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Current Commentary

Epidemics and Stock Market Performance Since 1980 Thumbnail

Epidemics and Stock Market Performance Since 1980

Epidemics and Stock Market Performance Since 1980. Since the high for the S&P index on February 19th, it's been an interesting few weeks. To that point, I have attached a chart of the performance of the S&P index over the last 40 years when there have been medical epidemics.

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The Coronavirus Contraction Thumbnail

The Coronavirus Contraction

The Coronavirus Contraction. Our best guess – and, at this point, given the unprecedented nature of the situation, anyone who calls it anything other than a "guess" should be taken with a grain of salt – is that the US economy will contract at about a 35-40% annual rate in both March and April, stabilize in May, and then start growing again, gradually, in June.  Translating this into quarterly changes, we're projecting a 1.5% annualized decline in Q1, a massive 20% annualized drop in Q2, but with the economy growing at a 3.0% annual rate in Q3 and a 3.5% rate in Q4 and beyond. 

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Fed Fires Bazooka at Coronavirus Virus Thumbnail

Fed Fires Bazooka at Coronavirus Virus

Fed Fires Bazooka at Coronavirus Virus. The Fed's statement made it clear it is going to keep rates near zero until the economy has weathered the Coronavirus and is on track to meet the Fed's targets for the job market and inflation. In the press conference, Fed Chief Jerome Powell said the Fed will be "patient," which means it's going to be a while before we see rates go back up.

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A Coronavirus Recession? Thumbnail

A Coronavirus Recession?

A Coronavirus Recession? No one knows with any real certainty how much, or for how long, the Coronavirus will impact the US economy. What we do know is that it will have an impact. And, after data releases of recent weeks, we also know that the US economy was in very good shape before it hit.

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The Feds Should Be Decisive Thumbnail

The Feds Should Be Decisive

The Feds should be decisive. Fears about the economic effects of the Coronavirus have driven equity prices lower and led to calls for the Federal Reserve to cut rates. But we think a rate cut – any rate cut – would be a mistake.

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Lessons from Japan? Thumbnail

Lessons from Japan?

Lessons from Japan? Thirty years ago, many in the US were in fear that a rising power in Asia was on the verge of eclipsing the US. Now it’s China, back then it was Japan. History, however, had other plans.

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Jobs, Coronavirus, and the Budget Thumbnail

Jobs, Coronavirus, and the Budget

Jobs, Coronavirus, and the Budget. Taking all of this together, no recession on the horizon and improving news about the coronavirus suggests corporate profits will continue to grow in spite of moderate growth. Stay bullish!

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No Need for a Fed Rescue Thumbnail

No Need for a Fed Rescue

No Need for a Fed Rescue. Last Thursday’s GDP report showed that the economy grew at a 2.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter, in spite of an unusually large slowdown in the pace of inventory accumulation. Real GDP was up 2.3% versus a year ago. This morning, the January ISM manufacturing index rose back into expansionary territory, suggesting that the recovery is on solid footing. Auto sales, too, look healthy, and our early read on Friday’s jobs report is that nonfarm payrolls will be up a respectable 165,000.

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Look for Steadiness from the Fed Thumbnail

Look for Steadiness from the Fed

Look for Steadiness from the Fed The Federal Reserve is set to make its first policy statement of the year on Wednesday, so this is as good a time as any to reiterate our view that the Fed is likely to keep short-term interest rates steady through 2020 and, while pressures will build, the Fed

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