Beyond Tariffs: More Changing Fundamental Trends

March 23, 2018

The big news yesterday was the market decline after the announcement of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. As we saw with the previous round of tariffs, markets are pulling back and forth between the very real potential damage a trade war could cause and the likelihood that one won’t happen.

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A New Round of Tariffs: Keep Calm—But Pay Attention

March 22, 2018

The economic news today should be about the Fed and how its new chairman sounded at the press conference yesterday. Indeed, there has been some commentary on that, and it was largely good. But any Fed news has been overshadowed by the expected (now confirmed) announcement from the White House of a new round of tariffs on China. Markets have taken note by heading down, so that is what we will be discussing today.

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Is the Housing Market Rolling Over?

March 21, 2018

I consider housing to be one of the key drivers of the economy. This is true from a fundamental basis—with housing driving construction and mortgage finance, which are significant parts of the economy, plus all sorts of indirect spending such as furniture. But it also holds true from a confidence and wealth-building perspective. Homeownership provides a level of economic security for most families that enables them to save and invest at higher levels, even before considering the substantial economic benefit of home appreciation. Housing matters for a reason.

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Fed Meeting Preview: Getting to Know Chair Jerome Powell

March 20, 2018

The regular meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (better known as the Fed) starts today and ends tomorrow with an official statement followed by a press conference. Markets expect the Fed to announce that interest rates will rise another 25 basis points, with 100-percent probability. Further, they are currently pricing in another couple of increases this year, as you can see in the Bloomberg chart below.

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Monday Update: Industry Strong, But Consumer Spending Slowing

March 19, 2018

Last week was a busy one for economic news, with five major reports covering all areas. But this week, all eyes will be on the Fed. Let’s take a closer look.

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No Economic News Is Good News

March 16, 2018

One of the best ways to tell that the economic news is good is that it simply isn’t showing up in the news. The old media saying, “if it bleeds it leads,” means you don’t see a lot of good news on the front pages. Hence, we now have politics taking the lead, along with various disasters. When business stories do appear, they are typically company specific and focus on (what else?) bad news. The Toys R Us bankruptcy is a case in point today.

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Remembering Dr. Stephen Hawking: Lesson for Investors

March 15, 2018

Today, I would like to pause and remember the life and work of Dr. Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist and a personal hero of mine. His life combined a commitment to science with a complete refusal to give in to a debilitating medical condition. Instead, not only did he continue to learn and grow, but he extended the limits of human knowledge—quite literally to the end of time. Not all heroes wear capes, as the saying goes, and his heroism in continuing to live and work in the face of illness is beyond all admiration. Thank you, Dr. Hawking, not just for your work but for the inspiration and example of a life well lived.

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