The Independent Market Observer

Did the Fed Do a U-Turn?

June 17, 2021

Yesterday, the Fed concluded its regular meeting and came out with the following shocking news: it might start to raise rates in the next two and a half years, instead of the next three years. Markets dropped, interest rates rose, and headlines highlighted the shift in Fed thinking. What’s behind this apparent change in plans? Let’s start by taking a look at what didn’t happen.

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The Dollar (Still) Isn’t Collapsing

June 16, 2021

The strength (or lack thereof) of the dollar is a perennial topic here on the blog. Looking at the past several years, I see “U.S. Dollar Still Failing to Collapse” (November 2015), “Should You Be Worried About the Strong Dollar?” (December 2016), and, after a bit of a hiatus, “The Dollar Is Not Collapsing” (July 2020). There are many other versions, of course. (Notably, I did a whole series on money and the dollar back in 2013.) But the message has consistently been this: exchange rates bounce up and down, but there is no reason to worry.

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Will the Fed Sit Tight—or Tighten Policy?

June 15, 2021

The regular meeting of the Fed starts today. Tomorrow, the Fed will issue a press release, describing any actions it decides to take, and hold a press conference where the chair, Jerome Powell, will take questions.

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Putting 1-Year Stats in Perspective

June 10, 2021

Much of the commentary on recent issues—especially inflation—has focused on terrible reported numbers. As always, though, it is helpful to remember there is nothing sacred about those numbers. They have assumptions and biases built in, which are unavoidable. As analysts, we need to understand those assumptions and biases, so we can see when they are reasonable (and when they are not).

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Is the Post-COVID Sun Beginning to Rise?

June 4, 2021

Last week, I went back into the office after what felt like an eternity. I must admit, I had never realized how much I would miss the hallway greetings, the coffee machine chitchat, and the ladies’ room gossip! My kids are back in school full-time and took the MCAS (the state assessment for Massachusetts public students) last week. Fenway Park returned to full capacity, and vaccinated fans were allowed to go without masks for the Red Sox game on May 29. It is finally beginning to feel like life is returning to normal, to what it should have been if the past 14 months had not occurred. Elsewhere in the world, progress has not been as even, but there is reason to believe that glimmers of light are beginning to appear everywhere.

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Looking Back at the Markets in May and Ahead to June 2021

June 3, 2021

May was another good month, albeit one with some ups and downs. On the upside, the pandemic entered its endgame and corporate earnings blew away expectations. On the downside, the significant problems of success attending our move back to normal started to become apparent. Overall, May took us further along the road to normal, but it also began to reveal the bumps on that road.

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Positive Medical and Economic Trends Continue in May

May 28, 2021

Given how much things have improved on the medical front, I will now be doing two pandemic updates a month. The video update will appear on the second Friday of the month, while this written update will appear on the last Friday of the month. Have a great holiday weekend!

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