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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

The Rocky Road to “Normal”

The terms “normal,” “normalize,” and “neutral” are common in today’s economic discussions.  But, does anybody really know what “normal” is?  When the Federal Reserve (Fed) says that it  wants to “normalize” interest rates, do they have a rate scheme in mind?  Does it mean that rates will be similar to what they were 10-20 years ago?  That’s what most people believe “normal” is.  The truth is “normal” is significantly lower.  The current …Read More

Markets Have Recovered, But Charts Look Like Niagara Falls

In January, the equities markets bounced from significantly oversold conditions at the end of December, on the hopes that a) the Fed stopped it tightening cycle in time, and b) the halt to the government shut-down occurred in time to avoid negative Q1 GDP growth. As I have stated in prior blogs, “hope” is not a good investment strategy. But wait! The “hope” regarding the Fed doesn’t even make sense. …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

Markets: Time to Reflect on Risk, not Return

The week ended September 7th saw a pull-back from the record highs set in late August. Perhaps we witnessed the infamous “double top” (January 26th and August 29th). It is clear that financial markets have become riskier, and, perhaps, it is time for investors to assess the risks inherent in their portfolios versus the prospects of future returns. There is a short-term and a long-term view, neither of which augurs …Read More

Trade Wars Will Slow Growth

Q3 started out with several very positive days in the equity markets, due to the seeming “Goldilocks” economy (solid growth, low inflation, best employment market in 50 years), likely in anticipation of continued 20%+ earnings reports (the tailwind of tax reduction), and, at least in the early days of July, from a lack of any significant moves on the tariff and trade front. That all ended on July 11th when …Read More