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Gross Domestic Product

On Reopening: We’ve Just Seen The Iceberg’s Tip

New Data Should Accelerate Re-Opening When the pandemic started, the only data available was the number of new cases, existing cases, and deaths. The original models, perhaps based on prior pandemics like the Spanish Flu of 1918, forecast significant deaths, up to as many as 2 million in the U.S., and, of course, mass infections. Based on that, governments all over the world shut-down their economies. New mortality data is now available …Read More

Where’s The Recession, You Ask? Reprise

The narrative is that the “soft patch”, now so evident in U.S. data, is temporary, related to factors like weather, the government shut-down, and/or trade/tariffs. The Atlanta Fed, where GDP forecasts always seem to come out on the high side, put Q1’s real GDP growth at just +0.3%. And, the N.Y. Fed’s model says +0.9%. In any case, even the most ardent bulls have at least recognized that current data …Read More

Heightened Volatility! Blame the Fed

Volatility returned to financial markets with a vengeance in October. In the 12 market sessions between October 4th and October 19th, eight were negative (a total of -2,324 Dow Points) while four were positive (+940). In those 12 sessions, seven were triple digit; unfortunately, five of those triples were negative. Why the sudden turn and burst of volatility? Wall Street is abuzz with worries about decelerating economic growth (a theme …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

Harvey & Irma: Pushing the Economy to the Tipping Point

Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area (and economy), and, while Irma could have been much worse, it still left significant destruction in Florida and the southeast.  What we can say for sure is that the monetary impact of Harvey alone would have been the largest natural disaster in U.S. history, and now we must add on the monetary impact of Irma.  And the hurricane season still has another month and …Read More

The Economy from 50,000 Feet

A few friends have expressed the belief that interest rates have nowhere to go but up. This, of course, has been the mantra of the market for the past several years, and, perhaps, my friends have been listening too long to the talking heads on bubblevision. Here’s why it won’t happen: Today’s U.S. economy has many similarities to that of 1990s Japan. These include asset bubbles (equities), high debt burdens …Read More