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The Economy Slows; The Real “New Normal”

The virus’ resurgence has caused more business disruptions, raising the specter of a renewed economic slowdown.  Spending and income numbers have mainly been negative in Q4, and the much hoped for stimulus relief package is now stuck on the president’s desk. The Economy “Drop in Spending, Higher Claims Cloud Outlook for Growth,” WSJ, 12/24/20, A1. Restaurants: -3.7% November (M/M); -0.6% October Hotels/Motels: -8.7% November (M/M); -4.4% October Movie Theaters: -17.2% …Read More

Policy Rx for Recession Aggravates Income Inequality

T’was the week before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was spending, not even your spouse; the stockings were hung by the chimney with flairs, in hopes that the Congress would supplement CARES. And so, it appears that the economy continues to deteriorate as the Congress attempts to put together another stimulus without provisions for certain favored constituents of either party – much easier said than done.  …Read More

Priced For More Than Perfection, Markets Have Dismissed Economic Reality

The holidays are upon us, and we wish our clients and friends health, peace and happiness. Recent income, output, and employment data have turned sour. We’ll see what that does to holiday shopping. The financial markets, especially equities, have looked past the valley (abyss), and the vaccine news has enhanced the view that “normal,” or at least a “new normal” is just maybe a quarter or so away. The DOW set an …Read More

The Economy: On the Other Side of the Abyss

The good news is that a vaccine is definitely coming.  But getting to herd immunity is going to take more than a quarter or two, especially given the resistance of about half of the American population to getting the vaccine, at least early on. The economy is likely to remain soft until well after the pandemic passes.  There are many reasons for this including a decade of poor policymaking and …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

The Real Recession Is Just Starting

At month’s end, we are going to see the BLS announce a 30%+ bounce in real GDP (the Atlanta Fed’s forecast is now above 35%). Much of this is already priced into the equity market, so a positive or negative reaction will only occur if the reported number is significantly above or below the consensus view. In addition, this is old news, as Q3 will have been in the rear-view mirror for …Read More