The Independent Market Observer

Economic Release Snapshot: Economy Rebounds in the Third Quarter

October 31, 2022

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

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How Did ESG Investing Become an Ideological Hot Button?

October 28, 2022

As fiduciaries, advisors are tasked with putting client interests ahead of their own. They have a duty to preserve good faith and trust. From an investment perspective, that includes considering all materially relevant information to mitigate risk and improve returns through prudent investment management. But from an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing perspective? It’s where the rift between proponents and opponents of this investing strategy begins.

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Inflation: Shocks Vs. Trends

October 27, 2022

This will be the second blog post that's come out of my efforts to try to finish my talk for Commonwealth’s National conference. If you remember, in the previous post, the question was whether we were headed back to the 1970s, with all that implies (inflation, stagflation, high unemployment, disco), or back to the 1950s (which, for all its faults, did not have disco).

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Inflation: It’s Not an Isolated Problem

October 25, 2022

I am working on my presentation for Commonwealth’s National conference in a couple of weeks (yes, I am late), but I have to admit I am having some trouble telling the story. Over the past several years, I have taken whatever the hot topic of the day was—whether it was globalization, low interest rates, or the pandemic—and tried to put it in a larger context. In other words, to take something fairly isolated as a problem and tie it to everything else as a means of understanding what was likely to happen over the next five years or so. Looking back, I did a pretty good job.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Housing Sector Cools in September

October 24, 2022

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

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Remote Work and Its Effect on the Traditional Office

October 21, 2022

In the face of a public health crisis, the decision to send remote-capable workers home from the office seemed an obvious one. But as vaccines became widely available and the rate of Covid-19 infection started to decline, harder questions arose. When and how do employees return to the office? To be sure, defining the post-pandemic “new normal” has been tricky. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, clear trends are emerging—which will have definite implications for the use of office property.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: October 2022 [SlideShare]

October 19, 2022

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

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Changing Trends Create Cloudy Market Forecast

October 18, 2022

At this point in the year, I really spend some time thinking about what the future holds for the markets and economy. Yes, of course, that is my full-time job. But for most of the year, “the future” consists of the next month or so, the next quarter at most. People need to understand what is happening now and what that means for the next couple of weeks. So, that is what I focus on most of the time. You can see that in this blog and in my monthly market and economic risk updates and videos. What commands the most attention is the now.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Inflation Remains High in September

October 17, 2022

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

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Inflation Data Hotter Than Expected

October 14, 2022

Yesterday’s CPI report came in hotter than expected. There had been a general sense that inflation was peaking and that, while it remained high, we were starting to see signs of a sustained downtrend. But the latest report showed that the end of the tunnel is still too far away to see any real light.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: October 2022 [SlideShare]

October 12, 2022

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

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What Will Q3 2022 Earnings Look Like?

October 11, 2022

When you look at expectations for corporate earnings for the third quarter, you get a bunch of mixed messages. On one hand, the economy is (supposedly) sinking fast, hit by rate hikes and inflation. More, companies are struggling with the labor shortage, with wages rising sharply and, in many cases, labor simply not available. Between a slower economy and a labor shortage—not to mention the problems created by the strong dollar—you would expect earnings to take a sharp hit. Indeed, we have seen a number of downward revisions to analyst expectations. On the other hand, despite the lower expectations, earnings are in fact still expected to grow, which doesn’t seem consistent with the narrative at the economic level. What’s going on?

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Economic Release Snapshot: Unemployment Falls in September

October 10, 2022

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

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Looking Back at the Markets in Q3 and Ahead to Q4 2022

October 7, 2022

An already weak third quarter was capped by a sharp September drop in markets. The S&P 500 lost 9.21 percent for the month and 4.88 percent for the quarter; the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 8.76 percent for the month and 6.17 percent for the quarter; and the Nasdaq Composite fell 10.44 percent for the month and 3.91 percent for the quarter. Markets resumed their downward trend in August and September after a bounce early in the quarter. Internationally, we saw the same behavior, with both developed and emerging markets down sharply in September and for the quarter. So, let’s take a look back at what drove these declines and then evaluate what it means going forward.

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Is the Labor Market Weakening? A Jobs Report Preview

October 6, 2022

The latest jobs market headlines have been discouraging. One notable fact is that the number of jobs available declined by the largest amount on record, by almost 1 million, in one month. That generated a lot of hand-wringing. Another sign of potential weakness was the recent ADP employment report, which came in yesterday at 208,000, below the recent official number. So, is the job market really getting that weak?

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Market Thoughts for October 2022 [Video]

October 4, 2022

September was a bad month for markets, which were down between 8 percent and 12 percent for the month both here and abroad. The decline was driven by interest rates, which rose sharply. Despite the market pullback, there was some positive data for the last quarter. Job growth was down but remained strong by historical standards, and both major measures of consumer confidence rose.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Personal Spending Rebounds in August

October 3, 2022

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

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