The macro view
Those who follow this column will know how skeptical I am. However, I'll consider all sorts of different views. While the notion of an imminent boom in the economy is not my baseline scenario, some intelligent, well-informed people are beginning to refer to this very possibility.
On Friday, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon (NYSE:JPM) told CNBC: "The foundation of business is pretty strong, housing looks like it is turning, household formation is going up, and consumers are still spending. If we solve the short-term 'fiscal cliff' and the longer-run fiscal issues, the economy can boom." (Skeptical aside: That's an 800-pound "if" in the room.) Praising the U.S. as the greatest economic engine ever invented, he said that "it's growing slowly, it's waiting to be ignited."
This echoes the words of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett, who told the same channel last month that the U.S. economy was "inching ahead." Regardless of who is elected president, he went on, "American business is going to get a lot better over the next four years."
Finally, in "The Coming Boom," my esteemed Foolish Morgan Housel colleague wrote:
After five years of collapse and stagnation, we could be on the cusp of a new economic boom. Not like the mid-1980s or late 1990s, mind you. But the odds that the next five years will be markedly better than the last five years are good, and growing better by the day.
Speaking of Berkshire Hathaway, financial weekly Barron's opined in last Saturday's edition that "with Berkshire better than ever, Wall Street's indifference to the stock offers investors the chance to buy it at an attractive price." Motley Fool analyst and value maven Joe Magyer agrees -- and has for some time. In his premium report on the company, published in September, he writes: "No investment is a slam dunk, but the range of outcomes with Berkshire's stock today skews deeply in investors' favor." Click here to request the full report, and you'll also receive a full year of updates.