It’s Not All Oil and Gas

In addition to this morning’s “noisy” and suddenly more tame CPI report, there is a broad-based decline in commodity prices that is more than a little bit outside of “usual” volatility. It should be noted at the start that commodity prices are not always direct reflections of economic activity or expectations for future activity, as .. read more

The Art & Science Of Investing

In last week’s update I mentioned that within our own shop we often have disagreements about the economy and markets. Based on my email flow, that seems to have surprised and possibly confused some people. So, I want to spend some time this week talking about investing more generally rather than concentrating on the week .. read more

Did The Fed Start All This Bond Bearishness?

The driving theme for credit markets for all of 2014 so far has been a rapid flattening in the treasury and funding curves that had not “wanted” to abate for any reason. Whether it was the short-lived infatuation with wage “inflation” or any of the contradictory and mushish assessments from any of the suits sitting .. read more

It Really Is Deflating

One more point on retail sales and consumer spending, as though the figures presented earlier are, I think, all pretty demonstrative of what is taking place in the economy, they can still be enhanced by taking account of additional factors. None of the data from retail sales or Gallup’s measures of economic advance are “deflated” .. read more

The Tangle of Wages and Spending

Case in point on corroborative evidence divorced from the government’s statistical adjustments, Gallup’s various surveys on the economy, focused almost exclusively on consumers, do not conform to the idea of strengthening resolve nor even more broad-based payroll expansion. The latest figures for July in the daily tracking of self-reported spending ticked up over June, but .. read more

Wallets Remain Closed

The disappointment from retail sales has been foretold by numerous other indications for months now. The idea that the economy would suddenly shoot higher after the “aberration” of the wintry first quarter was predicated almost exclusively on the mainstream interpretation of payrolls. For all that hope and optimism, it has never gone further than the .. read more

Consumer Credit Still Fails To Finish The Equation

For now, it seems as if the attempt to recreate 2005 is being born by revolving credit. There was, until the middle of last year, the holdover hope for the then-burgeoning mini-bubble in real estate, but events since the taper-driven bond selloff have conspired against that factor. While revolving credit might represent a restarted channel .. read more

A Long Look At Productivity And The Stark Reality of It

The BLS updated its figures for economic and labor productivity, including the revisions for the first quarter. As it stood prior, the calculation for productivity was among the worst of the past four decades. Given that GDP was already revised lower in the interim, that meant that productivity estimates were going be also sent further .. read more