Category: News

56 posts categorized as "News"

19May

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…

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12May

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…

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7Apr

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…

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4Apr

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…

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11Mar

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…

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11Feb

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…

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15Jan

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…

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14Dec

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…

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7Dec

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…

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29Nov

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…

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23Nov

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…

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15Sep

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…

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14Jul

Astor Q2 2021 Strategy Update Recording with CEO & Founder, Rob Stein.

Recording of Astor’s Q2 2021 Strategy Update call with CEO & Founder, Rob Stein.  

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16Jun

June 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index® (“AEI”) improved once again in the month of May, ticking up to a post-pandemic high, and nearing levels last seen in 2019. The reading is consistent with the general macroeconomic narrative of the U.S. economy, with flush households, strong demand and burgeoning external support. Although GDP growth seems to be on…

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24May

The ‘Macro’ Style of Investing and Why I’m Excited…

Let’s look back on a historic, discretionary macro trade: In September 1992, the British pound was fixed to the Deutschemark through the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), a precursor to the Euro we know today. If you tried to sell pounds below a certain level, the Bank of England (the central bank of the UK)…

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18May

My Compelling Reasons for Hyper-Inflation and Potential Impacts

Inflation itself is not a rally-killer for stocks.  Rather, I believe it is the interest rate differential between a risk-free return against the risk on stock prices and dividend yield. I think that spread has favored stocks for some time and very aggressively for the past 12 months.  As rates rise and stocks appreciate, I…

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14May

May 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index® (“AEI”) improved slightly month over month and remains at a level indicative of strong fundamentals, reflecting very strong output measures across the U.S. economy, as well as declining jobless claim figures. The dip in the AEI from the second wave earlier this year has been mostly retraced as the U.S. recovers…

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14Apr

April 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy

Macroeconomic data has teased us for several months with the hope of a new spring, and the month of March has aptly enough delivered on that promise. Much of the nation has substantially eased lockdown restrictions as the pace of vaccinations pick up pace, and the near-term trajectory of the U.S. economy is on substantially…

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12Mar

March 2021 Update on the U.S. Economy

No news is good news, at least as the U.S. economy is concerned in its current state of slowly animating suspension. The Astor Economic Index has been range bound at a level approximating above average growth for several months and ended the month of February essentially unchanged. The labor market picked up some steam, with…

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25Feb

Rob Stein Update on Inflation

As inflation expectations begin to accelerate and long rates begin to rise, I thought I would review my thoughts on inflation and rates from previous articles and the Outlook 2021. One of the basic definitions of inflation is “too much money chasing too few goods.” With the mailbox money from 2020 increasing money supply and…

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