119 posts categorized as "Markets"
July 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy
The U.S. economy is at an interesting crossroad: the labor market is showing continued strength despite weakening output, burgeoning inflation, and an increasingly hawkish Fed. The Astor Economic Index has taken the side of the naysayers, posting consecutive declines for the last 11 months. The index now lies somewhere in the below-average to weak range….
You Can’t Buy Love and You Can’t Buy An Expansion
As the markets hit that magical percent drawdown number, market experts tell us we are in a bear market. If only they told us sooner… Inflation was not transitory after all, and the Fed needed to react which led to the typical result from raising rates quickly… Again, who could predict that mailing money to…
June 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy
The Astor Economic Index crossed the Rubicon (or perhaps just the Delaware) in May, ending the month just below the 0 line and at a level consistent with (barely) below average economic growth. Note that the AEI is suggesting that the pace of growth in the US has slowed, but is not yet at a…
Market Commentary: Super-Hyper Inflation, So What’s the Plan?
Wednesday (5/18) was a day of turmoil in equity markets with the S&P 500 down about 4% as investors sold risk assets for the safety of government bonds. I personally wouldn’t jump into bonds for the long term at this point, but yesterday investors needed to do something and bonds were the easiest choice. Markets…
Market Commentary: It’s all about the Fed… Still
The markets have had a challenging time the past few weeks, quickly retracing back to the levels of a year ago. Perspective is always important, but the Fed’s perspective is essential! As I said at the beginning of the year, it’s all about the Fed and how they navigate interest rates. The Fed got it wrong when…
April 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy
The Astor Economic Index continued its slide in March, consistent with our reading of a cooling but still strong economy. The domestic macroeconomic outlook is at an interesting crossroads, with persistent inflation, negative real wages, and high input costs on one hand, and very strong labor market dynamics, corporate earnings, and solid output growth on…
Commodity Market Update – Q1 2022
Many of the most visible commodities – energies and grains – appreciated a great deal during the first quarter as shown in the charts below for eight of the more well known commodity contracts. There are macro factors both boosting and restraining commodity prices: On the bullish for commodities side: Shift in the composition…
March 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy
With the ebbing of the global pandemic, one may have hoped February would mark the beginning of business as usual and a return to focusing on supply chains and other macroeconomic fundamentals. Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine has added another exogenous shock to the system. We’ll delve into the U.S. economic situation below, and touch…
February 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy
January proved an exciting month for macroeconomic data, with some clarity gained on the near-term trajectory of the U.S. economy and the state of inflation. We’ll begin with the Astor Economic Index, which has begun to move down rather precipitously of late. Although the AEI’s movement over the past month might make for a concerning…
Protected: Astor 2021 Review Call with Rob Stein
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January 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy
As usual, we’ll be looking at recent economic data this month, but we’ll also expand on some of the themes we’ve seen this year and look ahead to our base case for 2022. It’s worth noting that our portfolio decisions are made by the current state of the U.S. economy, rather than any forecast, but…
Inflation Isn’t The Biggest Problem
Is the recent spike in inflation data and recent price moves in many products and commodities transitory? Is the reopening of supply chain disruptions going to relieve shortages? When is the Fed going to act? These questions are being debated more than ever, with both sides digging in on their views. To be honest, I…
December 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy
Another month has passed as we hurtle to the New Year, and we find the Astor Economic Index at a similar level as in weeks past. In aggregate, the AEI (and our) view of the U.S. economy is that of continued strength, with a vigorous labor market and consumer demand. We discuss some of the…
The “Fear Gauge”
The Cboe Volatility Index® (herein “VIX®” or “VIX® Index”) has become something of a household name. Known sometimes as the “Fear Gauge”, the VIX tracks market participants’ expectations for future S&P 500 Index volatility. In other words, the VIX provides information about the prospect for fluctuations (up or down) in equity markets. When the VIX…
Inflation Hedges: A Look at the Record
TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION (CLICK HERE) Many of our clients are concerned about a rise in inflation. This note takes a hard look at various supposed inflation hedges. We will look at stocks, bonds, REITs, gold, commodities, T-bills and TIPS: the answer may surprise you. I don’t see one size fits all answers to…
November 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy
The month of October brought plenty of exciting macroeconomic data to discuss. Despite the fervor around the recent inflation print (which we’ll delve into below), our reading of the U.S. economy is still quite strong. The Astor Economic Index has ticked down slightly from the middle of the year but remains at an above average…
October 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy
The Astor Economic Index moderated slightly in September after several months of steading readings, perhaps suggesting the peak of output growth during the post-pandemic boom is behind us. Nonetheless, the AEI remains consistent with a strong economic state: we delve into some of the numbers below. Part of the story behind the AEI’s…
Astor Investment Management Commodity Review
2021 has seen equity and fixed income valuations very rich by traditional standards. As demand roars back and supply chains remain constrained, commodities have increasingly been in the limelight as an alternative source of return. Indeed, many commodities have enjoyed a spectacular rise in price throughout 2021 which creates a question of whether there is…
September 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy
The Astor Economic Index ended the month of August essentially unchanged from the last several months, a level consistent with strong economic growth domestically, despite headwinds from the Delta variant. We discuss labor market developments below and delve into some of the dynamics surrounding the current inflation debate. Non-farm payrolls disappointed strongly to the downside…
August 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy
The month of July saw further signs of a durable expansion across sectors in the United States, and encouragingly, continued improvement in the labor market. Our nowcast of the U.S. economy, the Astor Economic Index®, followed in kind, resuming its climb from the beginning of the year and at its highest level since January 2019….