Investor questions why more people aren’t putting money to work in markets

If you’re not investing, Linda Duessel would love to know why.

Duessel, senior vice president of Federated Investors, based in Pittsburgh, said her company thinks the economy will continue to recover for three to five years.

Duessel was the keynote speaker at the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County’s State of the Economy luncheon Thursday. First National Bank Vice President Art Dangel said the bank brought in Duessel to speak about the economy and stock market for the next 12 to 18 months, but her speech covered the short and long term.

Duessel said her company became bullish on the stock market in late 2008, just months before it bottomed out in March 2009, because they predicted a long-term buy and hold secular market.

They were right.

“The S&P at 2080 today is a far cry from where we bottomed out in March 2009 at the level 666,” she said. “I do love that number, because it’s not only the number we associate with the devil, but it also reminds me what a lot of investors don’t appreciate about the stock market, which is that the level of the market at any point in time is a reflection not of what we know today, but what we think is going to happen in the next six to eight months.”

Federated Investors, Duessel said, does not believe another recession is drawing near.

“If you’re not investing now, what is it that you’re worried about?” she said. “We see no evdience of a recession on the horizon.”

CBICC President and CEO Vern Squier believes the local economy’s growth could outlast Federal Investor’s national projections.

“I think we look across the landscape here, and I see more job creation,” Squier said. “I don’t see a negative downside on the horizon. That doesn’t mean every sector is supremely healthy, but I think we’re seeing really good stabilization and forward-looking strength in our economy. She talks about three to five years, and I can somewhat see that in us, but I don’t know if there is a hard end to that for us. We may not see a tapering of that, because we are seeing so much strength.”

Development of housing, commercial property and the university, he said, will be key to the county’s job growth.

“We talk about the tangibles like housing, building construction for housing and commercialization, but I also think we’ll see continued public building construction, especially with the university,” Squier said. “They have many projects lined up that will be significant for the community.”

Squier also feels that the local community is recognizing greater stability in the economy, leading to more commercial expansion and consumer spending.

“I think the buying decisions being made are a result of people not necessarily feeling that their own wealth is at an all-time high, but that they’re in a much more secure and predictable position than in years past,” Squier said. “I think with that predictability comes the sense that they can act upon it and that may be reflected in them buying a house, starting a business and developing land. I think it’s a time of action, because people do have that sense of financial stability.”