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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

Weak Employment Data, Savings Out of Bullets

Personal income fell -2.7% in August.  Still, consumer spending rose 1.0% M/M.  What Gives? The economy is still very much an employment story.  While the official U3 unemployment rate fell to 7.9% from 8.4%, the underlying data was, simply put, “ugly!” “Excess” Savings Last week, I discussed the theory that the “excess” savings from the stimulus packages (one-time stimulus checks and the now expired supplemental $600/week in unemployment benefits) would …Read More

The Recovery Stalls; Fed Pledges “Lower for Longer;” Equity Markets Pause

With the Fed pledging to keep rates low even when (or if) inflation rises above its 2% target, it is hard to see why long-term Treasury yields (and those of other quality issuers) won’t move toward yields of similar debt in the world’s other industrial economies (i.e., Europe and Japan). The economic lull is now showing up in both the labor market (Initial Claims) and in retail sales, likely because …Read More

As the Economy Stagnates, Equity Markets Pivot

Market volatility has marred the last few equity sessions.  The popular indexes all peaked on September 2nd, with the most closely watched S&P 500 down nearly -7% and the tech heavy Nasdaq nearly -10%.  But, don’t be fooled by the indexes.  Anyone with a diversified portfolio has likely had a significantly different experience in 2020. No doubt Q3 GDP will show a rebound of 30% or more.  Many believe that …Read More

The Real Story Of Employment Data

There were two separate events of economic  significance the week ended September 5th. First, the financial markets displayed volatility that hasn’t been seen for several months. The S&P 500 began the week at 3,508, rose 2.5% to 3,587 on Wednesday, fell -3.7% to 3,455 on Thursday, and after falling to an intraday low of 3,374 (-6.0% from Wednesday’s high) closed at 3,427 on Friday. On the week, the index lost …Read More

The Economy: On a Sugar High With 28 Million Unemployed

  Last week, interest rates moved slightly lower, with the 10-year T-Note falling about 7 basis points from 0.71% to 0.64%, a retracement of 37% toward the 0.51% August 4 low.  Like its brethren, the 30-year T-Bond fell 10 basis points from 1.45% to 1.35%, a 38% retracement to the 1.19% low (also August 4).  Some of the up-move had to do with the “Inflation Scare” discussed in last week’s …Read More