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Faster Growth Deceleration Prompts Increased Market Turbulence

Market volatility looks to have become the norm of late, with intraday swings of 500 points on the Dow Jones Industrials seemingly commonplace. The days of complacency and ever rising stock prices appear to be firmly in the rear-view mirror, now replaced by daily angst. And, with good reason. Markets have fully recognized that “synchronized” world economic growth has ended, that the U.S. economy is not an island, immune from …Read More

On a Recession Watch

For the first time since the industrial revolution, the U.S. faces two significant growth issues: 1) a declining labor force; and 2) a job skills mismatch.  The declining labor force is demographic in nature and is occurring in every industrial economy; likely a function of the long-term success of capitalism.   The skills mismatch is a function of technological change that is so rapid that the skills of the existing labor …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

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