Category: Uncategorized

57 posts categorized as "Uncategorized"


Uncertainty and the Market

The market hates uncertainty. Well, perhaps not hates, but dislikes for sure. The market climbs a wall of worry and falls down the wall of uncertainty, as we saw this week with the S&P 500 losing more than 6% earlier this month (October 2018). There is no shortage of uncertainties on the list; to name…

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What Recession? Why the Sky Can’t Fall in the New Economic Reality

The recession is coming, the recession is coming – or, maybe not. Even as the market marches steadily higher, and the economic data print is consistently at or above the level indicating economic growth, the cry being heard is that a recession is coming.[i] Some even predict that the next downturn will be as severe…

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October update on the US economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® is still showing strong growth in the US economy. The index is currently at the bottom of a fairly narrow range it has been in during 2018.  The economy has thus far proved itself resilient to escalating trade tensions and steadily rising interest rates. Has the Fed shifted According to…

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Emerging Market Turbulence: Here to Stay?

Normalizing US rates and higher oil prices have begun to expose persistent macroeconomic imbalances in emerging markets.   As returns begin to look more appealing in developed markets, we expect elevated levels of volatility to continue in emerging markets, especially those with large twin deficits, high external borrowing needs, a reliance on portfolio flows for financing…

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September update on the US economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® is still showing strong growth in the US economy. The index is currently in the middle of a fairly narrow range it has been in during 2018.  The economy has thus far proved itself resilient to escalating trade tensions.     Various of the regional federal reserve banks produce nowcasting…

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Which sectors are defensive?

As the current recovery ages and trade tensions garner headlines, a money manager’s thoughts turn to defensive sectors.  But how have the defensive sectors actually done in recent recessions? We examine the record in this post. For an investment manager, there is obvious appeal in knowing how sectors of the economy perform in recessions and…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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