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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

Fed Likely to Put Economy at Risk

Market volatility finally showed up in the popular indexes (DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ).  These were down two weeks in a row as of November 17 on rising volume (never a good sign when markets are falling), and they are no higher than they were a month earlier (October 20).  The VIX, a measure of market volatility, rose to 13.13 on November 15, from a near record low of 9.14 earlier …Read More

The Headlines Say Growth…

The headline numbers, for jobs and GDP, and most of the sentiment indexes, would lead one to conclude that the economy was robust and accelerating. Even the Fed agrees, as they upgraded their view of the economy to one now in “solid” growth mode. The reality is that much of the data was distorted by the hurricane rebuild effort, and Q4 data will also be plagued by distortions due to …Read More

Are markets too exuberant?

Equity markets hit new highs during the Thanksgiving shortened week. Markets often move in anticipation of changes in policy. This post election market, however, appears to have instantaneously adjusted to what it perceives will be policy outcomes. Such outcomes, however, are by no means guaranteed; some outcomes may take several quarters, others years, if at all. This has been quite a stretch for markets where next month is considered “long-term.” There …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

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