Results 201–250 of 290 found.
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.
Dependence On Government Has Become Epidemic
Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month greatly exceeds the number of full-time workers in the economy by a longshot? Sadly, it?s true. Based on the latest Census Bureau data available, there were over 148 million non-veteran Americans who were on some kind of monthly means-tested government benefit programs in 2012, by far the highest number ever. Today, that number is around 167 million by some more recent estimates.
The Real Obamacare Nightmare is Just Beginning
Last Thursday, the Obama administration said that a total of eight million Americans had signed up for Obamacare. In a hastily called press event, President Obama spiked the football, took a victory lap around the White House and declared the healthcare law a smashing success ? although they still haven?t told us how many enrollees have actually paid a premium, or how many were simply replacing their policies that were canceled due to Obamacare.
Uncle Sam Seizes Children's Tax Refunds To Pay Parents' Debts
This is one of those special weeks when I get to bring you key information that you probably haven?t seen elsewhere. As a speed-reader, I look at a large volume of information every week before deciding what topics to publish on Tuesdays. It was early Saturday evening when I ran across today?s topic which is getting scant coverage in the media, but everyone reading this needs to understand this latest (and possibly illegal) money-grab by our government.
How High-Frequency Trading Benefits Most Investors
A controversial new book came out in late March that lambastes so-called ?high-frequency trading? on the major stock exchanges and claims that such computerized trading robs retail investors of good executions and profits on their stock orders. The book, ?Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,? was written by former bond salesman turned author, Michael Lewis, who appeared on CBS? 60 Minutes on March 30. Since then, his book has stirred up quite the controversy among stock market investors.
Consumer Confidence Up, But Concerns Remain
The Conference Board reported last week that its Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 82.3 in March (up from 78.3), the highest reading since January 2008, just as the recession was beginning. But the two underlying components of the Index provided two different perspectives, as we will discuss today.
Looming Retirement Crisis ? Boomers In Big Trouble!
Let?s face it, we all know this country is facing a retirement crisis. The first of the Baby Boomers turned 65 and started retiring in 2011. The number of Boomers retiring each year will rise rapidly over the next decade or more. Before the end of this decade, Boomers will be turning age 65 at the rate of 8,000 per day.
Understanding The "Millennial Generation"
As the father of two adult children who were born in the early 1990s, I have a particularly keen interest in the ?Millennial Generation? ? those 80 million or so people born in the US between 1980 and 2002, the largest generation ever ? and who will be running the country before too long.
U.S. Household Net Worth Hits New Record High
The Federal Reserve announced last Thursday that US household net worth reached a new record high by the end of last year ? at $80.7 trillion. The Fed said the new record was made possible largely due to vaulting stock prices, increased home values and Americans paying off more of their debts.
The US Economy - Back To The Slow Lane Again
Late last year, President Obama predicted that 2014 would see ?breakout growth? in the US economy. His optimism was not completely unwarranted since the economy grew by a healthy 4.1% (annual rate) in the 3Q of last year, driven largely by an unexpected surge in inventory rebuilding. Then in late January, the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew by a better than expected 3.2% in the 4Q.
US Savings Rate Falling Again - Here Comes "MyRA"
Today we weave together several different topics that are all connected in one way or another. We begin with the US savings rate which is trending lower once again. From 1975 to 2007, the savings rate fell to an all-time low of 2.4%. While it jumped up briefly after the 2008 financial crisis, it is now moving lower yet again.
Emerging Market Woes abd Fed Tapering Equals Stocks Plunge
January saw US stocks record their first losing month since last August. After reaching new record highs at the end of December, the Dow Jones shed almost 1,000 points in the last half of the month and the decline continues. Analysts attributed the sell-off in large part due to troubling news from several emerging nations, in particular to the so-called "Fragile Five" - Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.
Consumer Confidence Jumped in December, But Why?
Today well look at several economic reports, including a big jump in consumer confidence last month. That seems a little odd given that over 63% of Americans still believe the country is headed in the wrong direction as I reported last week.
2013 - Good Year Or Good Riddance?
Its New Years Eve, so I thought it might be interesting to look at some recent polls to get a sense of how Americans feel about how things went in 2013 and what they considered to be the most important news stories of the year.
Economy Surprises On The Upside, But Is It Real?
In todays abbreviated holiday E-Letter, well look at last Fridays surprising report on 3Q GDP. In its third estimate of 3Q GDP, the Commerce Department reported that the economy surged by more than anyone expected. Given the surprisingly strong numbers, more than a few are questioning the reports accuracy and wondering if it will be revised lower in January.
Fed May Have An Unexpected Surprise In Mind
My readers know that the global financial world is waiting with bated breath for tomorrows Fed decision on whether to start to "taper" QE purchases now or wait until next year. The Feds Open Market Committee (FOMC) is holding its last policy meeting of the year today and tomorrow, and Chairman Bernanke will hold a press conference afterward.
