US

As the Fed aims to end QE in October and the normalised interest rate policy during 2015 looms, a matter for debate among investors is whether the strong performance of both equities and Treasury debt in recent years has peaked.

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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s announcement on August 11 of Paul Ryan as his running mate drew a variety of responses, including cheers, jeers and even some comparisons to John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin in 2008.

But for all the media fervor over Ryan and his controversial budget plan, the polling response has been muted compared to 2008. The Real Clear Politics poll shows  Romney narrowing the gap from 4.6 points to 2.8 since the August 11 announcement.

But compared to 2008, the bump from Ryan looks inconsequential. Nine days after  McCain announced Palin as his running mate, the GOP hopeful had not only erased a 3.9 point deficit, he had taken a narrow 1 point lead.

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By guest contributor Paul Hodges

I suggested in an earlier post that chemical prices were an excellent leading indicator for the health of the global economy. The data highlighted that firms were finding it difficult to pass through crude oil related price increases. In turn, this was a warning that both the global and Chinese economies might be slowing faster than generally supposed. This caution since seems to have been amply justified.

Thus a new initiative by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) deserves watching. The ACC is the trade body for the US chemical industry, and it has developed a new Chemicals Activity Barometer which aims to provide early warning of changes in the wider US economy.

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By Jason Abbruzzese

Who will you (or would you) vote for in the 2012 presidential election? Now let’s say you have $10 to bet on a winner of the election. Is the answer the same?

Maybe, maybe not. What matters is that those are two different questions, and the results from the answers give us two very different sets of data. Polling has long been used as an implicit indicator of the likelihood of a certain outcome.

(AP) President Harry S. Truman holds up an Election Day edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, which, based on early results, mistakenly announced "Dewey Defeats Truman" on Nov. 4, 1948.

So polling is not perfect, but what’s the alternative? For people looking to hedge positions against the likelihood of one president over another, the wisdom of the market could be one answer.

The University of Iowa’s predictive markets, specifically the Iowa Electronic Markets 2012 Presidential Election Winner Take All contracts, (IEM) is one attempt to measure it.

The IEM is a futures market in which people can take positions based on certain outcomes. In this blog series we’ll be comparing the Real Clear Politics poll and the IEM Winner Take All to see how they deviate – or converge. Read more