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Don’t be Fooled: Complacency is a Danger to Investors

The U.S. economy itself appears to be doing well, but we see many end of cycle signs, including less than 4% unemployment, rising interest rates, emerging consumer inflation, a strained housing market, slowing growth worldwide, and huge instability now developing in the emerging market space including Argentina, Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand. However, what scares us the most is the level of investor complacency. Because of the Fed’s and other …Read More

The Italian Job Shouldn’t Have Been Such a Shock

The good news is that it looks like manufacturing got a bit stronger entering Q2, and consumer spending was slightly better, too. So, Q2’s U.S. GDP may actually be a tad stronger than Q1’s. But, the good news stops there, as the rest of the world, especially Europe, appears to have hit a wall, a barrier that has displayed itself for the last couple of months, but, till now, was …Read More

2017 forecasts when Trump honeymoon ends

In this time of market exuberance and significant increases in almost every sentiment index, it is time to recognize that when reality returns, markets will correct. This coming year is going to begin with more uncertainty than is normally the case: The Trump fiscal agenda is huge, but so are the debt levels; and the Fed has begun a tightening cycle in earnest, with the economy still in first gear. Of …Read More

The Topsy-Turvy Economy

The financial markets are hooked on easy money, low interest rates, and growth via debt issuance. Yet, it has become obvious to some market players, economists, and maybe even the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (the rate setting cabal), that current monetary policy is now hurting, not helping, the economy. Of course, monetary historians know that monetary policy was never meant to act alone, or in a vacuum, as …Read More

Painted into a Corner A Review of the Economic Environment Entering Q4/16

While Q3 started out much better than the very slow economy of the first half of 2016, August’s data was very weak although there was some bounce in September.  So, we enter Q4 with some serious concerns about the fragile state of the economy, where an outside shock or policy mistake could have serious consequences.  Unfortunately, the policy tools, or lack thereof, that are available should the economy slip into …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