With the pep rallies concluded, Democratic and Republican captains and their teams are charging onto the field to commence a battle for the White House unlike any other. The game plans couldn’t be more different on issues like immigration, regulations and taxes, but on trade there doesn’t seem to be any line of scrimmage at all. But on this one, Trump is on offense and Clinton, defense.
Practically speaking, the odds of Greece meeting its bailout obligations to the European Union and its credit demands of the IMF and other creditors by June 30th are close to nil. Odds are just as small that enough patience exists on the part of EU and IMF officials to continue the one-sided negotiations much longer. But what keeps faint hope alive for Greece and potentially the EU, is summed up best by Maltese Finance Minister Edward Scicluna who said “nobody wants to pull the plug.” But the rhetoric is increasingly moving toward just that. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has
Note: Our office and markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Day. Trends suggest direction, tendency, and strength of forces driving events or conditions we consider important enough to observe and track. As we embark on a new year, perhaps it would be useful to check in on some of the major trends impacting our lives and investments.
The opening salvos of the deficit war of 2013 have landed with only modest economic and political damage inflicted so far. Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden met under a white flag in the waning hours of 2012 to craft a brief truce to avoid tax hikes that would have crippled the economy. The vast majority of Americans, 99% of them, will keep their current tax rates, though all will see their payroll taxes rise by 2% after a two-year holiday. Unfortunately though, nothing was done to address the nation’s biggest threat – the deficit. The US government still borrows 36
The US economy likely slowed substantially in this current quarter under the weight of political uncertainty. The best clue comes from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who said, “Clearly the fiscal cliff is having effects on the economy,” he said, referring to the combination of expiring tax cuts and scheduled spending cuts set to begin early next month. “This is a major risk factor right now.”
It is now two and a half years since the Great Recession officially ended. The 18-month downturn was the longest and most severe since World War II according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit research group which officially calls the beginning and ends of recessions. But things are getting better you say. Why bring up the ugly past? Some economic data have indeed shown improvements, particularly of late. Manufacturing has been a steady stalwart of the recovery. Exports have been generally strong for months, while the much touted automobile industry has made a ‘remarkable’ turnaround domestically.
As the clock ticks with little more than a week to go before the August 2 deadline, Democrats and Republicans say they are no closer to a deal to raise the debt limit and cut spending. The latest out is that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner may be close to a deal. Even though details are sketchy, Democrats are critical of it because spending would be immediate and tax increases would come only later, if at all.
The US economy grew at 1.8% in the first quarter according to the Commerce Department’s second and unrevised estimate. Following their monthly meeting, the Federal Reserve said they still expected the economy to recover, but reduced their 2011 GDP growth estimates from 3.3% – 3.7% to 2.7% – 2.9%. They forecasted growth of 3.5% – 4.2% in 2013. Forward looking stock investors have taken the S&P 500 down 5.9% from its April 29th high, but the index remains up 3% for the year. Bonds on the other hand have done well as the economy slumps. The Barclay’s 7-10-year Treasury index
If you’ve invested long enough, it’s almost certain that you’ve been made to feel less than knowledgeable, either by your advisor (unwittingly, of course) or by ‘Mr. Market.’ People invest for as many reasons as there are people. Today’s Brief addresses the purpose of the vast majority of investors; that of saving to replace the paycheck. Some call it retirement, some call it freedom from salary, others refer to it as their second half, and still others call it doing what you really want to do, or were meant to do all along. Whatever you call it, it happens when
The US economy expanded in the third quarter, reversing a year-long contraction of 3.8% for the world’s largest economy. It was the worst economic performance in seven decades. As for duration, the four consecutive quarterly declines were the longest since quarterly records began in 1947. But in the third quarter, the economy came roaring back with a 3.5% gain, well ahead of the 3.2% median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg news.