Forget contagion. The hot new fear is growth.
Barclays portfolio strategist Barry Knapp points out in a note that in a recent survey of big, institutional investors, fear of weak growth in the US and Europe is now the #1 fear of big, institutional investors.
This concern ranks well ahead of emerging market hard landing fears. The US “fiscal cliff” of premature tightening by the Fed barely register on the survey.
This concern is a timely one, given the last week of data.
Actually, over the last two weeks of data, numbers missed expectations with almost no exceptions.
As such, the old Citigroup Economic Surprise Index (a measure of how well the data is coming in compared to economist expectations) closed out the week with yet another decline.
Here’s a 1-month chart of the index, via Bloomberg.
It’s too early to begin freaking out.
While much of the data missed expectations, it was consistently growthy. And in fact, after yesterday’s income and outlays report, several analysts actually jacked up Q1 growth expectations.
So basically, there are fresh growth concerns, and the concerns are legitimate. But whether they amount to anything real is still a big open question.
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