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Key Indicators Have Peaked; Markets Hope for Soft Landing

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a private sector company, is the entity responsible for officially labeling recession start and end dates. As a rule of thumb, the financial markets use two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth as the marker. But, that is not the way the NBER sees it. According to their website, the NBER defines a recession as: “a significant decline in economic activity … lasting more than …Read More

5/7/2019 It’s Not the Economy – It’s Buy-Backs

There were three significant economic events since my last column: the GDP report, the Fed meeting, and the unemployment report. GDP The Q1 real GDP growth rate (3.2% annualized) surprised nearly everyone to the upside. And, of course, Wall Street characterized the headline number as proof that the “soft patch” had passed.  Never mind the details.  Of the 3.2% growth, nearly .7 percentage points came from inventory growth. This was …Read More

Faster Growth Deceleration Prompts Increased Market Turbulence

Market volatility looks to have become the norm of late, with intraday swings of 500 points on the Dow Jones Industrials seemingly commonplace. The days of complacency and ever rising stock prices appear to be firmly in the rear-view mirror, now replaced by daily angst. And, with good reason. Markets have fully recognized that “synchronized” world economic growth has ended, that the U.S. economy is not an island, immune from …Read More

2018 Preview and Assessment

Market valuations are high.  Current consumption is being financed by debt.  The housing data is mildly positive, but has been impacted by “rebuild” issues in the wake of natural disasters.  Corporate balance sheets are strong and laden with cash.  The world’s major economies are doing well and central banks are beginning to tighten policy led by the U.S.’s Fed.  Q4 real GDP growth looks to come in above 3% (third …Read More