The Independent Market Observer

Quick Hits on the Markets and Economy

October 29, 2021

I am still in Atlanta this morning, after a terrific watch party with about two dozen of our advisors, sponsors, and guests. It was great to see everyone and especially to meet some new people. That said, today is another travel day, headed back from Atlanta to Boston. So, let’s take some quick hits on news items that intrigued me.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Could the Job Market Get Even Tighter?

October 28, 2021

Thinking about the constraints I mentioned yesterday, I want to dig a bit deeper into the employment and jobs question. As I wrote last week, I expect the jobs market to stay tight. There are now more jobs out there than there are workers. Unless something drastic changes, that is likely to remain the case. As job growth continues to outpace workforce growth, that situation is likely to force changes, including increased automation.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Economy Making the Best of a Difficult Situation

October 27, 2021

It’s another day of travel for me, as I head to Atlanta to host a National Conference watch party for Commonwealth. Gathering together in Las Vegas, as we had originally planned for our National Conference, was simply too risky. Between full hospitals, the inability to host outdoor events, and the fact that there would be thousands of non-Commonwealth guests in our hotel, it simply didn’t make sense to have everyone take those risks.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Schools of Economic Thought: Theory Vs. Reality

October 26, 2021

I have been writing this blog for going on 10 years now and have been in this business for longer than that, so I have been asked a lot of questions. They tend to come in cycles. At this point, unless something like the pandemic comes along, which really is new, they also tend to be variations on a theme.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update: Existing Home Sales Surge in September

October 25, 2021

Last week saw the release of several important economic updates, with a focus on the housing sector. September’s existing home sales report was a highlight, with sales growth hitting a one-year high during the month. This will be another busy week for updates. The reports scheduled will touch on wide swaths of the economy, including a first look at third-quarter GDP growth.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Identifying Trends and Patterns in the COVID Data

October 22, 2021

Brad here. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been mentioning that I thought there’s a risk of a “heating” wave of the pandemic this fall in the northern states, following the “air conditioning” wave we saw in the southern states this past summer. I discussed it as a reasonable risk and something to keep an eye on, but my colleague and friend Pete Essele has gone well beyond that and done the work here to establish in detail both what happened over the summer and what that could mean for the fall and winter. Definitely worth a read! Great job Pete and thank you.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Starting with a Financial Plan

October 21, 2021

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”—Oft-cited paraphrase of exchange between the Cheshire Cat and Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Markets and Economy Retain Momentum—But Risks Remain

October 20, 2021

It’s been a while, but it’s time for another COVID update. Compared with a month ago, the medical situation continues to improve, which is good news, although there are reasons to be concerned over the next month or two. The economic news, however, continues to be uncertain. Job growth has slowed substantially in the past couple of months, and confidence remains below the peaks. While markets have continued to do well (as I write this, they are approaching new highs again), there has been volatility and more is likely as we approach year-end.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

A New World of Labor Shortages?

October 19, 2021

Following up on some of my previous posts, it seems clear that something has changed in the workplace. That somehow, the consensus that dominated both employers and workers pre-pandemic has now broken. The question is, what could that be? Will it go back to where it was? Or will this new world of labor shortages due to people choosing not to work persist?

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update: Retail Sales Beat Expectations in September

October 18, 2021

Last week, a number of important economic updates were released, including September’s inflation and retail sales reports and a first look at consumer confidence in October. The retail sales report was a highlight, as both headline and core sales increased by more than expected due to a rise in spending on consumer goods. This will be another busy week for updates, with a focus on industrial production and the housing sector.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Kindness, Work, and the Worker Shortfall

October 15, 2021

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on yesterday’s post (thank you!) on how we should be kind, to others and ourselves, given the unprecedented and long-lasting conditions we have been fighting. As I thought more about it, I realized it also resonated with one of the key economic issues we are seeing today: the decision by millions of people to simply drop out of the labor force. The headlines today have multiple references to how people are simply choosing not to work and wondering when, and if, that will change.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Better Together

October 14, 2021

This will be a short update as I am in the airport headed home from Commonwealth's Founder’s Club conference. As usual, it was a wonderful experience—good company, great activities, and a spectacular setting. But what struck me at this conference, in particular, was the value of personal contact.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monthly Market Risk Update: October 2021

