Financial forecaster discusses economy at Palatine breakfast

Published10/15/2008 12:04 AM

More than 400 people attended a breakfast last week at the Cotillion in Palatine to listen to Robert Genetski, one of the nation's premier interest rate forecasters and investment advisers, talk about the timely topic of the U.S. economy and the short-term and long-term outlook for interest rates and the stock market.

At the breakfast, sponsored by Palatine-based Cornerstone National Bank and Trust Company, Genetski called the current situation "the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression" and the "worst collapse of housing prices in our history."


The Midwest housing market has been hit less severely than other parts of the country, Genetski said, saying prices were down about 10 percent in the Chicago area, compared to 21 percent nationwide.

"One bright spot is the Midwest is doing better than the rest of the country and I think that will continue to be the case," he said. "We didn't have the speculation here they had in other parts of the country."

Genetski predicted there will be another year of decline in the housing market before we see it start to turn around.

"The inventory (in the housing market) is extremely high. It's going to take time," Genetski said.

The commercial real estate market is not suffering from as much excess inventory and in the Midwest, has actually seen price increases, he said. He also said we might see oil prices continue to drop, possibly getting back down to $50 a barrel.

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Genetski did not offer much comment on the bailout bill, saying there were not enough details yet for complete analysis. And while he warned that the outlook for financial markets is extremely tenuous, especially given the upcoming election and the unknowns in the government's economic packages, Genetski also pointed out that there are stocks available at "fire sale prices."

He predicted the retail sector will probably be weak through the end of the year, but he is guessing there will be a pickup in retail sales in the early part of 2009.

College funds: Speaking of financial issues, Palatine Township is hosting "How to Save for College," a presentation on the College Illinois and Bright Start programs at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, in the Palatine village hall council chambers, 200 E. Wood St., Palatine. One U.S. Savings Bond, compliments of Palatine Bank and Trust, and one $100 voucher to fund a new account from Bright Start, will be given out through a drawing at the meeting. For more information, contact Township Assessor Terry Kelly at (847) 358-6700.

Library closed: On Friday, Oct. 24, the Palatine Public Library District will be closed for Staff Development Day, including the Main Library, Freeman Road Branch and Rand Road Branch.

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