After a tough month stock markets closed down again on Friday, increasing losses for January. With average index losses of 3% for the month, the year is off to a slow start. At their meeting last week the Federal Reserve postponed the initial interest rate hike until after June. September becomes the next likely date for this. The Reserve is concerned over the slow pace of wage increases and weak inflation. Consumer spending is now leading the economy, fueled by lower energy costs, and compensating somewhat for the drop in business and military spending.
The U.S. continues to be the bright spot in the world economies, with Germany now following the rest of Europe into recession. The radical drop in energy prices, if sustained, will have ramifications no one has predicted.
Just when we were lulled into thinking this could be a mild winter – whoa. Winter light is clear and bright with snow. Getting past the season’s labors is the challenge. Plucky birds congregate at the feeders, managing whatever winter throws at them. Maybe they complain too.