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One thing that many people don’t know about me is that I started college as a fine arts major and actually received a degree in that subject.  Aside from doodling to stay awake in church, I haven’t pursued drawing or painting for a very long time.  Sometimes though I run across a painting or a photo or even a song that captivates my attention and then speaks to my soul.  I think that’s human nature, inherent to most people and not exclusively birthed during the two years spent on the third floor of the Spori Building of Rick’s College.

When I read about the market volatility this morning and my grade-school children reminded me that it was March 1st, I immediately thought of how the month comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.  Here are some lion-ish factors to the downside of economic growth published today: Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley commented that he is less confident than he was before and sees the U.S. economic outlook tilting to the downside.  The ISM Survey (a lion in its own right as the king of manufacturing indices) still shows a negative outlook for the production and fabrication sector.

The positives for growth are Core Logic reporting a 6.9% year-over-year rise in home prices since this time last year, and the Fed Fund Futures now showing a 52% chance of a rate hike by the end of 2016.  The Futures sentiment has been fickle as of late and flies in the face of Mr. Dudley’s statements this morning. All the same, 52% is essentially a coin toss.  We welcome with open arms the continued, measured, price increases noted in the housing markets across the country.