The Independent Market Observer

Jobs Report Preview: Will We Get a Miss?

November 30, 2022

It’s time for the monthly jobs report preview, which is worth doing for a few reasons. First, it lets us consider the most important driver of the economy both for history and for the immediate data. Second, it makes us think about our expectations. And third, of course, it will be in the headlines.

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Thanksgiving Food for Thought: The Parable of the Turkey

November 23, 2022

Once upon a time, a turkey hatched in the dead of winter. He lived in a nice warm coop, had plentiful corn and seeds to eat, and spent much of his poult-hood playing with all of the other little turkeys.

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Inflation Has Peaked

November 18, 2022

To be honest, I probably would not have used that headline a couple of weeks ago. Although I spent about a month putting together my talk for Commonwealth’s National Conference, which pretty much comes to that conclusion, I was not yet at a point where I would put that as the headline. Even as I rehearsed the night before, I was thinking about how I would handle the talk if the next morning’s data release—just hours before the talk itself—put inflation back up again. I couldn’t rewrite my presentation, as there wasn’t enough time (and besides, the art department was already upset with me).

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Softer Inflation Numbers a Win for Economy

November 10, 2022

This will be another short post as I am giving a talk this morning on . . . wait for it . . . inflation! The whole thesis of the talk is that inflation is going to roll over shortly, for a bunch of reasons that I will describe in future posts. Or so I hope, anyway.

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Midterm Elections No Longer a Worry for Markets

November 9, 2022

This will be a short post, partially because I am in San Diego at Commonwealth’s National Conference, but mostly because there isn’t much to say about the midterms that I did not already cover the other day.

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Looking Back at the Markets in October and Ahead to November 2022

November 8, 2022

October showed a sharp rebound after a significant September drop. The S&P 500 gained 8.1 percent during the month, while the Nasdaq rose 3.94 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) experienced the best month of the three major indices, soaring 14.07 percent. Internationally, the news was mixed, with developed markets up 5.38 percent while emerging markets were down 3.09 percent. It was a surprisingly good result, especially after a terrible September.

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Two Cheers for the October Jobs Report

November 4, 2022

As I have been saying for some time, the best indicator for the economy as a whole is the jobs market. With consumer spending representing more than two-thirds of the economy, as long as people are working, they can spend. And the jobs numbers tell us whether they are working.

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Will Midterm Madness Affect the Markets?

November 3, 2022

One of the questions I have been getting recently is about the effect of the midterm elections on markets. This is normal. In fact, given the level of partisan rancor—and the number of ads I’ve been seeing on TV—it is surprising that there isn’t more concern around the elections. But with voting just a couple of days away, let’s consider what the elections could mean for our investments.

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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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