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Fixed Income

The Recovery Stalls; Fed Pledges “Lower for Longer;” Equity Markets Pause

With the Fed pledging to keep rates low even when (or if) inflation rises above its 2% target, it is hard to see why long-term Treasury yields (and those of other quality issuers) won’t move toward yields of similar debt in the world’s other industrial economies (i.e., Europe and Japan). The economic lull is now showing up in both the labor market (Initial Claims) and in retail sales, likely because …Read More

Money Explodes; Gold Glitters; The Recovery Slows

I often get asked why the price of gold is rising, and, as a follow on, will it continue.  The price of gold has always had a significant correlation (80%) with the Fed’s balance sheet (i.e., the “money supply”), especially during periods of significant balance sheet expansion (money printing).  The table shows the Y/Y change in the money supply of the western world’s major economies.  The U.S., clearly the largest …Read More

The Shape Of Things To Come: ‘V’ Or ‘L’ Recovery

What do -38%, -34%, -30%, and -25% have in common? If you guessed that these are the Q2 real GDP forecasts from the major financial houses (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan), you would be correct. Incredible as it may seem, we are likely headed for a drop in Q2 real GDP in that magnitude, and the just passed Q1 quarter looks to be somewhere near high negative single digits. …Read More

Inflation’s Virulence will Surprise: Yield Curve Inversion Likely

•  The strength of inflation will be the biggest market surprise in 2018’s second half, forcing the Fed to continue its rate raising regime; •  At the same time, the slowdown in world growth (not helped by the rise of protectionism) may keep the world’s other major central banks in easy money mode, thus feeding U.S. dollar strength and negatively impacting emerging market economies; •  Low rates, worldwide, increase the …Read More

The 1937 mistake – will Fed make it again?

The markets breathed a sigh of relief (up 164 followed by 99 Dow points) when, in the middle of September, the Fed decided not to raise the federal funds rate. The DJIA was as high as 18,538 on Sept. 6, but fell 504 points over the next six trading days, including three days in a row of significant gyrations (down 395, up 240, down 258). The past week continued the …Read More

What ‘lower for longer’ means to yield-hungry investors

You’ve heard the expression, “We live in interesting times.” Substitute the words “uncertain,” “experimental,” or simply “scary” for “interesting,” and you will capture the feeling of many investors, especially those who have already retired or are approaching it. As I write, the media tells me that, by almost any standard measure, equity valuations are too high. For example, trailing PE ratios are 20x, 5 points above the historical mean. To …Read More