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2018: A Pivotal Year

Since my last blog, even more volatility has been present in the marketplace (both equities and debt spurred by the narrative that whatever tax legislation was passed by Congress would greatly benefit the economy and especially U.S. corporate profits.  In the two weeks running up to the passage of the Senate’s version of the tax bill, the equity markets moved significantly depending on how any particular Republican Senator intended on …Read More

Fed Likely to Put Economy at Risk

Market volatility finally showed up in the popular indexes (DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ).  These were down two weeks in a row as of November 17 on rising volume (never a good sign when markets are falling), and they are no higher than they were a month earlier (October 20).  The VIX, a measure of market volatility, rose to 13.13 on November 15, from a near record low of 9.14 earlier …Read More

The Headlines Say Growth…

The headline numbers, for jobs and GDP, and most of the sentiment indexes, would lead one to conclude that the economy was robust and accelerating. Even the Fed agrees, as they upgraded their view of the economy to one now in “solid” growth mode. The reality is that much of the data was distorted by the hurricane rebuild effort, and Q4 data will also be plagued by distortions due to …Read More

“Normal” – It’s the Opposite of What the Media Says

I hear it every day on the business channels or see it in the business media print: “The economy has to get back to normal.”  But normal means different things to different constituencies.  Wall Street and equity investors certainly don’t want to see the stock market behave normally, if indeed, normal means that PE ratios mean revert and that we have periodic 10%-20% corrections.  Everyone, especially the President, would like …Read More

Turning a Sow’s Ear into a Silk Purse

It wasn’t a big surprise that Wall Street advanced the narrative that the havoc wreaked by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is actually a positive for the economy, now aided and abetted by the strangest employment report, perhaps of our lifetimes. (Conveniently ignored is Hurricane Maria, which completely wiped out Puerto Ricco’s economy, Hurricane Nate, and the California Wine Country conflagration.) The Recent Data Let’s begin with the most recent underlying …Read More

Q4: A Look at the Post-Hurricane Economy

As Q3 ended, the economy continued on its tepid growth path.  Unknown is the value of the economic carnage of two hurricanes that hit the mainland and a third that completely devastated Puerto Rico.  The bond and foreign exchange (FX) markets have a sense that all is not well, but, the equity indexes haven’t yet espoused that viewpoint. Meanwhile, at its last convocation in mid-September, the Fed’s Federal Open Market …Read More