The Markets When is a door not a door? The answer, of course, is: When it’s ajar. Investors and analysts were trying to find the answer to a different riddle last week: When are strong retail sales not strong retail sales? The answer is: When the retailers are department ...
May 17, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets Reading economic signals can be tricky. For example, do signs that economic growth is slowing – like last week’s employment report, which was anemic relative to consensus forecasts, and first quarter’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth – mean the economy is headed for trouble? Or, ...
May 9, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets “Which would you prefer to be: a medieval monarch or a modern office-worker?” If you immediately answered medieval monarch, take a moment to ponder life without “…modern dentistry, antibiotics, air travel, smartphones, and YouTube.” Last week, The Economist used this example to illustrate the challenges of ...
May 2, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets U.S. stock markets finished last week in heady territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,003. Its all-time closing high is 18,312. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was less than 1 percent below its intraday trading record, which was set last year. Despite strong ...
April 25, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets Isn’t it remarkable that China’s growth is so consistent? A columnist from The Washington Post once opined that China “produces an astonishing number of astonishing numbers.” Last week’s GDP announcement, which helped push markets higher, may fall into that category. China’s official statistics agency reported the ...
April 19, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets We all learned a thing or two about Panama last week. The country is not the home of the Panama hat, which is made in Ecuador. However, it is the only place in the world where you can watch the sun rise on the Pacific ...
April 11, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets It’s like déjà vu all over again! This wasn’t the first quarter, or even the first year, that bond markets have not performed in the way Wall Street strategists have expected. During 2014, bond yields were expected to rise. They did not. During 2015, bonds were predicted to ...
April 4, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets Are corporations in the United States struggling? In its cover article last week, The Economist (a British publication), suggested there is not enough competition among American companies. It pointed out: “Aggregate domestic profits are at near-record levels relative to GDP… High profits might be a sign of ...
March 29, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets There is ongoing debate about whether markets behave in rational ways. The efficient market hypothesis suggests the stock market does a good job of setting share prices which reflect all relevant information. In other words, stocks generally trade at fair value. The Economist reported there are ...
March 21, 2016Fredrick Livingston
The Markets Stim-u-late mar-kets! Come on! It’s monetary easing.* The European Central Bank (ECB) was singing a tune that invigorated financial markets last week. The Wall Street Journal explained: “The fresh measures included cuts to all three of the ECB’s main interest rates, €20 billion a ...
March 14, 2016Fredrick Livingston