201708.20
4
2

Questions

Why are profit margins persistently high? With decent earnings this quarter, corporate profits as a % of GDP will approach (maybe exceed) 10% again. That is abnormally high compared to the period 1960 to 2000.  Margins actually started to rise in the mid-80s but really accelerated after 2000 and outside of the 2008 crisis have remained…

201708.18
2
1

Global Asset Allocation Update: No Upside To Credit

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between risk assets and bonds is unchanged at 50/50. There are other changes to the portfolio though so please read on. As I write this the stock market is in the process of taking a dive (well if…

201708.14
0
1

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Ignore The Idiot

Of the economic releases of the past two weeks the one that got the most attention was the employment report. That report is seen by many market analysts as one of the most important and of course the Fed puts a lot of emphasis on it so the press spends an inordinate amount of time…

201708.08
9
2

As Good As It Gets?

By Jeffrey Snider & Joseph Calhoun Late 2014/early 2015 will perhaps be the closest to a real recovery from the Great “Recession” we shall see in this cycle.  Q1 2015 marked the peak year over year growth rate of GDP in this recovery at 3.76%. That rate compares quite unfavorably with even the feeble post…

201708.04
Off
0

Questions

Why do the teachers unions oppose school choice? School choice and vouchers should be a positive change for teachers. They would have more choices of where to work and how to teach. They’d have more opportunities to experiment with different teaching methods. They could explore different compensation methods, potentially making more than they do now. Are…

201707.31
4
1

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Extending The Cycle

This economic cycle is one of the longest on record for the US, eight years and counting since the end of the last recession. It has also been, as almost everyone knows, a fairly weak expansion, one that has managed to disappoint both bull and bear. Growth has oscillated around a 2% rate for most…

201707.18 4

Questions

Why is inflation ex-food and energy considered core? Isn’t food and gas about as core as it gets for most people? Why do economists think it is important to stabilize the price of luxuries but not the price of needs? As a society shouldn’t we prefer a monetary policy that stabilizes food, energy and shelter…

201707.17
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0

Global Asset Allocation Update: Not Yet

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between risk assets and bonds is unchanged at 50/50. There are no changes to the portfolio this month. Growth and inflation expectations rose somewhat since last month’s update. The change is minor though and within the range of…

201707.16 0

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Attention Shoppers

The majority of the economic reports over the last two weeks have been disappointing, less than the consensus expectations. The minor rebound in activity we’ve been tracking since last summer appears to have stalled. Retail sales continue to disappoint and inventory/sales ratios are once again rising – from already elevated levels. Even the positive reports…

201707.03 5

Questions

We often have discussions in the office that consist primarily of asking questions. Sometimes they are questions we don’t think people are asking enough, sometimes questions we are sick of hearing and most often questions which we can’t answer. Not questions that only we can’t answer but rather ones that no one can answer based…