Category Archives: Economic Analysis

Retail sales: Good news isn’t bad news for the markets

Retail sales advanced 0.9% in March, bouncing back a bit from the winter doldrums. For the first quarter of 2015, retail sales rose 2.1% compared with 2014. This is a meager pace of growth. Across the board, sales advanced decently, … Continue reading

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China to weaken its currency?

China’s exports fell 14.6% year over year in March. This doesn’t bode well for Wednesday’s release of China’s first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers. Exports are approximately 26% of China’s GDP, though that is down from nearly 40% of GDP … Continue reading

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FOMC minutes: Marching closer to liftoff

The minutes from the March 17–18 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting showed a divided Federal Reserve (Fed). It seemed nearly unanimous that the labor market was doing well, but there was a lot of disagreement about the outlook for … Continue reading

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Yellen: Fed’s here to help—not hurt—the economy

Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen delivered a speech at a research conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The title of Chair Yellen’s speech was, “Normalizing Monetary Policy: Prospects and Perspectives.” She didn’t bury the lede … Continue reading

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Markets: Why so gloomy about durable goods?

Yesterday’s February durable-goods report jarred investors back to reality. The rapid growth of the U.S. economy in the second half of 2014 was likely a bounce-back from a miserable winter in the first quarter of 2014. The decline in new … Continue reading

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Industrial production signals oil is near bottom?

Industrial production increased 0.1% in February. Manufacturing output fell 0.2%, which marks the third month in a row of declines, and was mainly driven by falling output of motor vehicles and parts. Production of light trucks had the biggest decline, … Continue reading

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February jobs report vindicates the Fed

Nonfarm payrolls increased a better-than-expected 295,000 in February, while the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%. The only notable industry with a decline in payrolls was mining, which includes the oil industry. Wages didn’t advance much, increasing only 2% year over … Continue reading

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Yellen’s testimony hints at rate-hike timing

Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen delivered the semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Senate today (she’ll deliver it to the House tomorrow). When she delivered the report on February 27, 2014, it set off a sell-off in small-cap stocks, … Continue reading

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ECB Minutes: More minutia than minutes

For the first time in its history, the European Central Bank (ECB) released the minutes of its policy meeting. This was good timing as the minutes were from one of the most important ECB meetings, the one where it announced … Continue reading

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Greece keeps playing bailout games

On Monday, talks between Greek officials and the Eurogroup (a group of finance ministers throughout the eurozone) broke down quickly. It seems as though the Greek finance minister was irked about the wording of a preliminary statement that extended Greece’s … Continue reading

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