Results 201–250 of 319 found.
Stock Markets Have Stalled Since March – Now What?
I get asked fairly frequently what I think about the stock markets and specifically, whether I believe this unprecedented bull market can continue. My typical answer is, I don’t have a clue. I don’t understand how a country that has increased its national debt from $10.6 trillion in January 2009 (when President Obama took office) to over $18 trillion in January of this year could see its major stock markets more than double during the same period.
IMF Urges Fed Not To Raise Interest Rates Until 2016
On Thursday of last week, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for US economic growth this year from 3.1% earlier in the year to only 2.5% now. That is not surprising in light of the mainly disappointing economic reports we’ve seen recently, and other forecasters have been revising their estimates lower as well.
Our $1.3 Trillion Government-Assisted Student Loan Crisis
I have been wanting to address our exploding student loan crisis for over a year now, but the topic didn’t seem to fit into the normal themes I tackle. Yet in fact, it does: It represents just one more financial/debt crisis facing our country that will surely impact the economy and the investment markets at some point.
China Surpasses America As World's Largest Economy
For the first time in history, the People’s Republic of China’s Gross Domestic Product exceeded the GDP of America, as measured by purchasing power, in 2014. According to the International Monetary Fund, China’s purchasing power GDP hit $17.6 trillion last year versus $17.4 trillion in the US.
Why US Economic Growth May Disappoint Again In 2015
Our main topic today is how the US economy continues to disappoint expectations, and 2015 looks to be no exception. Forecasts for GDP growth this year continue to be downgraded, and there is at least a small possibility that the US economy is slipping into recession.
Do More Americans Feel Confident About Retirement?
More Americans say they are feeling more confident about their retirement. That’s according to the results of the latest “Retirement Confidence Survey” conducted each year by the non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The Washington-based EBRI is the leading source for data on savings, retirement, health and related issues.
Why The US Unemployment Rate May Be Wrong
Last Friday’s unemployment report for March was a stunner, no doubt about it. After 12 consecutive months of new job creation above 200,000 per month, the Labor Department reported that only a meager 126,000 new jobs were created in March.
On The Economy, The Environment & Income Tax Time
The combination of topics for today’s E-Letter might seem unusual, and it is – the economy, the environment and income tax time. How do those fit together? They don’t really, but I think you will find today’s discussion on each to be interesting.
US Economy Badly Disappoints Analysts' Expectations
Today we will talk about an economic indicator that I have not written about before, which is compiled and reported monthly by CitiGroup, the American multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan.
The Surging U.S. Dollar - Good For Some, Bad For Others
The US dollar has been surging against most other currencies over the last year. The question is, is the rising US dollar good for the economy and the investment markets, or not? No doubt, the rising dollar has been buffeting the US equity and bond markets this year and is increasingly cited as the main culprit. That is what we will delve into today.
Strong Jobs Report Hits Fed's Rate-Hike Target Zone
Last Friday’s unemployment report for February was stronger than expected, both in terms of new jobs created and the headline unemployment rate which fell from 5.7% to 5.5%. This sparked growing fears among investors that the Fed will move to raise short-term interest rates sooner rather than later. Stocks fell sharply just after the report.
January Inflation Turns Negative - Is Deflation Upon Us?
Consumer prices fell in January for the third straight month, while inflation over the past 12 months turned negative for the first time since 2009, largely because of cheaper gasoline. In January, the Consumer Price Index sank by a seasonally-adjusted 0.7%, the biggest one-month drop since the end of 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The Most Successful Public Company In The World
Today we focus on the most successful and profitable company in the entire world. It just happens to be an American company, but many of us have never heard of it. If you had invested $1 in this company in 1968, your investment would have soared to $6,638 at the end of last year. I think you’ll be surprised to see which company this is.
Deflation Is Spreading In Europe - Is America Next?
US consumer prices fell in December by the largest amount in six years, reflecting another big monthly decline in gas prices and providing further evidence of falling inflation pressures. The Labor Department said Friday that its Consumer Price Index dropped 0.4% in December, the largest one-month drop since December 2008. It was also the second straight monthly decline in prices with both months reflecting big decreases in gasoline prices.
European Central Bank Embraces QE, For Better Or Worse
Last Thursday, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi announced the much-anticipated launch of a sovereign bond buying program at the rate of ?60 billion ($70 billion) per month known as ?quantitative easing.? The amount of the monthly purchases was slightly higher than had been expected.
Swiss Franc's Surge = Chaos In Global Currency Markets
Last Thursday, the Swiss National Bank stunned the financial world by decoupling the Swiss franc from the euro. This surprise move sent the franc up almost 40% against the euro in one day, although it didn?t close that high (up 19%). Nevertheless, many currency traders, banks and brokerages were left with devastating losses.
