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Merrill: Current Account Deficit 'Overplayed'

By John S. McClenahen Investors who are avoiding U.S. bonds and stocks because of America's international deficit position could miss out on a worthwhile investment opportunity, says Kathleen Bostjancic, a senior economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. "Those inventors who are fearful and avoid U.S. bonds or stocks are probably going to miss out on a good investment opportunity, given the weak relationship between the current account, the dollar, and interest rates and the beneficial top-line impact from a weaker dollar in sectors often equity market such as basic materials, capital goods, staples and health care," she says. Bostjancic notes that the current account, the broadest measure of U.S. international economic position, has been deteriorating as a percentage of GDP since 1997 and the U.S. dollar has been losing value for two years. "In our view, fear of capital flight from U.S. assets has been overdone. Ironically, we think that one of the big surprises next year should be that the current account deficits narrows," she states.

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