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The Goldilocks Labor Report: “Just Right!”

It isn’t ever a good sign when markets become manic. August was quite volatile with five days out of 22 (23%) where the S&P 500 intra-day market swings exceeded 2%, and three days when the market closed down more than -2.5% from the prior day’s close. (We haven’t seen such price volatility since 2011!) While, so far, September has been less volatile, the market is still susceptible to tweets. For example, news about the …Read More

Market Hopes: An Easy Fed; End Of Trade Wars. So Far, Neither One Has Happened.

The “expected” scenario, a resumption of trade talks, is what emerged from the G20 meetings. The best the agreement between Presidents Trump and Xi did was to temporarily reduce the specter of further growth killing tariffs. We still have the existing ones that have significantly slowed world trade, created a “soft patch” in the U.S.’s economy, and contributed to the emerging recessions in Europe and China. Capital spending growth is …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

4/10/2019 Equity Market Appears to be Moving to the Sound of Its Own Drummer

There were several recent market moving reports, including some positive data on U.S. and Chinese manufacturing. But, the biggest news was the seemingly positive March employment data which sent equity markets up, as the initial take on the headline Establishment Survey (ES) data (+196k) fit the narrative that the soft economic patch is now passing and a recession will be avoided. Because it doesn’t fit the narrative, there has been …Read More

Ignore the Media’s Negative Take on Jobs: The Economy is Strong

Over the last couple of months, I have indicated that, because the seasonal adjustment process cannot handle significant weather deviation issues, the first quarter reported data (.1% Real GDP, for example) significantly understate the underlying strength of the economy.  Friday’s Establishment Survey (ES) employment report gave credence to that view.  Not only did April’s newly created jobs come in at 288,000, way above expectations (218,000), but February and March were …Read More