Dashboard

February 2019 Economic Dashboard

The bear market in US stocks that occurred in the fourth quarter of 2018 was triggered by a fear that the Federal Reserve would keep increasing interest rates to fight off incipient inflation pressures building in the US economy.  Given the incredible US jobs growth machine, spanning 100 straight months of gains and counting, better… Read More »

January 2019 Economic Dashboard

US stocks posted their best January performance in 30 years.  Following the worst December since 1931, investors can rightly breathe a sigh of relief.  Our December Dashboard outlined the havoc caused by Fed Chair Jay Powell’s ill-advised remarks in October regarding future interest rate policy, as well as poorly-received follow-up statements about overall monetary policy… Read More »

December 2018 Economic Dashboard

“We are a long way from neutral.”  This phrase, uttered by Fed Chair Jerome Powell in response to a reporter’s question in early October, knocked the legs out from under the US stock market and triggered a fourth quarter decline in stocks not seen since the Financial Crisis began in 2008.    Powell was referring to… Read More »

November 2018 Economic Dashboard

Rumors of a plateauing of oil output in Texas, New Mexico (which share the Permian Basin) and North Dakota have been exaggerated by a lack of pipelines to transport shale oil to refining depots.  The pipeline bottleneck should be eased by the end of 2019 when three new pipelines are completed that will link the… Read More »

October 2018 Economic Dashboard

After enjoying five consecutive months of gains, US stocks had a terrible month of October, dropping almost 8% from their highs reached early in the month. Third quarter GDP growth was a very strong 3.5%, buoyed by robust consumer spending.  Corporate earnings beat already-high expectations.  So why then did the market have a sudden change… Read More »

September 2018 Economic Dashboard

Wall Street loves an anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers failure was no exception.  We won’t go into the causes of the failure and subsequent Great Recession as they have been told and re-told many times.  One lesson of Lehman was that anything was possible in terms of financial calamity, so what… Read More »

August 2018 Economic Dashboard

Perhaps everyone can breathe a sigh of relief now. Almost seven months to the day, the S&P 500 finally hit a new all-time high on August 24th. After the index peaked on January 26th it quickly fell 10% and then muddled along for the next few months, but steady progress since April has finally resulted… Read More »

July 2018 Economic Dashboard

With the second half of the year officially underway the broad-based S&P 500 and much more concentrated Dow Jones Industrial indices are still chasing their all-time highs reached at the end of January (the technology-laden Nasdaq has already reached new highs). Following the November 2016 election the S&P 500 shot up 38% over the next… Read More »

June 2018 Economic Dashboard

After much optimism at the start of 2018 that the market would enjoy another strong year of gains (which in and of itself should be viewed as a contra-indicator of the eventual results), the markets have made little or no progress since January 1st. Historically, two major sources of market strength are increasing corporate profits… Read More »

May 2018 Economic Dashboard

Here in the Midwest it seems like Mother Nature forgot a season, sending summer in a few months early without warning. Perhaps it’s fitting given the temperature of the capital markets right now. Despite great news out of Corporate America (in part due to the tax cuts enacted last year), geopolitical tensions are heating up,… Read More »