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At Recession’s Onset, There is No Bell, Bugle, or National Anthem

From my reading of the business media, there are few business economists who believe, like I do, that the probability of a recession in the next 12 months is greater than 50%.  A recession is generally viewed as two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth. Looking forward, a recession isn’t inevitable, as there have been ‘soft landings’ in the post-World War II era.  Nevertheless, from my lens, there doesn’t …Read More

Quarterly Economic Outlook: Q3/2016

The “Brexit” caused market swoon on Wall Street turned out to be a nasty 5.3% two day dive (S&P 500) that was all but reversed in the next 4 trading sessions.  The reason was clear early on – despite forecasts of immediate worldwide economic doom and gloom, the non-binding referendum was mostly a political statement about bureaucratic government, and the referendum split along demographic lines (older vs. younger, and rural …Read More

Barone: Housing doldrums a supply problem

One of the key indicators of U.S. economic health is housing – both the turnover of the existing housing stock and the construction of new units. Existing home sales, new home sales, and housing starts all peaked earlier this year. Given the health of the U.S. consumer, as vividly demonstrated in the employment and auto sales data, it is puzzling why the housing numbers now appear to be so anemic. …Read More

Are equity prices too high?

It really must be confusing for the ordinary investor as the media continues to emphasize negative economic news. The current story line continues to be a sluggish economy, where GDP growth was 0.2 percent in the first quarter and likely to be revised to negative growth, while even Europe, long stuck with growth-killing socialism, grew at a 1.6 percent annual rate over the same time period. Are U.S. equity prices …Read More

Should you buy this market correction?

It appears that the summer has not been kind to the equity markets, and that we have actually been in a “stealth” correction for about 3 months. What should investors do? Is this a correction to flee? Is it already too late? Part of the reason for the acceleration in the heretofore “stealth” correction to the larger-cap equities this past week is a souring of public sentiment over the seeming …Read More

This is not your father’s Fed

First published at RGJ.com http://www.rgj.com/story/money/business/2014/05/30/robert-barone-fathers-fed/9728075/ The tools available to monetary policy have large impacts and affect wide swaths of the financial terrain. This has always been acknowledged in the financial community, and, as a result, monetary policy has not been used to target social issues. Until now. Labor markets Fed Chairwoman Yellen has made it clear that she wants to see a reduction in what she has termed “disadvantaged workers,” …Read More