Category Archives: Economic Analysis

FOMC Minutes: Appearances are everything

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released the minutes from its October 28–29 meeting, when the Federal Reserve (Fed) wrapped up QE3. At the meeting, the Fed also acknowledged that the labor markets had made enough progress that there was … Continue reading

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Japan: Fallen and it can’t get up?

Second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Japan was, almost by design, negative. That’s what happens when you dramatically increase a broad-based tax (the value-added tax, or VAT). Policymakers thought that the decline in growth would be temporary, changing direction … Continue reading

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Retail sales: Spending keeps chugging along

Retail and food service sales rose 0.3% from September to October. Compared with October 2013, sales increased 4.1%. After dropping more than 1.0% in September, automobile sales bounced back a bit in October. Gasoline station sales dropped 1.5% for the … Continue reading

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Where do you go for total return?

Today’s post is a joint collaboration between John Manley, CFA, and Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, CFP®. From a basic perspective, financials should have been beneficiaries of Federal Reserve (Fed) largesse and an improving economy. That’s been the case since the … Continue reading

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Employment situation: Eat, drink, and be merry?

Nonfarm payrolls expanded by 214,000 in October, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8%. The biggest gains were in food services and drinking places, retail trade, and health care. August and September’s numbers were revised up a total of 31,000. … Continue reading

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Elections: Imagined, or real, patterns?

Update 11-5-14: Things look to be playing out as expected: a change of control in the Senate and a pickup of seats by Republicans in the House. There aren’t too many surprises here, and I don’t think markets will react … Continue reading

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Bank of Japan gives out some surprise candy

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has given out some pretty good candy for Halloween. It’s long been known in the economics profession that surprises are what matter most when it comes to policy actions. If everyone expects something to happen, … Continue reading

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GDP surprises to the upside with little fanfare

Real (that is, inflation adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) advanced at a better-than-expected 3.5% annualized rate in the third quarter, according to the advance estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s a slower pace than the second quarter, when … Continue reading

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QE3, RIP?

As the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has been telling the world for a while, the large-scale asset-purchase program known as QE3 (quantitative easing, part 3) is being wrapped up. Economic conditions have improved sufficiently, and the outlook is better, … Continue reading

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Durable goods point to near-term weakness and a supportive Fed

New orders for durable goods dropped 1.3% in September. Excluding the volatile transportation component, new orders fell 0.2%. Even nondefense capital goods excluding aircrafts orders—a type of core measure of business demand for new equipment—were down 5.4%. The best thing … Continue reading

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