Reports & White Papers
Confidence Is Fleeting
Other than a brief bump after the election, private companies still are holding back on investments. They never went all-in on investments post-election like the stock market did, and now, they seem to be firmly entrenched in a “show me” position.
The further policy uncertainty persists, the longer the private companies are likely to remain on hold. In retrospect, it seems that the public equity markets like the S&P 500 miscalculated both the speed and likelihood of passage on legislative initiatives related to health care, tax reform, and infrastructure, among others.
The current period of transition in Washington is a reminder that as one door closes, another invariably opens.
A big new door is certainly opening for small-business credit. While the mood among the nation’s entrepreneurs has generally brightened since the November 8 election, many uncertainties remain about what lies behind the next door in the form of policies.
The outcome of the November 8 election should lift some of the uncertainty that has pervaded the small business sector for much of 2016. While many of President-elect Trump’s policies remain undefined, the election provides certainty on the current administration.
Small business can start to plan now that they know the direction on taxes, lower healthcare costs, and regulations. This administration’s plans for big public infrastructure programs and higher defense spending will create opportunities for many firms.
Risk-Off Keeps the Expansion Intact: March confirms the current “wait and see” mood of private companies. On a macro level, private companies are maintaining current production of their goods and services in industries not directly exposed to the ongoing commodity bust. Micro analysis shows that most industry sectors are reducing investment in production capacity as a sign of their bearish outlook for the economy.
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