David Rosenberg: Economic Growth ‘Anemic’; Don’t Dump Bonds

Monday, 04 Feb 2013 02:17 PM

By Dan Weil

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While many economists view the 0.1 percent contraction in gross domestic product for the fourth quarter as a temporary setback, David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, thinks it’s not far off as a barometer of the economy.

He doesn’t believe we’re in a recession now, but we’re close to one. “Anemic growth is my baseline scenario,” Rosenberg tells The New York Times.

He thinks the Federal Reserve’s massive easing program is what has pushed the stock market to five-year highs. There’s now an 85 percent correlation between the Fed’s balance sheet expansion and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, Rosenberg notes.

Editor's Note:
Billionaires Dump Stocks. Prepare for the Unthinkable.

That means stocks could well keep rising, he maintains. But he’s not sure the strong correlation will stay in place.

If you’re going to buy stocks, Rosenberg likes companies that pay high dividends, including Blackstone and Merck.

In any case, he recommends sticking with your fixed-income portfolio, as bonds will benefits from the likely continuation of low inflation and low long-term interest rates. Moreover, fixed-income investments provide diversification from stocks.

Some others agree with him about bonds, saying continued Fed easing will keep boosting them. “The concern and focus of the Fed is still unemployment,” William O’Donnell, head government bond strategist at RBS Securities, tells Bloomberg.

The central bank said it plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero until the jobless rate drops to 6.5 percent. It registered 7.9 percent in January.

Editor's Note: Billionaires Dump Stocks. Prepare for the Unthinkable.

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