Category: Uncategorized

51 posts categorized as "Uncategorized"

13Apr

Investing: Put First Things First

At Astor we often say that we focus our attention on the most important question: asset allocation.  For the typical US investor that means primarily the ratio of equities to fixed income and secondarily allocations to diversifying assets to smooth the portfolio returns.  Once you have decided these broad allocations your ultimate returns are –…

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3Oct

THE LIBRARY

Click here for the latest information on our strategies   Listen to a Webinar with CEO and Founder Rob Stein   VIEWPOINTS Revisiting Active:  Is the Trend in Passive Over? Picking the Right Sectors for 2017 Invest like an Economist, not a Stock Picker Look to ETFs as Passive Investing Grows in Popularity What are…

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13Jul

July Quick Read on the US Economy

The economic news improved somewhat from my last update.  The labor market looks more solid than it did a month ago and there are some signs the manufacturing sector may have found it footing.  I believe the Brexit vote will likely have only a modest direct impact on the US, but will make all observers…

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24Jun

Brexit – First impressions for the US and world economy

This morning our CEO Rob Stein wrote a good overview of the our view of the US after the British vote to leave the EU earlier.  As Rob said, at Astor we are alert for signs of a deteriorating US economy, but we will wait to see them before we further reduce our exposure to…

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13Jun

Second Fed Rate Hike? Much Ado About Not Very Much

Imagine this scenario: You are at the next regular board meeting at Apple, Microsoft, Tesla or some company of your choosing. As you glance down the agenda, where do you picture the discussion of the Federal Reserve’s expected interest rate hike? At the top? Somewhere near the bottom? My guess is that it isn’t mentioned…

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8Jun

June Quick Read on the US Economy

The economic news softened somewhat from my last update.  The payroll numbers for May were especially weak, following a modest April.  However, we should not exaggerate one reading of a volatile series Overall the economy still looks like it is on a decent heading, but evidence has accumulated of at least a small pause in…

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13May

May Quick Read on the US Economy

Economic news softened somewhat from my last update.  The most recent readings for employment (as measured by the non-farm payrolls report) showed a slightly weaker pace of growth.  Additionally, much of the bounce in the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index was given back last month.  However, we should not exaggerate the weakness.  The current…

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11Apr

April Quick Read on the US Economy

The latest numbers on the US economy were positive. As a promising sign for the future, the global manufacturing environment may be showing signs of stabilizing – coincident with a stabilizing of commodity and international equities prices. I still believe the Fed will continue to hold and will not raise rates in April. Our Astor…

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8Mar

March Quick Read on the US Economy

In my opinion, the latest numbers on the US economy were positive last month. After plummeting for the first half of February, stock markets became markedly more positive over the second half. International equity prices seem to have regained their footing and oil prices are well off the lows of the year as well. I…

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9Feb

February 2016 Quick Read on the US Economy

Our outlook for the economy deteriorated slightly in the last month.  Mainly our measures of output are showing weakness, while our measures of employment continue to show a solid recovery.  The risk is the manufacturing sector’s weakness spreads to the broader economy.  Most economists would agree the chances of this event happening are small, though…

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12Jan

January Quick Read on the US Economy

The US continues to post moderate growth, though pockets of weaknesses remain.  Global financial markets started the year trying to read the magic eight ball of the Chinese equity and currency markets – a recipe for emotional distress.  Overall, my judgement about the current expansion remains unchanged with slightly above-average growth. The US economy ·        …

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15Dec

How the Fed Sees Inflation

The Fed sees inflation a bit differently than many in the markets do.  In this note I will discuss some of the folk-economics that get talked about casually on the trading floor. I will contrast that with how Janet Yellen has recently described her view of US inflation dynamics (mainly as expressed in her very…

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11Dec

A Rebuttal

This week an article entitled “Should You Fear the ETF?” was written by Ari Weinberg of the WSJ. While I would prefer not to give this type of article any attention (as that seems to be the main goal), I feel like it cannot be left to exist without an industry participant’s opinion attached to it….

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9Dec

December Economic Read

The US economy continues its pace of modest expansion. Though self-sustaining growth continues to be the most likely outcome, a few soft spots – mainly related to weak growth overseas – continue to worry. I expect the economy to adapt well to the beginning of a shallow and gradual rate hike cycle. Our Astor Economic…

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10Nov

November Economic Read

• Early indications are that October was another month of slow but positive growth in the U.S. and abroad. The monthly nonfarm payroll number for October was the strongest of the year, suggesting that weakness in August and September’s numbers was just noise. Emerging markets continue to be a small drag on the U.S. economy,…

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7Oct

October Economic Read

• The most recent readings on the U.S. economy show a moderating pace of growth. Both points are worth emphasizing: the US is still growing but at a slower rate than a few months ago. We see support of this statement in the recent nonfarm payroll and ISM Manufacturing report releases. Even at the more…

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7Sep

September Economic Read

We see a slightly weaker U.S. environment this month than we did last month, though we still see growth as being above the recent average. The most notable change was in the ISM Purchasing manager’s survey which showed a slower expansion than last month. While this shows manufacturers’ orders continue to expand, this gauge is…

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26Aug

Economic Durability

Data for July Durable Goods Orders was released today and provided further support for a positive view on the U.S. economy.   On a headline level, orders rose by 2.0% from June which was revised up to a 4.1% increase from the initial report of 3.4%.  Great news there, especially considering expectations were for a -0.4% decline….

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24Aug

August 2015 is to October 2014 is to Fall 2011

Bringing it back to Rob Stein’s 2015 Outlook Report and discussion about the Fed and the expected rate hike for 2015. The possibility of this change in the rate dynamic would, in his opinion (and the rest of the Investment Committee’s), introduce volatility into the market. The report ended with this statement: “Whether the market…

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7Aug

August employment day economic read

My view of the US economy is for continued modest expansion. Our proprietary Astor Economic Index was essentially unchanged for the month and still showing that the US is solidly in an expansion. Today’s employment report was almost exactly as expected with 215 thousand net jobs added and a steady unemployment rate of 5.3%. These…

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