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Economic Review – Q1/16

At quarter’s end, the equity market had recovered all that it had lost between 12/31 and 2/11, plus about 1%.  Apparently, this was the swiftest recovery in any quarter since 1933.  While we were fairly certain that the downdraft was just a much needed correction, like you, we don’t care too much for the uncertainty that such markets bring, especially when the business media was practically cheerleading for a recession.  …Read More

The logic behind Wall Street’s recession fears

To the logical investor, and to most economists, Wall Street’s fear of a U.S. recession appears irrational. Is it? While there is no current evidence that the U.S. has entered a recession, or even that one is approaching, there have been two instances in modern history where the financial markets have precipitated a recession; 1929 and 2001. The negative feedback loop Summed up, the logic is that a bear market …Read More

Economic predictions for 2016

As the year ends, it is customary to write a column that attempts to forecast the major economic trends of the new year. Looking back, five of my six predictions last December were spot on (only missed the continuing weakness in manufacturing). I hope the forecasts that follow do as well. Jobs, jobs, jobs Jobs and the consumer have been the bright spots in the U.S. economy and it appears …Read More

The U.S. is Losing the Currency War

Over the past year, the U.S. dollar has appreciated more than 18%, and in the week of August 10th, China surprised the markets by allowing its currency to depreciate nearly 3% against the dollar, thoroughly roiling the equity markets. The Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) had typically pegged the value of the Chinese currency (RMB) to the dollar. In August, 2014, it took 6.15 RMB to purchase $1; and on …Read More

Why “Average” Wage Rates May Be Misleading

Much has been made of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s stance that the labor market still has a lot of slack. That message remained in the Fed’s September communique. As part of her justification, the Chairwoman points to the fact that the average hourly wage rate has remained at or near the “official” rate of inflation, and, therefore, real wage rates have been stagnant. The September jobs report, while showing considerable …Read More

Investing amid inflation, low interest

The Janet Yellen Fed clearly is paying close attention to the labor markets, and she has remarked several times that she thinks the unemployment level is unacceptably high. She sees a lot of slack in the labor markets and is particularly interested in seeing wages rise. The labor force participation rate also is key for Yellen as she has indicated that this indicator, too, must also be on the rise …Read More