The Independent Market Observer

What Mattered This Week? Fed Minutes, Consumer Sentiment

November 24, 2023

Here's a quick update for this holiday-shortened week! From my perspective, two things mattered this week:

  1. The release of the FOMC meeting minutes
  2. The latest consumer sentiment reading
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Thanksgiving Food for Thought: The Parable of the Turkey

November 22, 2023

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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Q3 2023 Earnings: A Little Taste of Everything This Thanksgiving

November 21, 2023

Everyone has their Thanksgiving favorites, whether that’s the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, or the gravy. For me, it’s the pie—blueberry with my mom’s homemade whipped cream.

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What Mattered This Week? Progress on Inflation, Markets Bounce

November 17, 2023

This was a week of good news pretty much across the board, which doesn't happen all that often. Congress managed to kick the can down the road again on spending, avoiding a governmental shutdown. Inflation was down across the board. And with both those risks subsiding, interest rates dropped—pushing markets higher. We continue to close in on a soft landing for the economy, and markets keep reacting to that.

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The Federal Deficit and Debt: A Painful Problem to Solve

November 16, 2023

Today, I want to discuss a topic that has somewhat fallen off the radar: the federal deficit and debt burden. It has been off the radar screen for a decade, since the last debt panic. The reason for that is that the panic led to real reforms that largely solved the problem. That episode—the fiscal cliff and the sequester—has a lot to tell us about today’s situation. Let's take a closer look.

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What Mattered This Week? Economy and Markets Remain Resilient

November 10, 2023

It’s been a quiet week, so this will be a short post. You’re welcome.

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What Would Happen if the Fed Issued a Digital Dollar?

November 9, 2023

It’s time to go to the mailbox again for questions about a central bank digital currency—a digital dollar issued by the Fed here in the U.S. This is a bit of an obscure topic, but it seems to be getting traction as something to worry about. So, let’s take a closer look.

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Looking Back at the Markets in October and Ahead to November 2023

November 7, 2023

Stock markets dropped for the third consecutive month in October, with financial markets getting hit by higher interest rates across the board. The U.S. indices were down in the low-single digits for the month, which left the Dow and the S&P 500 below their long-term trend lines. International markets also pulled back by roughly the same amount. Even fixed income was down. Financial markets were clearly in a risk-off mode.

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What Mattered This Week? Economy Slows, Markets Cheer

November 3, 2023

This was the week that the economy showed real signs of slowing down—and markets cheered! All right, it wasn’t quite that simple. But that captures pretty much what happened, so let’s look at the details.

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Digesting the Fed

November 2, 2023

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met this week and voted unanimously to hold rates steady for the second consecutive meeting. This leaves its policy range at 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent. After a historic run where the committee increased that range by 5.25 percent over the course of 11 meetings, no change can certainly feel like a change. So, what are the driving forces behind the continued pause? Let’s look at some of the details the FOMC is keeping its eyes on, as well as what we should be paying attention to moving forward.

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