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By Jason Stipp | 12-17-2010 06:00 AM

Will They or Won't They?

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser on how inflation may or may not affect policy, whether FedEx results mean a slowing economy, and if consumers will still stay loyal to Best Buy.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar and welcome to the Friday Five.

They may not be cliffhangers, but there are several forks in the road today leading us to this week's edition of the Friday Five: Will they or won't they?

Joining me as always with the Friday Five is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for joining me.

Jeremy Glaser: You're very welcome, Jason.

Stipp: So what do you have for the Friday Five this week?

Glaser: Well, this week we're going to take a look at FedEx quarterly results, at inflation numbers in both the United States and China, Novartis and Alcon, and finally, we'll take a look at Best Buy.

Stipp: So FedEx is often seen as a bellwether for the economy, and their results showed a little bit of slowing. So, I guess the first question is, is the economy slowing? Is it? Or isn't it?

Glaser: Well, certainly, FedEx has its tentacles across the entire world economy. They have operations at a bunch of different countries, and they get an on-the-ground view of what's happening with the recovery. We talked to them during our Morningstar Stocks Conference, they said that they thought that the pace of recovery was stable, maybe decelerating a little bit, and their quarterly result show that it is, in fact, decelerating.

Though volume package growth looked pretty good, you know the global economy is still not just completely going gangbusters. Things especially in Europe and in other areas continue to be slow. Asia looks very strong, but it's a lot of the same trends that we've seen over and over again.

So, I don't think we have a definitive answer to that question yet, but there is lot of evidence that the economy and that the global recession is not over yet. It might be technically over, but that were not in a period of sustained growth and that it could be some while, and we might need to have more policy tools to get us there.

Stipp: Speaking of policy tools, one of the things that the Fed looks at is the inflation rate. We got some data on that this week, very low inflation yet again. So, I guess that leads to the question of will inflation stay low forever and will the Fed be able to be as accommodative as the Fed has been, if inflation stays this low or if it starts to tick up?

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