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How Will Markets React to Growth Deceleration?

Economic fundamentals were ignored as if they were merely background noise as markets attempted once more in early August to breach their record high levels put in late last January. The common theme in the business media is that, due to great corporate earnings (24%+ in Q2), the equity markets are cheap. Never mind that a good part of that earnings growth was due to one-time tax reduction (in fact, …Read More

Slower Growth, Inflation, the Fed, and End of Cycle Indicators

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. Economy Still Healthy The 0.8% rise in retail spending in May would seem to confirm that the U.S. economy is still expanding. We believe that …Read More

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

Sources of Uncertainty (Resulting in Market Volatility)

Over the past several months, I have talked a great deal about volatility. The fact is, volatility increases in direct proportion to market uncertainty. So, today’s volatility is just symptomatic of the confusion and uncertainty now prevalent at least in the near-term outlook. The Trade Issue The talking heads on bubblevision would have you believe that the bickering over trade and tariffs, especially between President Trump and China, is the …Read More

Get used to heightened market volatility

The sentiment surveys indicate that the economy continues to perform well. The underlying data say otherwise. People take their cue from the stock market when it comes to assessing economic health. And, as long as the stock market is near dizzying heights, the sentiment surveys will say the economy is doing well. The hard data  January’s data showed negative retail sales vs. December, negative real weekly income, negative aggregate hours …Read More

“Normal” – It’s the Opposite of What the Media Says

I hear it every day on the business channels or see it in the business media print: “The economy has to get back to normal.”  But normal means different things to different constituencies.  Wall Street and equity investors certainly don’t want to see the stock market behave normally, if indeed, normal means that PE ratios mean revert and that we have periodic 10%-20% corrections.  Everyone, especially the President, would like …Read More