PricewaterhouseCoopers' first-quarter Manufacturing Barometer shows the majority of industrial manufacturers are optimistic about the U.S. economy for the next 12 months. The view toward the world economy is more guarded. Read more.
Jonathan D. Gray, global head of real estate for Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, is confident about the economy and commercial real estate prospects, according to remarks made at an industry event. Despite a dismal first-quarter performance, "what we see across our business, both in private equity and real estate, is very good," he said.
Bond investors worldwide are shifting into government debt, suggesting that they think economic growth will slow. The movement counters belief that a first-quarter economic contraction in the U.S. was largely weather related. Another school of thought is that the shift is unrelated to the economy but because of factors such as rising bond demand from institutional investors, bad speculative bets, a shortage of longer-term bonds and low interest rates in Europe and Japan.
U.S. factory output and consumer prices declined last month, adding to other signs that positive economic numbers in January and February have given way to less favorable indicators heading into spring. The latest figures also add to expectations that the Federal Reserve will maintain its bond-buying program despite indications in minutes from its last meeting that some members are getting cold feet.
Factory activity rose in Germany, the U.S. and China last month. Germany's output was up for the first time in four months, and China's exceeded expectations. "There is an awful long way to go yet, and given the headwinds that these economies face, I would be cautious about being too optimistic," said Peter Dixon of Commerzbank.
First-quarter conference calls among retail REITs showed surprising signs of optimism despite declining rents and rising vacancy rates. REIT executives said that leasing is showing signs of picking up in recent months.