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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

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

Waiting for Market Rationality

Equity markets have yet to recognize the fragility and softness of the underlying economy, although they do appear to be somewhat sensitive to geopolitical issues (North Korea). The incoming data continue to confirm: that the consumer has little spending capacity remaining; that inflation’s roar is nowhere to be found (except, perhaps, in hot dogs); that the detail underlying the headline employment number (209,000) show labor market deterioration; that the equity …Read More

“Normal,” It’s Not What You Think!

Most readers remember the pre-recession days of 4% GDP growth, interest rates at levels where savers had return choices worth pursuing (e.g., the 10 year T-Note at 4%), and workers could count on annual real wage growth.  Today, many refer to this as “normal,” and there is a desire, if not a movement, to return the economy back to such a state. You can see this in the political arena.  …Read More

When policies are anti-growth, sell the rallies and buy the dips

The equity markets are generally forward-looking. That’s why you have price movements that seem incompatible with the latest economic (backward-looking) data. The equity market today, as seen through the eyes of the S&P 500, has been flirting with all-time highs while the economic data indicate that the economy continues on feeble legs. So, just as the “forward-looking” market has predicted 25 of the last 8 recessions, so too, it can …Read More

This Market Needs Some Xanax

Xanax is a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.  Markets have been ugly since year’s end. On Wednesday, volatility was high, as the Dow Jones was down -565 points before rallying back to close down -249. Thursday’s action was a relief (+116), but markets are likely to be volatile near term.  Xanax sure would help. There are lots of worries: That economies, worldwide, are decelerating; That China will …Read More