Jack Ablin, executive vice president and chief investment officer for BMO Private Bank in Chicago, spoke Thursday on the economy and investing as well as his forecast for this year at the 2014 Economic Update and Outlook Breakfast at Harper College in Palatine.
Speaking to a reporter before the event, he said the frigid, snowy winter is hurting the economy and the stock market. "With the Polar Vortex closing things down for a couple of days, people stayed home and profits aren't made," he said.
Another factor impacting the economy is the housing market. Ablin said that prices have bounced back about 20 percent, but they are still at least 20 percent lower than they were before the crash. With low interest rates, consumers should be seeing one of the most affordable housing markets in a generation, he said.
Changes in the mortgage industry with tighter lending requirements means "the spigot is not as open as it once was," Ablin said. "Still we're in better shape now than in a long time, and prices should remain steady this year."