Fed: No More Excuses Not To Taper - Just Do It!
We had some terrific economic news late last week. The 3Q GDP report and the November unemployment report were so strong that some are wondering if the data are credible, and are likely to be revised lower next month. The government reported that 3Q Gross Domestic Product jumped from 2.8% as reported last month to a whopping 3.6% in its second estimate last Thursday, well above the consensus estimate of 3.1%.
Nuclear Deal With Iran - Don't Give Away The Store
Obama administration representatives are quietly negotiating with Iran in an effort to stop its nuclear program. Under the proposed agreement, the US would relax or eliminate some of the tough sanctions that have crippled Irans economy. This is happening at the same time Congress is threatening to impose even tougher new sanctions on Iran.
Will 39% Hike in Minimum Wage Tank The Economy?
President Obama called for a whopping 39% increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour last Thursday. There is already a bill working its way through in the Senate to do the same thing. If this legislation passes, the minimum wage will be increased 95 cents each year for the next three years starting this year, to bring it to $10.10 by 2015.
Thank The Fed For Big Stock Market Gains
My guess is that just about everyone reading my E-Letters would agree that the Feds massive quantitative easing (QE) program has had a bullish effect on the stock markets over the last few years. Several new reports conclude that the Feds unprecedented QE bond buying program is responsible for ALL of the stock market advance since the bottom in early 2009.
US Economy Mired in a Sea of Contradictions
Consumer confidence has plunged over the last month, due in large part to the government shutdown and fear that the US might default on its debt because of the ineptitude of our leaders in Washington. Normally, when consumer confidence plunges, we would expect a significant slowdown in consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of GDP.
Is Your Stock Portfolio Up Over 30% This Year?
This is the question I get most from nervous investors who are trying to decide where to put their money in these troubled and unprecedented times. And why not? After all, we’ve got government shutdowns, debt default risk, $17 trillion in national debt, the Fed printing trillions of dollars in new money, healthcare uncertainty, threats of war abroad, etc., etc.
Consumer Confidence Plunging Recession Ahead?
The stalemate in Washington continues, the government remains in partial shutdown and the debt ceiling looms on Thursday. A bipartisan deal to fund the government until January 15 and raise the debt limit until early February is working its way through the Senate and could be voted on later today or tomorrow. It is unlikely that the Senate bill will pass in the House, which is reportedly working on yet another bill (see link below) that is unlikely to pass in the Senate.
The U.S. Can't Default On Its Debt. Right?
The Treasury Secretary has warned that his agency will exhaust the extraordinary measures it has used to fund the government on October 17. On the Sunday talk shows, he warned of catastrophic consequences if Congress doesnt raise the statutory debt ceiling by then. So, over the next nine days, youll be hearing ominous forecasts of what will happen if the US defaults on its nearly $17 trillion national debt, or even some of it. Sound familiar?
Handing Down Your Legacy - A Special Gift For Readers
No one likes to talk about death. Many people put off planning for this contingency because its just not pleasant to think about. Additionally, most young people think that death is a long way off, so they have plenty of time to plan for it. But as we all know, accidents happen and no one knows exactly when their time will come.
Another Budget & Debt Ceiling Fiasco Starts Now
Last Wednesday, after the Fed surprisingly voted not to taper, stocks soared to new record highs, but then lost ground for the next two days. It may be that some investors decided to lock in some gains, reduce exposure and brace for the next few weeks as the budget and debt ceiling circuses play out in Washington.
Stock Funds' 5-Year Track Records Set to Double
Many investors focus on the previous five years annualized return when analyzing which mutual funds to buy. We also pay a good deal of attention to the 5-year performance number when analyzing mutual fund and ETF returns at Halbert Wealth Management. And currently the 5-year average returns for most equity mutual funds are not all that attractive.
Some Scary Bumps in the Road Just Ahead
The major stock indexes moved lower after setting new record highs in early August, although prices have recovered somewhat in the last few days. So was the weakness in August just an overdue correction before moving even higher? Maybe, but there are a number of things coming up in the next month or so that could rattle the markets even more, including whether or not we go to war with Syria. Well talk about those today.
How Syria Could Spark New Middle East War
What does the stand-off in Syria have to do with the investment markets? Potentially, a lot. As I have argued in recent weeks, if the Middle East devolves into another military quagmire, it could be quite bearish for the US stock and bond markets going forward. Thats why we will talk about the implications today.
America is Turning Into a "Part-Time Nation"
Part-time work accounted for a whopping 77% of the jobs the US economy created from January through July, according to household survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year during the same time period, part-time jobs were only 53% of the total versus 47% full-time jobs. This trend toward part-time, low paying jobs is accelerating rapidly.
Results 201–250 of 290 found.