Category: Commentary

67 posts categorized as "Commentary"


June 2024 Update on the U.S. Economy

From our perspective, recent data has brought the near-term macro trajectory into clearer focus. For some time, the distribution of potential outcomes for inflation and growth was wide: it was unclear whether price pressures (and output) would moderate significantly over the next year. Although uncertainties do remain, it seems likelier today than in months past…

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May 2024 Update on the U.S. Economy

We continue to view the U.S. economy as slightly above average, with the Astor Economic Index® ticking down slightly from the month prior. Inflation remains well above the Fed’s target, driven by the indefatigable domestic consumer. The Investment Committee left the Dynamic Allocation strategy’s positions unchanged this month. We think that the risks for equity…

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Astor Strategies/U.S. Economy Update: April 2024

The Astor Monthly Economic Update is changing formats slightly this month. We are keeping the astute economic commentary you’ve come to rely on, but in a more concise format and with clearer ties to the portfolios we manage. ASTOR DYNAMIC ALLOCATION: AVERAGE AND STABLE EQUITY ALLOCATION The U.S. economy showed no signs of cooling further,…

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Why Astor Active Income?

Astor CEO, Bryan Novak, gives an overview of the Astor Active Income Strategy and why it is a potential fit for your clients in today’s market. In the current landscape of fixed income investments, the act of purchasing bonds feels more akin to making a strategic trade rather than simply seeking steady income, especially when…

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March 2024 Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index® (AEI) ended the month of February at around average growth once again, with a tight labor market slightly ameliorated by weakening signs of consumer demand. We talk about the latest job reports, inflation, and the upcoming Fed meeting below.   Non-farm payrolls rose 275,000 in February, above Bloomberg consensus of 200k,…

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February 2024 Update on the U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy has defied predictions of its imminent demise for some time, and data from the month of January reinforced that trend with robust labor figures and hotter inflation numbers. Markets have been forced to reprice their expectations for a quick March cut by the Fed, with Chair Powell strongly pushing back against the…

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Astor Economics In Focus: First Half 2024 Outlook

MARKETS: 2023 2023 was one of the most interesting years to be an investor. Volatility raked wide swaths of the bond market throughout the year, as regional banks came under pressure, inflation expectations swung up and down, and Fed policy was priced and repriced. The yield on U.S. 10-yr treasuries began the year at 3.87%,…

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December 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

Our last reading of the Astor Economic Index® (AEI) in 2023 places U.S. economic growth in about average territory, up modestly from the beginning of the year as expectations for future growth improved. The consensus narrative agrees with this reading, seeing an economy that has finally shook off the pandemic induced shackles and returned to…

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November 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index® (AEI) continued its upward trend in October, ending at a level just around average economic growth. It has been an interesting journey for the AEI this year so far, with somewhat weak growth (driven mostly by soft PMIs) balanced out by a very hot labor market. Due in part to soft…

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October 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

Over the past few months, forecasts of an imminent recession have been pushed further and further away. Instead, consensus views vacillate between two scenarios: an economy “stuck” at higher growth  and higher interest rates for the time being, and the much-heralded soft landing, with a slowly cooling labor market and inflation coming down over time….

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September 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy remained around potential in August, with softer labor market prints pointing to lower momentum in hiring against the backdrop of a secularly tight labor market. The Astor Economic Index® has ticked up slightly, but remains range bound in the average to below average economic growth.   As we’ve said in the past,…

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INSIGHTS: Economic Crystall Balls – Comparing Four Recession Forecasting Tools

If I tell a stranger, you are an economist the first thing you notice is the glassy look in their eyes. The second thing that happens is that they ask you what will happen to the stock market. Economists don’t know! We can echo Pierpont Morgan and say, “I expect it to fluctuate”, but beyond…

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INSIGHTS: Interest Rates & Fed Minutes: August 2023

Fed minutes from last month’s meeting were released on Wednesday (8/16). After a summer of disinflation, many were hoping for a policy narrative congruent with the downward price movement we’ve seen in 2023: something akin to a final act. While there were a few dovish dissenters that were reluctant to raise the target rate, the…

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August 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

The U.S. economic picture has been essentially unchanged for the past few months, with a general trend towards disinflation, growth returning towards potential, and a secularly tight but slowing labor market. The Astor Economic Index® agrees with this narrative, ending the month of July at a level consistent with below potential output, driven mostly by…

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July 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

In our view, the U.S. economy is well on its way to cooling to its pre-pandemic potential, and a soft landing (with stable payrolls and slightly above average inflation) is more likely today than in the recent past. Refraining from over extrapolating any given data point will be important going forward – the economy, and…

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June 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy has continued its normalization over the past month, with key measures of output and labor moving towards the pre-pandemic trend. For the pessimistic, there are plenty of cracks in the data to support a narrative of underlying weakness, but the overall picture is one of robust demand and gradual cooling. The The…

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May 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

The general economic outlook for the U.S. economy is essentially stable, with the labor market moderating and inflation coming down slightly from its recent peak. The Astor Economic Index® remains at a level consistent with below-average economic growth and has been supported by continued growth in employment, although somewhat weakened by softer data like PMIs….

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Employment Trends meets Federal Reserve Decisions

Astor’s CEO Rob Stein and CIO John Eckstein explore the interplay between employment trends and Federal Reserve decisions. MAS-M-380952-2023-05-08

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Inflation & Duration: Navigating Rising Fixed Income Volatility

One can be forgiven for looking back on Fixed Income markets in the period between the Global Financial Crisis and the pandemic with something approaching fondness. The Great Recession and the period thereafter were dominated by concerns about the lower zero bound for rates and the need to stretch duration to get anything approaching reasonable…

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April 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

The data for the month of March showed a slight cooling of the U.S. economy but wasn’t fundamentally view changing for the domestic near-term trajectory. The Astor Economic Index® stayed in the same range that it began in 2023, at a level consistent with below-average growth. One of the big puzzles of the current macroeconomic…

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