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Unwarranted Inflation Fears Could Impact Recovery

Interest rates steadied this past week (March 22-26) after the Fed altered the rules, vowing not to cave to market whims or pressures, instead waiting for the “actual data” to dictate the path of monetary policy.  We agree with the Fed’s approach, but worry that the markets’ uneducated view of the causes of systemic “inflation” may push market rates to the point of endangering any chance of a robust recovery. …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

Careful Mr. Powell; Higher Rates Will Kill the Recovery

Treasury yields rose again this week; blame this one on Fed Chairman Powell.  In an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s Job Summit, he said that the Fed isn’t ready to stop the run-up in yields “until financial conditions tighten.”  In so saying, he paved the way for those financial conditions to tighten as markets immediately obliged.  We can’t help but think that it would have been better if he …Read More

Markets Are Bubbly – The Economy, Not So Much

Not a Bubble?  The equity markets have been driven by momentum and speculation these past few weeks, not by underlying business fundamentals.  We had GameStop, followed by Silver, then Pot stocks, and now SPACs, all driven by retail.  PE ratios are in the top 1% of their historical range.  Junk bond yields are at all-time-record low levels (sub 4%).  In January, the worst stocks based on business fundamentals, significantly outperformed …Read More

Mr. Market Won’t Let the Grinch-Like Economy Steal This Christmas!

The employment data for November were downbeat, and those surveys were taken prior to many newly imposed restrictions including stay-at-home orders. Other economic data, including Black Friday-Cyber Monday spending, and manufacturing and service indexes also disappointed.  Pessimism also showed up in the Fed’s recent Beige Book, its survey of business sentiment. Yet, despite all the downbeat economic news and forecasts, equity markets set new all-time highs the week ended December …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