201702.21
0
0

Discounting, Or Never Learning?

The hedge fund industry is not quite dead yet, meaning that it can still cause a great deal of disruption before it expires. It is here where things like rehypothecation and the bastardization of prime brokerage functions were perfected, such that we might use that term in this manner. Despite so much outward attention paid…

201702.21
0
0

The Stinking Politics of It All

It is largely irrelevant, but still the political theater is fascinating. As is now standard operating procedure, whatever comes out of the Trump administration immediately is conferred as the standard for awful. This is not my own determination, mind you, but that of the mainstream, whatever that is these days. And so it is with…

201702.21
0
0

The Market Is Not The Economy, But Earnings Are (Closer)

My colleague Joe Calhoun likes to remind me that markets and fundamentals only sound like they should be related, an observation that is a correct one on so many different levels. Stock prices, in general, and GDP growth may seem to warrant some kind of expected correlation, but it has proven quite tenuous at times…

201702.17
2
0

Why Aren’t Oil Prices $50 Ahead?

Right now there are two conventional propositions behind the “reflation” trade, and in many ways both are highly related if not fully intertwined. The first is that interest rates have nowhere to go but up. The Fed is raising rates again and seems more confident in doing more this year than it wanted to last…

201702.17
2
2

Their Gap Is Closed, Ours Still Needs To Be

There are actually two parts to examining the orthodox treatment of the output gap. The first is the review, looking backward to trace how we got to this state. The second is looking forward trying to figure what it means to be here. One final rearward assessment is required so as to frame how we…

201702.16
0
2

Transitory Again

The Consumer Price Index for January 2017 rose 2.5%, pulled upward by its energy component which thanks to oil prices now being comparing to the absolutely lows last year saw that part of the index rise 11.1% year-over-year. Given that oil prices bottomed out on February 11, 2016, this is the last month where oil…

201702.16
1
0

Changes In TIC

If there has been a lot different about the past few months, it was reflected in the TIC figures and then some. What is usually pretty easy to decipher, there were instead all sorts of shifts across the most important categories. For one, the foreign official sector was busy in December buying up UST’s and…

201702.15
1
2

Real Wages Really Inconsistent

Real average weekly earnings for the private sector fell 0.6% year-over-year in January. It was the first contraction since December 2013 and the sharpest since October 2012. The reason for it is very simple; nominal wages remain stubbornly stagnant but now a rising CPI subtracts even more from them. Consumers receive no significant boost to…

201702.15
0
1

No Acceleration In Industry, Either

Industrial Production in the United States was flat in January 2017, following in December the first positive growth rate in over a year. The monthly estimates for IP are often subject to greater revisions than in other data series, so the figures for the latest month might change in the months ahead. Still, even with…

201702.15
1
1

Even When It’s Different It’s Really Not

Retail sales grew by 4.92% year-over-year in January 2017, the third consecutive month of gains around 5%. It was the first time for three months near that level since 2014. Given the behavior of the economy in the second half of last year it is almost eerie the similarity in behavior to the 2013-14 period….