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Yearly Archives: 2015

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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Ant-Man and the Search for the Lost Keys

Third Quarter 2015

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Superman, Batman, the Avengers, and most recently, Ant-Man. If Hollywood movies are any indication, the viewing public is infatuated with the notion of superheroes. The storyline of heroes overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to save the world just never gets old apparently. Where-oh-where are the economic superheroes when we need them?

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Searchers and the Heartbeat

Second Quarter 2015

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It’s the dose that makes the poison. This old saying reminds us that small doses of harmful things may not be poisonous, while excessive quantities of even essential things like water and oxygen may prove toxic. Although this adage may have its roots in medicine and toxicology, its message resonates in today’s investment world. Will a dose of Fed interest rate hikes prove toxic to the U.S. economic expansion? Will higher rates kill the bull market in stocks? Will Greece’s debt woes poison the world financial system and economy? The answers, we believe, require some perspective about ‘dosages’ surrounding these and related issues...

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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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From Ultra to Extremely?

First Quarter 2015

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What’s likely to happen with geopolitical events? We wish a good fortune teller was available. One can be pretty certain, however, that they will continue to cause investment angst and periodically roil the markets. Given their unpredictable nature, investors can cope through appropriate bond/stock allocations and by remaining vigilant. When it comes to the prevailing economic crosscurrents highlighted earlier, we believe we have much more perspective to offer...

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