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Slower Growth, Inflation, the Fed, and End of Cycle Indicators

The U.S. economy itself appears to be doing well, but we see many end of cycle signs, including less than 4% unemployment, rising interest rates, emerging consumer inflation, a strained housing market, slowing growth worldwide, and huge instability now developing in the emerging market space. Economy Still Healthy The 0.8% rise in retail spending in May would seem to confirm that the U.S. economy is still expanding. We believe that …Read More

Don’t be Fooled: Complacency is a Danger to Investors

The U.S. economy itself appears to be doing well, but we see many end of cycle signs, including less than 4% unemployment, rising interest rates, emerging consumer inflation, a strained housing market, slowing growth worldwide, and huge instability now developing in the emerging market space including Argentina, Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand. However, what scares us the most is the level of investor complacency. Because of the Fed’s and other …Read More

No Recession in Sight; Just Volatility, End of Cycle Worries

As June began, market volatility re-emerged with both the stock and bond markets fluctuating wildly on a daily basis. The good news is that it looks like U.S. manufacturing got a bit stronger entering Q2, as did consumer spending. So, Q2’s U.S. GDP will be stronger than Q1’s. The May employment report, too, was stronger than anticipated; more good U.S. news. Unfortunately, the rest of the world, especially Europe and …Read More

The Italian Job Shouldn’t Have Been Such a Shock

The good news is that it looks like manufacturing got a bit stronger entering Q2, and consumer spending was slightly better, too. So, Q2’s U.S. GDP may actually be a tad stronger than Q1’s. But, the good news stops there, as the rest of the world, especially Europe, appears to have hit a wall, a barrier that has displayed itself for the last couple of months, but, till now, was …Read More

Buybacks: The New Magic Beans

Synopsis: Stock buybacks increase corporate leverage. Investors err if they apply the old P/E ratio to the new, now higher EPS, which is solely due to the reduction of outstanding shares. Because leverage has increased, the P/E ratio should fall, as the company is now riskier. Theoretically, via the academic discipline of corporate finance, and used by most Wall Street analysts, management should prioritize its use of cash as follows: …Read More

Before Political Correctness, We Called This “Stagflation”

“Those that cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana 1863-1952). This time, indeed, could be different. It certainly is in the realm of possibility. But, the odds are against it. One doesn’t get up on a particular morning and find an entry in the calendar on our smartphone, like “Cinco de Mayo” or “Mother’s Day,” that says “Start Day: National Recession.” In fact, the National Bureau …Read More