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“V” vs. “u” and the Flawed Inflation Narrative

The equity markets finally took a breather last week (ended January 15th), with the S&P 500 falling a mere 1.5%; that’s down from its record high a week earlier.  Perhaps the really poor economic data played a role, but then again, equity markets like such poor data because it means more stimulus (Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan), and markets know that much of the stimulus always finds its way into the …Read More

The Economy Slows; The Real “New Normal”

The virus’ resurgence has caused more business disruptions, raising the specter of a renewed economic slowdown.  Spending and income numbers have mainly been negative in Q4, and the much hoped for stimulus relief package is now stuck on the president’s desk. The Economy “Drop in Spending, Higher Claims Cloud Outlook for Growth,” WSJ, 12/24/20, A1. Restaurants: -3.7% November (M/M); -0.6% October Hotels/Motels: -8.7% November (M/M); -4.4% October Movie Theaters: -17.2% …Read More

Policy Rx for Recession Aggravates Income Inequality

T’was the week before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was spending, not even your spouse; the stockings were hung by the chimney with flairs, in hopes that the Congress would supplement CARES. And so, it appears that the economy continues to deteriorate as the Congress attempts to put together another stimulus without provisions for certain favored constituents of either party – much easier said than done.  …Read More

Priced For More Than Perfection, Markets Have Dismissed Economic Reality

The holidays are upon us, and we wish our clients and friends health, peace and happiness. Recent income, output, and employment data have turned sour. We’ll see what that does to holiday shopping. The financial markets, especially equities, have looked past the valley (abyss), and the vaccine news has enhanced the view that “normal,” or at least a “new normal” is just maybe a quarter or so away. The DOW set an …Read More

The Economy: Through the Rear-View Mirror

The upbeat October employment report is likely showing the labor market through the rear-view mirror. The weekly state employment numbers, too, as reported in the mainstream business media, only tell half the story.  The entire story includes an additional 9+ million people on Cares Act supplements; a program that is growing as state eligibility is exhausted, but a program that expires as the year ends. High frequency data also confirm …Read More

The New (Scary) Fed Steps Into New Territory

The pandemic’s second wave has appeared in Europe and now in the U.S. The Fed is more concerned about the economy and has taken the unprecedented step of telling Congress it will monetize whatever spending Congress desires. (Not your Father’s Fed!) The latest weekly unemployment data confirm the Fed’s worst fears: The Recovery has stalled! Overview No matter who wins the election, the following issues must be faced: Deflationary forces are at …Read More