US economy

US GDP dropped in the fourth quarter of 2012 for the first time outside a recession since 1977, thanks to surprise cuts in defence spending. James Mackintosh, investment editor, finds some good signs in the data, but worries that if good news comes through on the economy would be bad news for investors.

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James Mackintosh

The US housing recovery is gathering steam, and bullish economists are hopeful it will give a handy boost to growth, at a time when the US faces more austerity than most of Europe, thanks to the tax hikes agreed in the fiscal cliff compromise.

Credit Suisse has produced a nice chart showing just how big the recovery in housebuilding has been: private housing starts are now running at a higher rate than at the trough of previous recessions all the way back to 1960.

Housing starts since 1960

Source: Credit Suisse

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