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Delta-Variant, Soft Data Bode Ill for Near-Term Growth

The markets waited all week for Fed Chair Powell to speak at the Kansas City Fed’s Annual Jackson Hole Symposium.  Due to the Delta-variant, like many other business meetings, this one was held virtually.  There was growing market concern that Powell would turn somewhat more hawkish, especially since some Regional Fed Presidents appear to have done so in recent speeches and media appearances.  As a result, interest rates, as measured …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 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

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

Look For The Preponderance Of The Evidence, Don’t Rely On One Factor

The headline on my LinkedIn page on Friday (October 4th) read: “Jobless rate reaches half-century low, HP plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs…” Is this good news about jobs, or bad? I’ve learned many times over the years to rely on the preponderance of the evidence, and not on any single indicator. The jobs numbers, themselves indicate that the economy is still expanding. But, the lower level of job creation, along with …Read More

Major Economic Trends: All Downbeat

The business cycle still exists no matter what the folks on TV or the politicians say. The major economic trends continue to weaken. Yield Curve Inversion Bond yields have fallen dramatically recently. The equity markets reflect nervousness. The yield curve is now inverted to the rates “administered” by the monetary authority. The Fed Funds rate is pegged near 2.4% versus the 10-year T-Note yield which stands near 2.1% as of …Read More