Commentary

Lessons from Japan?

Thirty years ago, many in the US were in fear that a rising power in Asia was on the verge of eclipsing the US. Now it's China, back then it was Japan.

Commentary

Jobs, Coronavirus, and the Budget

In January, US payrolls expanded by 225,000, not only beating the consensus forecast, but also forecasts from every single economics group. Since January 2019 (12 months ago), both payrolls and civilian employment – an alternative measure of jobs that includes small-business start-ups – are up 2.1 million.

Commentary

No Need for Fed Rescue

Fears about the coronavirus knocked down equities last week, while a flight to safety brought the yield on the 10-year Treasury down to 1.51% at the Friday close versus 1.69% the week prior and 1.92% at the end of 2019.

Commentary

Quiet Year Ahead

The first Federal Reserve statement of the new decade proved one of the most uneventful in years, with virtually no change from the December outlook that suggested rates will stand pat in the year ahead.

Commentary

Look for Steadiness from the Fed

The Federal Reserve is set to make its first policy statement of the year on Wednesday, so this is as good a time as any to reiterate our view that the Fed is likely to keep short-term interest rates steady through 2020 and, while pressures will build, the Fed seems content to hold them steady next year, as well.

Commentary

Moderate Growth in Q4

Back in mid-November, the highly respected GDP forecasting model from the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank (also known as "GDP Now"), estimated that real GDP would only grow at a 0.3% annual rate in the fourth quarter, which, if accurate, would have been the slowest growth for any quarter since 2015. At the time, we were forecasting economic growth at a 3.0% rate.

Commentary

The Gift That Keeps Giving

The US economy is not in an economic boom, but growth has been consistently faster than during the Plow Horse phase from mid-2009 through the end of 2016. Real GDP has grown at a 2.6% annual rate since the start of 2017 versus 2.2% beforehand.

Commentary

Blame the Overweight Jockey

The longest economic recovery on record continues, with January being the 128th consecutive month of growth. The first seven years, from mid-2009 through 2016 saw average real GDP growth of 2.2%. Since the start of 2017, US real GDP growth accelerated, to an average annual growth rate of 2.6%, while the unemployment rate now stands at the lowest level in 50 years (and is likely headed lower).

Commentary

The Expansion Continues

The current expansion won't last forever. But we don't see it ending anytime soon.

Commentary

Greedy Innkeeper or Generous Capitalist?

The Bible story of the virgin birth is at the center of much of the holiday cheer this time of year. The book of Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus decreed a census should be taken. Mary gave birth after arriving in Bethlehem and placed baby Jesus in a manger because there was "no room for them in the inn."

Commentary

S&P 3650, Dow 32500

A year ago, we projected the S&P 500 would hit 3100 at the end of 2019. In spite of the swoon in equities in the fourth quarter of last year, we didn't see a recession coming and our model for estimating fair value for the stock market was screaming BUY.

Commentary

Fed on Hold

No one expected the Federal Reserve to change short-term rates today and no change was made. Meanwhile, the Fed made no significant changes to its policy statement and the statement was unanimous.

Commentary

Good News is Good News

A year ago, conventional wisdom became convinced that a stock market correction was really the beginning of a "bear market," and a sure sign that recession was on its way. Oops. Conventional wisdom was wrong again.

Commentary

Don't Worry About the US Consumer

During the next couple of days you're going to see lots of stories about the strength of consumer spending. Early reports say Black Friday online sales hit a record high, up 14% from a year ago, following a 17% increase on Thanksgiving Day itself. Black Friday sales at brick and mortar stores were up 4.2% from a year ago.

Commentary

Long Live the Bull Market

Last December, almost 12 months ago, we set our year-end 2019 target for the S&P 500 at 3,100. Many thought we were way too bullish, but our model for the stock market suggested 3,100 was well within reach. We believed the bull market had plenty of room to run.