decision was not a surprise to markets, as the market for fed funds futures had priced in a 100% chance of a hike, up from just a 50% chance in September.