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A Softening Economy Will Be Buffeted by Stimulus Withdrawal

While the story of the week was the big “miss” in Nonfarm Payrolls, most of the incoming data continue to be much softer than the markets or financial media let on, as they continue to ignore the implications.  The chart above shows U.S. vehicle sales beginning in 2015.   Note the steady sales levels until the pandemic, the climb out to just above normal, and now a renewed falloff.   Sales in …Read More

Dysfunctional Credit Markets – Still Waiting on the Fed

As the week ended, U.S. credit markets appeared confused, if not outright dysfunctional.  The 10-Year Treasury yield began February at 1.09% and reached an interim peak of 1.54% on February 25.  Then it retreated to 1.42% as markets thought the rise had simply been overdone.  But Fed Chair Powell’s refusal to assure financial markets regarding the Fed’s intentions at the Wall Street Journal’s Jobs Summit (as detailed in last week’s …Read More

The Economy: Damaged Labor Markets; An Inflation Head Fake

On Friday, February 5, markets were set to rise no matter what the employment data showed.  If they beat to the upside, that would validate the reflation/pent-up demand narrative.  If they disappointed, well, that would simply mean more fiscal and monetary largesse (which financial markets love).  Either way, heads markets rise; tails, ditto. Labor Market Signals: Positive, Negative and Mixed As it turns out, there was validation for every viewpoint …Read More

The Wile E. Coyote Market/Economy

The Wile E. Coyote stock market has now looked down. Nothing but air! The “good news” data from the U.S. economy is all stimulus related. Without stimulus, Q3 GDP would have fallen double digits. The economy has yet to face the oncoming eviction crisis in the rental markets and foreclosure tsunami in the commercial real estate market. No matter how the economic numbers are presented, 22+ million unemployed tells you all you …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

The Economy: Navigating Scylla & Charybdis

  In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters existing on the opposite sides of the Strait of Messina, between Sicily and the Italian mainland.  Scylla was a six headed sea monster; Charybdis a huge whirlpool.  Because they were so close together, any passing ship was threatened.  In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus passed close to Scylla, losing only a few sailors rather than risking losing his whole ship in …Read More