The stock market’s run since the election has been nothing short of phenomenal. The major stock market indexes have strung together new records on a regular basis in recent months. In total, the markets have advanced about 15% in just a little over eight months.
Meanwhile, we’ve also witnessed a sharp rally in the beef market. Before the recent seasonal summer decline, fed cattle prices tacked on 48% between the October low and the May spring high. Meanwhile, the Choice-Select spread established a new all-time record this past spring, surpassing the $30 mark.
Those types of gains garner lots of discussion about market behavior going forward. And that inherently brings focus on the state of the consumer. Your assessment of the consumer in the U.S. will likely depend on whether you have the long view or the short view relative to their general attitudes about the economy.
This week’s graph illustrates the latest monthly Consumer Sentiment reading (July 2017 is preliminary) along with the 12-month moving average. The short-view perspective shows the index has declined from 98 earlier in the year to 93 in July – and this month’s reading is steady with levels prior to the election.
However, the long-view perspective ignores monthly gyrations and sees consumer attitudes as slow and steady, working to higher ground; July’s 12-month moving average now stands at 94.6 – the best mark since early 2005.
What’s your general assessment about the economy in 2017? How do you perceive the current state of the consumer in the United States? Where do you see markets headed in the coming months? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Nevil Speer is based in Bowling Green, Ky., and serves as vice president of U.S. operations for AgriClear, Inc. – a wholly-owned subsidiary of TMX Group Limited. The views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TMX Group Limited and Natural Gas Exchange Inc.