The Markets Central bank tightening sparked recession fears. Last week, the Federal Reserve (Fed) raised the federal funds rate for the fifth time this year. During 2022, the Fed has lifted its benchmark rate from near zero to 3.12 percent. Fed policymakers indicated that they expect to raise the rate again this year. That’s going to make borrowing more expensive as rates on credit cards, home mortgages and business loans increase. Frankly, that’s the Fed’s goal. It wants to tamp down consumer and business spending. When spending falls, demand for goods and services falls and so do prices. Lower [...]
The Markets It’s open to interpretation. Jackson Pollock was an action painter. He poured, dropped, and dripped paint onto horizontal canvases. Some people look at his work and wonder why it’s highly valued. Others find deep meaning in the paintings. For instance, Pollock’s Convergence is a collage of splattered colors that has been described as “the embodiment of free speech and freedom of expression…It was everything that America stood for all wrapped up in a messy, but deep package.” Today, gauging the state of the American economy is akin to interpreting abstract art. Many economic indicators suggest the economy [...]
The Markets Central banks are hawkish. Stocks popped higher, anyway. Last week, despite signs that inflation is slowing, U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) officials emphasized their commitment to tightening monetary policy to lower inflation. Several indicated they anticipate a third consecutive rate hike of 75 basis points, reported Craig Torres and Matthew Boesler of Bloomberg. Investors seemed to disregard the Fed as U.S. stocks moved higher, snapping a three-week losing streak. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the week up 3.6 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.7 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 4.1 percent, reported Christine [...]
The Markets You may have heard this one: Don’t fight the Fed. The Fed is the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. Among other things, the Fed influences monetary conditions in pursuit of price stability and full employment. As we’ve seen recently – with unemployment low and inflation high – the Fed’s job isn’t simple or straightforward. “Don’t fight the Fed” is a bit of wisdom that encourages investors to align their portfolios with current monetary policy. “The rationale is deceptively intuitive. If the Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates or is generally accommodative, then the ensuing liquidity [...]
The Markets Markets were tuned to the signals coming from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. During World War II, United States armed forces often relied on high-powered radio sets to communicate. When determining whether transmissions were garbled by static or obscured by the sounds of battle, the sender would ask, “Do you read me?” If communications were easily understood, the answer was, “Loud and clear.” Last week, markets heard U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell loud and clear. He spoke at the Federal Reserve (Fed)’s policy forum in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and said: “The U.S. economy is clearly slowing from the [...]
The Markets Is this a bear market rally or a new bull market? Investment professionals are in the middle of a heated debate. Since mid-June, United States stock markets have moved higher, regaining about $7 trillion as many investors who had sold shares during the first half of the year began buying again, reported Lu Wang of Bloomberg. The debate is about whether the stock market is in the midst of a bear market rally or a new bull market. A bull market occurs when share prices rise steadily over time. In a recent Morning Briefing on LinkedIn, Edward [...]
The Markets Rally caps were waving. In recent weeks, investors have embraced the idea that economic data will persuade the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of rate hikes. Last week’s inflation data fanned their enthusiasm. The big news was that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, didn’t change from June to July. That doesn’t mean all prices remained the same during the month. They didn’t. For instance, the cost of energy dropped by 4.6 percent, while the cost of food rose by 1.1 percent. When all price changes were combined, the overall result was zero percent [...]
The Markets The strength of the United States economy continues to surprise. If you have ever been camping, you may have banked your campfire by covering the hot coals with ash. It’s a process that keeps the coals burning low so the fire can be easily rekindled. The U.S. Federal Reserve has been trying to bank the fire of U.S. economic growth – and it’s proving to be challenging. There are signs that U.S. economic activity is burning less brightly. For example, economic growth declined during the last two quarters, the U.S. housing market appears to be cooling, and [...]
Weekly Market Commentary – Investors thought they heard a dovish note from the Federal Reserve and markets rallied.
The Markets Investors thought they heard a dovish note from the Federal Reserve and markets rallied. Last week, we learned from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that economic growth in the United States slowed for the second consecutive quarter. Economic growth is measured by gross domestic product, or GDP, which is the value of all goods and services produced during a specific period. GDP includes household, business and government spending, as well as exports and imports. Before inflation, the U.S. economy grew by 6.6 percent in the first quarter of 2022 and by 7.9 percent in the second [...]
Weekly Market Commentary – A lot of people are worried that a recession may be in our future. Some think it may already be here.
The Markets A lot of people are worried that a recession may be in our future. Some think it may already be here. Unemployment is low (3.6 percent), and inflation is high (9.1 percent). Both tend to occur when an economy is experiencing strong growth. That makes it difficult to believe the United States is in a recession, but some data is pointing that way. Last week, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow estimated that economic growth in the United States was -1.6 percent for the second quarter of 2022, after adjusting for inflation. They measured economic growth using gross [...]