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Despite Wall Street Hype, Inflation is Not Imminent

Retail sales rose a record 5.3% M/M in January after three months in a row of decline.  No doubt the $600 checks from the late December “helicopter” money drop played a large role.  The Atlanta Fed now says that their GDP model pegs the current quarter’s growth at +9.5% (Annual Rate (AR)).  In addition, Industrial Production was up nearly 1% (0.9%) in January.  So, why worry?  Infections and hospitalizations are …Read More

The Economy: Damaged Labor Markets; An Inflation Head Fake

On Friday, February 5, markets were set to rise no matter what the employment data showed.  If they beat to the upside, that would validate the reflation/pent-up demand narrative.  If they disappointed, well, that would simply mean more fiscal and monetary largesse (which financial markets love).  Either way, heads markets rise; tails, ditto. Labor Market Signals: Positive, Negative and Mixed As it turns out, there was validation for every viewpoint …Read More

Bubble Markets Display Bizarre Behavior

Right Before They Tumble Like the Dot.Com bubble of the late ‘90s, the typical signs of an approaching bubble bust were on full display in the equity markets last week (week ending January 29th).   GameStop (GME) and other failing or troubled companies (AMC, Blackberry, Nokia, Bed Bath) have become the darlings of the WallStreetBets (WSB) crowd (a gang of small retail investors tethered together via social media).  Last week, they …Read More

The Recovery Will Be Weaker And It Will Take Longer

While markets were slightly higher on the week (see table), there was a clear rotation back toward technology after several weeks of a lull for that sector.  This is clearly shown by the week’s Nasdaq outperformance.   January 22 January 15 % Change DJIA 30,997 30,814 +0.6% Nasdaq 13,543 12,999 +4.2% S&P 500 3,841 3,768 +1.5% Markets continue to ignore economic reality and continue to be focused on a rosy …Read More

We Don’t Live in “Normal” Times

The equity markets are in one of those rare moods where they continue to rise no matter the news, even when there are riots in the nation’s capitol complex, and when non-farm payrolls fall -140K.  Would you say this is “normal?” Regarding inflation expectations, interest rates rose rapidly along the Treasury yield curve with the 10-year T-Note yield rising from 0.93% (93basis points) from its close on January 4th to …Read More

In A Changing World, The Old Economics May No Longer Apply

One must be careful in interpreting data. The world has changed, and it impacts how people behave and ultimately the resulting data. The recent Retail Sales data is a case in point. It cannot be interpreted with a pre-virus backdrop. It’s rise in September 2020 doesn’t mean the same as a similar rise would have meant in September 2019.  We have seen some back-up in interest rates over the past month. Fixed income investors are …Read More