Is The US Treasury Market Rigged? Some Say Yes
The last time federal regulators took a hard look at how Wall Street banks and brokers trade US Treasury securities ? the largest bond market on the planet by a longshot ? a little company called Google Inc. was just starting out.
Economic Optimism Abounds As Crude Oil Plunges
Each year at this time, we see a plethora of fresh forecasts for the New Year, and this year is certainly no exception, especially with the recent implosion in oil prices. There is widespread agreement that sharply lower energy prices will provide a boost to the global economy this year, especially for oil-importing nations including the US.
Government Spent $29,000 Per US Household in 2014
A new study from The Heritage Foundation found that out-of-control spending in Washington amounted to more than $29,000 per household in fiscal year 2014. Today, I will reprint the highlights of that excellent report. As you will see below, government spending has topped $3.5 trillion in each of the six years that President Obama has been in office.
Plunging Oil Prices Spark Fears of Global Recession
Today, we touch on several bases. No doubt everyone reading this noticed that stocks tanked last week, and now seem to be moving in lockstep with oil prices. While consumers welcome cheaper gas and heating oil prices, there is a growing fear that the collapse in oil prices may be a harbinger of a global recession.
November Jobs Report Wasn't So Great After All
Last Fridays unemployment report for November was a stunner, at least on the surface. US businesses ramped-up hiring across the board in November, putting 2014 on pace to be the best year for job growth since 1999.
On The Economy, Oil Prices & Obama's Temper Tantrum
Last Tuesday the Commerce Department raised its estimate of 3Q Gross Domestic Product to a 3.9% annual pace from the 3.5% rate reported last month, reflecting upward revisions to business investment and consumer spending and a smaller than previously reported decline in inventories. The pre-report consensus was for a slight cut to 3.3%, so the latest report was much better than expected.
Median Household Income Down Last 15 Years - Why?
One of the most puzzling questions in economics today is why did median household income peak in 1999 and has yet to recover? Most analysts cite the fact that we had two serious recessions in the space of a decade, including the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
Global Economy Worsening, But America is on Top
With President Obama making controversial moves on several fronts this month, it is tempting to go all politics this week. The president is threatening to grant defacto amnesty to five or six million illegal aliens, via Executive Order, even though he knows this is unpopular among the American people. Its as if hes in full denial regarding the landslide midterm election results.
Retirement Saving Crisis is Worse Than We Thought
Each year Wells Fargo & Company conducts a survey of middle-class Americans of various ages to see how they are faring with saving for retirement. The results of the 2014 survey were just made public late last month. I will summarize them for you below. Let me warn you in advance they are not pretty!
Consumer Confidence Hit a 7-Year High in October... But
The two most widely-followed indicators of consumer confidence jumped to the highest levels in seven years last week. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 94.5 in October, the strongest reading since October 2007 before the economy entered the Great Recession.
Americans Even More Pessimistic Ahead of Elections
Republicans remain in a favorable position heading into the midterm elections. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Sunday showed that the GOP now holds an 11-point lead among likely voters. Thats up from only a 5-point lead a week earlier. Some 52% of likely voters want a Republican-led Congress, while 41% favor Democratic control.
Retirement: How To Avoid Outliving Your Savings
With over 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day, a pattern that will continue for the next 20 years, retirement savings continues to be one of the most important issues of our day. With 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 the Baby Boom Generation saving enough for retirement is critically important.
How Over-Regulation Hurts Us - Some Eye-Popping Numbers
The study entitled Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth was published by the Journal of Economic Growth. Among other things, the Journal conducts research on how over-regulation hurts the economy. The Journal calculates that over-regulation has shaved at least 2% off of annual economic growth since 1949.
Unemployment Dips Below 6%, But Incomes Stagnate
Last Fridays unemployment report came in better than expected. The headline unemployment rate fell more than anticipated, from 6.1% in August to 5.9% last month. The number of new jobs created last month was also better than expected at 248,000.
How High US Corporate Tax Rates Hurt the Economy
The US corporate tax rate is the highest among developed nations at 35% at the federal level. Tack on state and local taxes, which can add 5-7%, and US corporations are looking at a 40%-42% income tax burden. But the US takes it even another step further, unlike any other country in the developed world.
Fed Forecasts Sub-3% Economy for the Next Three Years
The Feds policy committee announced last Wednesday that it will end its massive QE bond buying program at the end of next month, thus paving the way for the first Fed funds rate increase sometime next year. This was not a surprise. The Feds gargantuan balance sheet will peak near $4.5 trillion in Treasury and mortgage-backed bonds at the end of October.
Labor Force Participation Lowest in 36 Years - Why?
Last Fridays unemployment report for August was significantly weaker than expected. While the headline unemployment rate dipped back to 6.1% (same as it was for June), the number of new jobs created last month was substantially below expectations and marked the lowest number of the year.
