Economy and Trends

What We Learned From the December Employment Report

When the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released the December employment report last Friday, the main focus of most people was on the fact that the number of jobs added in December was below the consensus estimate. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 145,000 and the estimate was for 266,000 jobs to be added. The initial reaction from the market was a ...

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Experts: Emerging Markets will Outpace Developed Markets in 2020

Watching and listening to the various investment analysts, traders, and portfolio managers that have appeared on Bloomberg Television over the last week or so, there is a common theme in their outlooks for 2020. Many of these experts have expressed their opinion that they see emerging markets outpacing developed markets in the coming year. Because I haven’t been keeping a ...

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Oil and Gold Outlooks for 2020

Heading into 2019, I was rather bullish on oil and gold. I had been bullish on gold for several months as the precious metal was oversold in the third quarter of 2018 and the sentiment was the most pessimistic it had been since 2001. As for oil, it dropped sharply in the fourth quarter of last year. It was oversold ...

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Active vs Passive Investment Management

Some people have referred to the year 2019 as the “Everything Rally” for the investment world and the description is accurate. Pretty much every asset class you can think of has beaten its historical return this year. Domestic stocks and international stocks, large-cap stocks and small cap stocks—they have all beaten their historical returns in 2019. Commodities as a whole ...

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Small Businesses Benefit from Fed’s Low Rates

I would imagine that there are many small businesses across America that have never heard of the Federal Reserve Board (the “Fed”), and most, one would assume, have no idea of what they do, especially for the small business community. Borrowing money for your company comes at a cost, and that cost is interest, and the lower the interest rate ...

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The 2019 Trump Boom Made for Difficult Forecasting

With only a few weeks left in the year, the S&P 500 is sitting on a gain of 25.1% for the year, through December 9 that is. If the gain were to remain where it is, 2019 would end up as the third best year of the 21st Century with only 2013 and 2003 providing higher returns. The index gained ...

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Third Quarter Recap: Earnings Will Warm Your Heart

At this point, we are pretty much finished with the third quarter earnings season and for the most part, it was a good quarter for earnings. According to the LipperAlpha Earnings Dashboard, 490 of the S&P 500 constituents have reported earnings through December 4. That means 98% of the results are in. Expectations for the quarter were somewhat tempered with ...

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Danger Signs on the Economy

Last Thursday the October reading for the Leading Economic Index (LEI) was released and it showed a decline of 0.1% for the month. Such a small decline doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was the third straight monthly decline for the indicator and the September reading was adjusted downward from -0.1% to -0.2%. The cumulative decline over the ...

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Retail Sector Withers Under the Spotlight

Last week I wrote an article about the retail sector and how it was going to be in the spotlight for a week or so. There was the retail sales report for October that was due out on November 15 and there were a number of big retailers set to release earnings. With the U.S. consumer carrying the economy on ...

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