Ed Yardeni’s Optimistic View of the U.S. Economy

Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research recently told Barron’s he expects a “difficult and choopy” year, but “the U.S. will come out of this in good stead.” He observed that “the risks of global recession outside the U.S. have increased,” but noted that “it this drags the U.S. into a recession, it would be the first time it has happened.” Yardeni explained part of the recent downturn by noting that “when the dollar is up 22% . . . it is equivalent to a 100-basis-point increase in the fed funds rate” because “half of S&P 500 earnings come from overseas.” Nonetheless, he sees a number of positive signs for the U.S. economy, such as a likelihood that spending will be positive or increase at all levels of government, low oil prices will drive consumer spending, and “excluding energy, profits are still growing.” According to Yardeni, the person who wins “the White House may not matter as much as [whether] the Fed . . . backs off from raising rates,” as he anticipates it will. He has “confidence the U.S. economy will remain resilient enough to grow 2.5% this year.” In Yardeni’s view, “what’s changed is we’re back in a stock-picker’s market.” He reiterated that his firm has consistently recommended investing in U.S. rather than global equities and suggested health care stocks “across the board,” “anything related to consumer entertainment services,” social media companies, and internet retailing stocks are likely to be strong performers going forward.