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 »

April 2018 Economic Dashboard

Consumers have long been sensitive to changes in prices they pay for everyday goods and services. The double-digit inflation of the 1970s and early 1980s has long given way to the more predictable 2% annual gains we have experienced for the past 25 years. The severe recession that followed the Financial Crisis of 2008 actually… Read More »

March 2018 Economic Dashboard

The first quarter of 2018 started off with a bang as stock market indexes climbed over 6% by January 26, one of the better starts to a new year.  After a placid 2017, meaning little or no volatility, investors were spooked by the January labor report that suggested wage inflation was accelerating and the Federal… Read More »

February 2018 Economic Dashboard

So much for another quiet year. Throughout all of 2017 the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indices never declined more than 3% from their latest highs on their way to full-year total returns in excess of 20%. The momentum continued into January as it seemed like we were on our way to another great year…. Read More »

January 2018 Economic Dashboard

(click image to enlarge) As if last year’s stellar performance wasn’t enough, the momentum has continued right along into 2018. The S&P 500 returned 5.62% in January, the best start to a year in nearly three decades. Historically a strong start to the year bodes well for the rest of the year, but there are… Read More »

December 2017 Economic Dashboard

(click image to enlarge) Happy New Year!  2017 turned out to be one of the best years for stocks since the bull market began in March of 2009.  Market advances were broad-based, as small, mid-size and large company indexes all reached new all-time highs, as did many international markets.  Even long-time laggard Japan reached new… Read More »

November 2017 Economic Dashboard

(click image to enlarge) There’s an old stock market indicator that suggests that the direction of fund flows—money going into and out of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)—is a contrarian predictor of future stock market returns. In other words, individual investors are really bad at timing and typically buy when they should be selling… Read More »

October 2017 Economic Dashboard

(click image to enlarge) With the stock indices setting new records on what seems like a daily basis many investors find themselves wondering if this is just the calm before the next storm. It can be hard to commit to the market when many pundits are predicting the next bear market is just right around… Read More »

September 2017 Economic Dashboard

(click  image to enlarge) The daily drumbeat of warnings that a bear market or crash is imminent, and one calamity or another awaits investors, reminds us to heed Samuel Clemens’s advice about herd mentality: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Investor sentiment (also known as… Read More »