Leading indicators suggest the U.S. economy is getting back on track ATLANTA, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Recent economic news has been mostly disappointing, but leading indicators suggest stronger growth ahead, according to the experts at Atlantic Trust, the U.S. private wealth management division of CIBC (NYSE: CM) (TSX: CM). While U.S. retail, manufacturing and construction were likely impacted by the severe weather patterns evident in many parts of the country this winter, Atlantic Trust's Chief Investment Officer David L. Donabedian, CFA, says most of the activity in these sectors has simply been delayed rather than lost and will be made up in the months ahead. "Economic indicators for March support the notion that the economy is getting back on track," he says. "We are sticking with our expectation of a solid year from the U.S. economy but are watching the data closely." Federal Reserve policy is always a critical variable for financial markets, but Donabedian says it is especially so this year as the markets are dealing with a "new Fed" in two respects: a change in leadership from Ben Bernanke to Janet Yellen; and, a change in policy as the central bank phases out quantitative easing and contemplates raising short-term interest rates. "Our base case on the Fed continues to be that policy change will inject more volatility into both stock and bond markets, but the reason for the policy change—rising confidence in a post-bubble normalization of the economy—is fundamentally bullish for equities," says Donabedian. In many ways, the short-term challenges facing the U.S. seem relatively tame compared to a variety of big macro issues in other parts of the world. This is one reason why equity valuations in the U.S. are higher.