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Observations

Our take on recent noteworthy items

History and Resilience

With the political pot boiling hot and calls for impeachment in the air, we thought some investment perspective would be helpful.

According to the research firm Bespoke, the S&P 500 fell nearly 50% between the week prior to the sentencing of the first five Watergate burglars in January 1973 and the month after the resignation …

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Framing the 2016 stock market . . . two months in

February 2016

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The start to 2016 has been frustrating for investors to say the least. Even though we’re only two months into the year, stocks have been under selling pressure over much of this time. Similar to the sharp selloff that occurred from mid-August to early November last year, investors' concerns have been mainly focused on markets and economies...

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December 2015 ISM

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While the doom and gloom crowd are out in full force with the turn of the calendar, don’t fear the reaper for the domestic economic expansion quite yet. December’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was again below the level (50) which is consistent with manufacturing activity detracting from overall economic growth. But a domestic recession is not likely in the cards anytime soon...

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October 2015 ISM

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Manufacturing conditions stabilized last month as the sharp fall in commodity prices continues to work its way through the economy. Inventory levels remain mixed with some reported as a bit “too high” and others as “too low”. Most importantly, however, the leading indicator within the Purchasing Managers’ Report (PMI)—New Orders—is providing readings that strongly suggest any remaining inventory overhangs should be worked off in short order.

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September 2015 ISM

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Today’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) release contained few surprises. It simply confirms the primary U.S. economic trends that have been in place for some time: the economic expansion continues, and its pace remains slow (+2% real GDP growth) relative to past expansions and the economy’s likely underlying potential. The best leading indicator within the report (new orders) has certainly cooled from higher levels a few months ago, but signals the continuation of the expansion.

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May 2015 ISM

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Signal or noise? That’s always a question to ask when reviewing economic data points. It is becoming more widely recognized that the government’s first quarter GDP estimates are providing lots of noise and less meaningful signals about the pace of the economic expansion...

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April 2015 ISM

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The May 1st release by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) on April manufacturing conditions “fits” with the following big-picture investing backdrop: the economic expansion continues to grind forward at its slow trend (2-3% real, 3-4% nominal), accumulated excesses in the form of debt, inventory gluts or rapid inflation are largely absent...

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