Viewpoints

and

Reflections

To attempt to make any comment in the middle of a pandemic, and I do think we are in the middle not the end, is to invite a list of unwelcome platitudes. These Comments always strive to capture an economic observation or two and relate those observations to our vision of the trend(s) which should most effect our financial planning and investment management decisions over the next few months. So, with a nod to the wisdom of past plagues – Thi...

Let’s start with a very short recap –

The high of the US stock markets occurred in February, but by the end of the 1st quarter the S&P 500 Index was down -19.6% and the Dow was down     -23% - pretty much a “worst quarter” since the financial crisis and the 1987 crash respectively.

To make sense of any situation we usually look back to similar events, time periods, or crises to see a similar pattern or trend onto which we can im...

The Global Stock Markets have declined this past week somewhere between -10% and -13% depending on which index you look at. For us here in the US, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average is one of the most widely quoted, that translates to close to 4,000 points down. “Ouch” doesn’t really capture the growing concern.

If we leave the Global human cost aside for the moment, we have to ask: “Why is this disease causing worldwide panic?” And we sh...

February 20, 2020

       

“Still Lower for Still Longer” seems to sum up where we are for interest rates, inflation, many sectors of the economy as well as many financial assets – all except the US stock market.  The US stock market seems to be able to shake off the many headwinds of slowing Global growth which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus hit to global trade, persistent weak US manufacturing data, and let’s not forget continued unce...

November 20, 2019

The end of year story might be said to be a version of “The Three Bears.” With many thanks to Gene Goldman, Cetera Financial Group CIO, and chief investment Guru, I’ll use his artful lens to help frame our understanding of where we are and where the story leads us. So, back to Goldilocks misadventure. Please mentally jump to the part of the story where she samples the porridge – Hot, Cold, and Just right.

        We know we are experiencing t...

August 14, 2019

Quarterly Comments: Third Quarter 2019

Heard on Bloomberg radio this morning – “Looking forward, people do not like what they see.” Why is that? Well, we have a host of reasons to be cautious, but here are the top few:

First on that list has to be the fact that the yield curve, the difference in rates on the 2 year Treasury note when compared to the 10 year Treasury bond has inverted. In other words, the two year rate pushed higher than the te...

Trade. Tariffs. Trade. Tariffs and a little bit of Brexit.  And the beat goes on.

            The beat seems to be picking up tempo, however. Tariffs on items manufactured in China have increased from 10% to 25%, and the range of products on which the tariffs are levied had broadened out to include many consumer items. The stock markets are beginning to rethink the “priced in” assumption that a trade deal would be reached soon. So now we see...

Up until very recently the stock markets have been complacent, working under the assumption that the trade war rhetoric would not erupt into a real trade war. As of today, May 13th, however, it seems that traders are not so sure about that “not really” assumption.

 Why does the stock market react negatively both to applied tariffs and to a real threat of more tariffs being imposed on Chinese imports? Because, quite simply, tariffs are a tax....

My father used to say, “In confusion there is profit.” He probably meant you could get away with an awful lot of nonsense while the adults were looking the other way. But I think there is some wisdom here – Let’s consider this: We are confused. Global growth is slowing, the earnings growth of companies here in the US is slowing by more than half this year, even the Federal Reserve is slowing its forecast of interest rate increases. And yet,...

February 22, 2019

What is the difference between "slowing" and "slow"? I think we need to clarify this distinction to understand our outlook for 2019. The economy here in the US is slowing, as is the Global economy. Peak economic growth may be behind us, but this does not mean that we are facing an imminent recession. We expect to see more of an earnings decline in 2019. Whereas corporate earnings grew at 20% or more in 2018, we expect that to decline to arou...

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