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Latest UVA News Posts

Painted into a Corner A Review of the Economic Environment Entering Q4/16

While Q3 started out much better than the very slow economy of the first half of 2016, August’s data was very weak although there was some bounce in September.  So, we enter Q4 with some serious concerns about the fragile state of the economy, where an outside shock or policy mistake could have serious consequences.  Unfortunately, the policy tools, or lack thereof, that are available should the economy slip into …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

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