Kicking off Schwab Advisor Services’ Impact 2010 conference in Boston, a panel consisting of Schwab’s chief investment strategist and Ariel Investments’ president said they were optimistic about the economy and the markets for the rest of 2010 and into 2011.
Mellody Hobson of Ariel answered Maria Bartiromo’s opening question by saying she saw “slow but steady improvement” in the economy, saying “we’re beyond green shoots at this point.” Her optimism was echoed by Liz Ann Sonders (left) of Schwab, who said she was “quite optimistic: the economy is like a combustion engine—everything is there, we just need a spark.”
Addressing next the housing market, CNBC’s Bartiromo (left) asked how the continuing bad press on housing, notably “headline after headline on the foreclosure mess,” would play into the two women’s “opimistic scenario.” Hobson noted that while new home building and its attendant construction jobs are important players in the stubbornly high unemployment rate, the psychological effects on consumers of being house poor remained, and that the impetus for a housing rebound was all about “how can you get the loans going again?”
For Sonders, she sees that the “underlying pillars of support you need are stacking up” for housing, including a drop in what she calls the “real” mortgage rate, which she defines as the nominal rate minus the depreciation of homes. Moreover, she said housing has become again a regional story: “Once the bubble popped, we went back to a local focus.”