Enjoying a Quiet Day at the Beginning of Summer

June 25, 2019

I spent this morning the way I usually do, reading the newspapers, looking at the economic reports, and scanning the futures markets. Also as usual, I found things to worry about: Consumer confidence, still high by historical standards, dropped more than expected in June, falling to its lowest level in almost two years. New home sales also missed expectations, declining for the second month in a row instead of climbing. The markets are down a bit as I write this . . . So far, so normal.

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Market Melt-Up? Maybe So

June 21, 2019

So much for sell in May and go away. The S&P 500 has hit another all-time high and is on track for the best June in more than 60 years (since 1955). New public offerings have exploded, with Beyond Meat and Slack the most recent wunderkinder. Companies are racing to go to the market. They know that with valuations at all-time highs and the risks rising, now is the time to sell at the best price they will likely get.

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The Fed to the Rescue?

June 20, 2019

The market has concluded that the Fed’s decision to keep rates steady, along with the accompanying statement from yesterday's meeting, is unreservedly dovish. The expectation is for two more rate cuts this year, starting in July. Markets are, unsurprisingly, cheering. Lower rates are good for economic growth and for stocks. In fact, that reasoning would explain why the Fed would cut. If the Fed does cut, it will be stimulative and should help sustain the expansion—as intended.

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Will the Fed Sit Tight on Interest Rates?

June 19, 2019

Today’s post will be a brief one as I am on the road. Besides, we don’t yet know how the main event of the day—the Fed meeting—will turn out. Will the Fed cut rates? Drop a strong hint that a rate cut is coming? Or just sit tight? And what will the White House do?

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Headline Risk Works Both Ways

June 18, 2019

Weeks of worry—about trade, growth, and Europe—knocked markets down. But today we have the reversal. Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB), has once again come out in favor of looser monetary policy and lower rates, which cheered markets globally. And this morning, President Trump tweeted that he would be meeting with China’s leader, which further cheered markets. As I write this, the S&P 500 is up by 1 percent and well over 2,900. This level takes us to within 1 percent of a new all-time high.

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The Inverted Yield Curve, the Fed, and Recession

June 13, 2019

One of the most reliable signals of a pending recession is when, in the jargon, the yield curve inverts. This sounds like a fancy phrase, but it simply means that investors demand to be paid more for a short-term loan than for a long-term one.

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Quick Takes: The Economy, the Fed, and More

June 12, 2019

This has been a busy week of catching up after attending another round of excellent Commonwealth conferences. So, today I have just a few quick takes on some wide-ranging topics.

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