Consumer Confidence Hits a Seven-Year High... But
Last week, the Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to a near seven-year high in mid-August. It was the fourth consecutive monthly rise in the Index and handily beat the pre-report consensus.
Fed's Getting Anxious About Interest Rate "Liftoff"
While I have been a Fed watcher for over 30 years, rarely have I seen as much media angst over the central banks next move as we are seeing today. We all know that the Fed is going to raise short-term interest rates at some point. We expect the Fed to normalize interest rates slowly in measured steps over the next few years. The main question is, when does this process begin?
The Border Crisis: Why Is It Happening & Why Now?
The recent surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children to the United States from Central America has sparked an intense and emotional debate over the crisis on the US-Mexico border. Unlike illegal immigrants from Mexico that can be deported within 48 hours, illegals from non-contiguous countries must be provided a deportment hearing in a court of law.
Consumer Confidence Hits 7-Year High - Really?
Today well look at several key economic reports over the last week or so. Most have been better than expected. The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index surged to the highest level in seven years in July. However, a couple of other reports well look at below paint a very different picture.
Fed's Janet Yellen To Continue Punishing Savers
New revelations have suggested that our new Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, may be the most liberal person to ever hold the highest monetary office in the world. This news comes after a recent extended interview Ms. Yellen did with The New Yorker Magazine and her testimony before Congress earlier this month.
Economic Outlook Dimming, Yet Fed Plans Rate Hikes
The mainstream media was largely successful in convincing the public that the dreadful 1Q GDP number (-2.9%) was the result of the bitter winter in January and February. The media spin was that the economy would snap back strongly in the 2Q with growth of 4%, 5% or even 6%. While there were some encouraging economic reports in April, May and early June, the economy now appears to be losing momentum again.
U.S. Now Worlds Largest Producer of Oil & Gas
Recent reports have confirmed that the US is now the worlds largest producer of crude oil with output exceeding 11 million barrels per day in the 1Q of this year. This surpasses the daily oil production of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Why The Fed Needs You To Sell Your Bonds
Today I will attempt to explain why longer-term interest rates have fallen significantly this year when almost everyone expected rates to rise. This discussion focuses on the fact that there is a shortage of Treasury securities in the marketplace today, especially in maturities of 10 years or longer. The shortage is due to a combination of factors that I will discuss below
1Q GDP Plunges Nearly 3% - What Will The Fed Do Now?
Today we take a closer look at last weeks very ugly 1Q GDP report and see if we can discern why it was so much worse than anyone expected (hint: it was more than the severe winter weather). Fortunately, it continues to look like 2Q growth will come in at +3.0% or better. But even if GDP for the rest of the year comes in strong, the devastating 1Q will ensure yet another slow growth year.
Economy: 1Q Looks Even Worse, But 2Q Looks Good
The governments final estimate of 1Q GDP comes out tomorrow, and it is expected to be revised from -1.0% to near -2.0%. Based on recently released data, it is clear that healthcare spending by consumers was considerably lower in the 1Q than first estimated. Well look at some of the reasons why.
The US Economy The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
As is true more often than not, there are mixed signals in the economy. There are indeed some green shoots emerging that suggest the economy is finally gaining some momentum. Yet there are also continued troubling signs that, while not warning of an impending recession, suggest that we could be stuck in a structural period of continued below-trend growth.
Fed Official: We're Sitting On A "Ticking Time Bomb"
It is very rare for high-ranking Fed officials to issue dire warnings, but thats exactly what Charles Plosser the president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank did last Tuesday. Mr. Plosser is very concerned about the $2.5 trillion in excess reserves that banks have on deposit with the Fed.
Interest Rates Have To Go Up. The "Bond King" Says No
The prevailing view on Wall Street and Main Street is that medium and long-term interest rates have to go higher in the months and years ahead. Interest rates have to get back to normal at some point, so were told. Yet in the last several months, yields on 10-year Treasury notes and 30-year Treasury bonds have fallen rather significantly. Whats up with that?
Fed's Zero Interest Rate Cost Savers A Trillion Dollars
Get a group of adults together in a social setting and the conversation almost invariably gets around to a discussion about the paltry returns savers have been earning on their money in recent years. Three-month certificates of deposits are averaging only 0.23% nationally; one-year CDs are at only 1% if you can get it; and five-year CDs get you only about 2%. And rates have been at or near these depressed levels for the last four years.
Are "Currency Controls" Coming To America On July 1?
Some very controversial regulations passed way back in 2010 and finalized in 2012 are scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year, and most Americans know little or nothing about this new law. Yet the effect of these new regulations could send shockwaves through the financial system worldwide. Basically, the regulations that take effect July 1 will make it very difficult and costly for Americans to hold money or investments outside the US.
Results 201–250 of 319 found.