(Bloomberg News) The U.S. has likely dodged a recession for now, even though it's too early to sound the all- clear for the economy.
A string of stronger-than-projected statistics -- capped by the news on Oct. 7 of a 103,000 rise in payrolls last month -- has prompted economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Macroeconomic Advisers LLC to raise their growth forecasts for third quarter growth to 2.5 percent from about 2 percent. That's nearly double the second quarter's 1.3 percent rate and would be the fastest growth in a year.
"The U.S. economy doesn't look like it's double-dipping at all," said Allen Sinai, president of Decision Economics Inc. in New York. "But it is a crummy recovery."
That recovery still faces what economist Chris Rupkey in New York calls "a lot of headwinds." These range from the sovereign-debt crisis in the euro zone -- and increasing likelihood of a recession there -- to political gridlock in the U.S. over the budget.
"We can skirt a recession," said Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. "But if headlines worsen in Europe and cause a major stock-market rout, it could lead to a loss of confidence here on the part of businesses and consumers and make forecasts for a recession a reality."
European stocks and the euro rose after German and French leaders pledged to devise a plan to stem the debt crisis in three weeks. U.S. stock futures also gained.
The unsettled outlook may push U.S. Treasury bond yields back down as investors seek safety in the debt of the world's largest economy. The yield on the 30-year bond remains on course to fall to about 2.5 percent, according to Christopher Hine, vice president of technical analysis at Credit Suisse Securities in London.
"The bull trend is still there," he said in an Oct. 7 conference call with clients.
The long bond ended trading at 3.017 percent in New York on Oct. 7, after touching 2.69 percent Oct. 4, the lowest since January 2009. Yields rose as concerns about a recession ebbed.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index will face difficulty trading above 1,200 in the next few weeks as investors seek to determine the impact of the European crisis on U.S. corporate earnings, Sinai said. Business with Europe represents about 20 to 25 percent of operating profits for companies in the S&P, Sinai said.