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Latest UVA News Posts

The Specter of Rising Rates

Suddenly, out of the blue, August’s data came in well below expectations; the economy now appears to be sputtering as we end the third quarter.  Yet the Fed has put the markets on notice that it intends to soon raise interest rates, or at least that is what the market thinks given the hawkish speeches from some Fed officials.  Raising rates into a weakening economy is ordinarily unthinkable.  As a …Read More

Investors, prepare for slower growth

From an investor’s standpoint, this has surely been a summer of discontent.  All markets appear to be too high, there is no yield to be found, and there appears to be no place to hide, at least inside current investment standards as set forth by Wall Street.  While the conventional wisdom looks at cash as “trash” because it generates no return, in today’s world where there is more deflation than …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

Reconciling a 1-percent economy with record market highs

The recovery from the Great Recession has been the most sluggish in post-WWII economic history.  This is vividly displayed in the nation’s recent GDP report.    The Commerce Department estimated that the economy grew at a snail’s pace over the last 3 quarters: 0.9% in Q4, 0.8% in Q1, and 1.2% in Q2.  Yet, all of the major U.S. stock market indexes recently closed at all-time highs.  For many, warning lights …Read More

Why Helicopter Money and Unconventional Monetary Policies Won’t Help the Economy

The equity markets continue to flirt with record highs while the yields on fixed income instruments are at or near all-time historic lows.  Generally, those two market movements are not compatible.  Everyone feels a high level of anxiety about the economic future.  Ben Bernanke visited the Bank of Japan in early July to help them set up a new experimental monetary policy dubbed “helicopter money.”  And we are living in …Read More

Quarterly Economic Outlook: Q3/2016

The “Brexit” caused market swoon on Wall Street turned out to be a nasty 5.3% two day dive (S&P 500) that was all but reversed in the next 4 trading sessions.  The reason was clear early on – despite forecasts of immediate worldwide economic doom and gloom, the non-binding referendum was mostly a political statement about bureaucratic government, and the referendum split along demographic lines (older vs. younger, and rural …Read More