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“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

Will the Fed Cause Another Recession?

The Fed raised the Federal Funds Rate by 25 basis points (a quarter of a percentage point) to 1.0%.  This is the anchor rate on the yield curve, and, most other rates respond to it, with shorter rates today responding more than longer rates.  It appears from their communications that they intend to hike rates several more times over the next 12-18 months. While I don’t see a recession over …Read More

Does 2.3 percent economic growth justify Dow 20,000?

A survey of 53 economists by Blue Chip Economic Indicators forecast 2.3 percent economic growth for 2017, up from an estimated 1.6 percent in 2016. While better, 2.3 percent is still low by post-World War II standards. Consensus found that inflation would tick up to 2.4 percent, industrial production would begin to grow again (+1.6 percent) after stagnating in 2016, business investment (+2.7 percent) would finally be positive (after several …Read More

Dealing with the ‘New Normal’

In ’09 and ’10, when Mohammed El-Erian and Bill Gross both worked at PIMCO, they put forth a concept they called “the New Normal.” It postulated that the economy would grow at a much slower rate than it had in the past, and therefore market returns – both equity and fixed income – would be much lower than what we had experienced in the post-WWII era. Nice theory, many thought; …Read More

The Fed puts rates on ice

After raising interest rates in December for the first time since the financial crisis and Great Recession, the Federal Reserve has gone into a January freeze. The central bank on Wednesday announced no change in interest rates, meaning the target for the Fed’s benchmark federal funds rate will remain between 0.25% and 0.50%, the range set last month. For consumers, the outcome of this week’s meeting means more of the …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