October 13, 2021

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Economic Risk Factor Update: October 2021

October 12, 2021

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update: Hiring Slows in September

October 11, 2021

Last week saw the release of a number of important economic updates, with a focus on international trade, service sector confidence, and the September employment report. Although the employment report showed that hiring continued to slow in September, reports from previous months saw upward revisions that partially offset the slowdown. This will be another busy week for updates, with reports to come on September’s inflation and retail sales, as well as a first look at consumer confidence in October.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Global Central Banks Join the Fed Bandwagon

October 8, 2021

Given the overarching role of the U.S. in the world economy, it is no surprise that when the Fed sneezes, central banks around the world catch a cold. During the so-called taper tantrum of 2013, the Fed’s unexpected talk of plans to slow down its bond purchase program resulted in higher interest rates and a stronger dollar, which caused the capital pipelines of emerging markets to freeze. Today, with a tenuous global recovery underway and the threat of the pandemic hanging on, central banks around the world are watching the actions of an increasingly hawkish Fed with hawk eyes (no pun intended). At the same time, we’re seeing global policy divergences as economies emerge from the pandemic environment at different speeds and face different challenges. For investors, this environment could present country-specific opportunities in fixed income, equities, and currencies.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Do Investors Need to Keep an Eye on Climate Change?

October 7, 2021

I got a question last week that I thought was excellent: how does climate change do when we apply the same set of crisis tests we did to Evergrande and the great financial crisis (GFC)? It may seem to be a political question—and quite possibly it was intended as such. But in my mind, applying this set of nonpolitical tests is a great way to take it out of the realm of politics, where I have no special expertise, and into the realm of economics and data analysis, where I do. Today, let’s take a nonpolitical look, based on the data, at whether climate change is something that we, as investors, should be keeping an eye on.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

The Most Important Jobs Report?

October 6, 2021

I watch sports only occasionally, but in the past year or two, I have gotten increasingly into watching pro football—probably as a result of being bored at home during the pandemic and the drama around the turn of the Patriots dynasty. I have to admit, there are some terrific athletes out there. There’s Brady, of course, but many others as well. It has been great to come back to something I enjoyed as a kid.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update (on Tuesday): Personal Spending Beats Expectations in August

October 5, 2021

Last week saw a number of important economic updates, with a focus on durable goods orders, consumer and manufacturer confidence, and August personal income and spending. Durable goods orders and personal spending were highlights, as both increased by more than expected in August. This will be another busy week for updates, with news on international trade, service sector confidence, and September employment to come.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Market Thoughts for October 2021 [Video]

October 4, 2021

September was a bad month for the markets. In the U.S., all three major indices were down. Developed markets dropped, and emerging markets did worst of all. These declines resulted from the weakening of the economic data, driven by the spread of the Delta wave of the virus. Job growth was down, layoffs trended up, and consumer confidence dropped.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Looking Back at the Markets in Q3 and Ahead to Q4 2021

October 1, 2021

After a great start to the quarter in July and August, September was when the storms hit. Here in the U.S., markets pulled back significantly. The Dow declined by 4.2 percent for the month and 1.46 percent for the quarter. The S&P went down by even more for the month, at a 4.65 percent decline, although it gained 0.58 percent for the quarter. Finally, the Nasdaq trailed by even more, at a 5.27 percent monthly drop and a 0.23 percent loss for the quarter. Abroad, international markets were also hit, with developed markets down for both the month and quarter, at 2.9 percent and 0.45 percent, respectively. Emerging markets dropped 3.94 percent for the month and 7.97 percent for the quarter.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Subscribe via Email

Crash-Test Investing
New call-to-action

Hot Topics



New Call-to-action

Conversations

Archives

see all

Subscribe


Disclosure

The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.

The MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australia, Far East) Index is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.

One basis point (bp) is equal to 1/100th of 1 percent, or 0.01 percent.

Third-party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided on these websites. Information on such sites, including third-party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption by Commonwealth of any kind. You should consult with a financial advisor regarding your specific situation.

Member FINRASIPC

Please review our Terms of Use

Commonwealth Financial Network®