Posts tagged Market Commentary
February 2013 Market Commentary

The Economy

The U.S.

Addressing the House and Senate in the final week of February, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reported mixed progress on the U.S. economy.  Bernanke noted that “we are gaining some traction” in residential housing, automobiles and other durable goods.  He also defended the Fed’s continued stimulative monetary policy, including near-zero short term interest rates and ongoing quantitative easing.  Due to a persistently weak job market and a lack of wage growth, the U.S. consumer’s health is in question.

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January 2013 Market Commentary

The Economy

The U.S.

The economy sputters along here in the U.S., though at times offering brief glimpses of hope.  Economic data were again mixed for the month, though the economy is generally heading in the right direction.  We have now settled into winter time here in Colorado, as January brought us cold weather and short days.  Like the ephemeral January sun that gives us just a hint of warmth and encouragement, so too do the latest economic reports give us some belief in better days ahead.  Poet John Updike describes the nature of this daylight in his poem, January:      

The days are short,

The sun a spark

Hung thin between

The dark and dark…

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October 2012 Market Commentary

The Economy

The U.S.

Though the U.S. economy remains stuck in a slow growth trajectory, there were signs of burgeoning optimism in October.  So far 2012 has been characterized by strong returns in the financial markets and weak economic growth for the country.  Bad news has so far outweighed good news.  For the month of October, economic data were actually more encouraging than expected, though mildly so. 

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September 2012 Market Commentary

The Economy: More of the Same

The U.S.

The U.S. economy continues along the path of too-slow growth. In September, we learned that Q2 GDP growth in the U.S. was revised downward to 1.3% from a previous estimate of 1.7%. While 1.7% growth was fairly abysmal to start with, the revision to 1.3% indicates a significant stalling of economic activity here at home. Though several one-time events (like the drought in the Midwest this summer) dragged down the data, Wall Street and Main Street alike cannot help but recognize that economic conditions are stagnant.  

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August 2012 Market Commentary

The Economy: Slow But Steady

The U.S.

Politics and government policy dominated the financial markets in August, pushing economic data and fundamentals to the background.  Economists and investors focused on three macro themes during the month: Fed policy and the potential for more quantitative easing, economic ramifications of the impending U.S. fiscal cliff and European action (or lack thereof) in the face of a continued fiscal crisis among the Eurozone periphery.

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November 2011 Market Commentary
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The Economy

The U.S.

Despite a slew of worrying headlines from Europe, the U.S. economy continues on a relatively positive upward trajectory. Economic data from November surprised to the upside, reflecting a modestly improving growth story for the U.S. While Europe and China face potential slowdowns in economic activity in the coming months, the U.S. trudges forward.

October 2011 Market Commentary

Just as the mood of world markets and the American consumer reached its gloomiest at the end of September, we had a surprisingly upbeat equity market in October. Reflecting this perceived misery, the October U.S. consumer confidence number registered 39.8, the lowest since March 2009. A series of reports indicating improved economic data helped to calm nerves and boost financial markets both domestically and abroad. An improving outlook for the U.S. couldn’t have come at a better time, since we’ve endured growing economic pessimism over the last six months.

Historically, October has been among the worst months for financial markets. The Great Depression started with the Great Crash of October 1929, "Black Monday" occurred in October 1987, and our latest financial crisis reached its peak of distress in October 2008. Thankfully, the news from October 2011 was far more encouraging.

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August 2011 Market Commentary

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 August was a month that most in the investment industry would like to forget. Weaker than expected economic data, Standard and Poor’s credit downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt and increasing nervousness regarding Europe’s financial health all contributed to a market correction not seen since the dark days of 2008. From peak to trough during the month, the S&P 500 fell 16.5%. In a massive flight to safety, 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds yielded 1.99% on August 18. We haven’t seen Treasury rates that low since the Eisenhower administration—a telling sign that investors are pessimistic about our country’s economic prospects.

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