Insights

Expert Commentary. Personal Conversation.

At Astor, we create high-quality content with highly specialized commentary for our investors. Explore our blog for insightful articles, informative videos, and vast ideas that inspire action. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and news, as we translate economic information into investing insights.

17May

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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8May

A Nuanced Macroeconomic Approach to Investing: An interview with Bryan Novak, Astor IM CEO.

When the economy and markets are clearly surging, defensive investment strategies may not be popular but when we are in the inevitable cyclical or disruptive periods of uncertainty or at inflection points of change, it may be prudent to diversify into more risk managed strategies that focus on the macroeconomic forces that drive the everchanging…

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19Apr

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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3Apr

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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23Mar

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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20Feb

Active Income Q4 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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20Feb

Sector Allocation Q4 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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20Feb

Dynamic Allocation Q4 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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16Feb

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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8Feb

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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20Dec

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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10Nov

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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8Nov

Active Income Q3 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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8Nov

Sector Allocation Q3 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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17Oct

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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18Sep

Active Income Q2 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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18Sep

Sector Allocation Q2 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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18Sep

Dynamic Allocation Q2 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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15Sep

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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1Sep

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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20Aug

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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11Aug

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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20Jul

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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1Jul

Active Income Q1 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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1Jul

Sector Allocation Q1 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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1Jul

Dynamic Allocation Q1 2023

Factsheet Holdings Slide Deck

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20Jun

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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15May

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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27Apr

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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19Apr

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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24Mar

March 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

Harold Wilson, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said (probably apocryphally) that “a week is a long time in politics”. In economics, a day can prove to be a lifetime, as recent events have shown. Banking sector stress over the past week has led to a dramatic repricing across the fixed-income world, and…

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21Mar

Banking Crisis 2.0

As the recent bank failures hit the news wires the headlines became sensational, with some commentators claiming that the system was imploding. Ironically, just weeks ago, the banking system was characterized as ‘bulletproof’. To be clear, this is not 2008. That was a true banking and financial crisis with a complete breakdown of the banking…

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14Feb

February 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy is not in want of compelling data points of late, with prints in all sorts of indicators well outside of historical norms. The challenge, of course, is that many of these series are in open contradiction. For its part, the Astor Economic Index® (AEI) indicates an economy that is cooling (or has…

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18Jan

January 2023 Update on the U.S. Economy

Another year is past us, and 2023 has begun with the promise of new macroeconomic trends and data to digest. The Astor Economic Index® ended the year up slightly from months prior but still at a level consistent with below-average growth. The key questions going into 2023 are the persistence of strong labor market trends,…

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17Jan

The Case for Active Fixed Income

The Case for Active Fixed Income: The End of the Era In Which Rates Only Went Down Fixed income had been deemed a dull affair for much of the past four decades. It was considered by many as something of an afterthought compared to the time many spent on the minute handcrafting and tweaking of…

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13Jan

FAQ 2022 – 2023

A Q&A into what we saw and where we are going.  This frequently asked questions guide is an overview of 2022 and a look into 2023.  CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO READ.    

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7Dec

December 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index® declined further in the month of November to a level typically associated with a weak economic state. The economy is in an interesting position, with the labor market humming along, but some soft data point to substantial weakness in manufacturing. The latest non-farm payroll was interesting, and it’s worth going beyond…

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6Dec

Employee of the Year for 2022 – Stephanie Yuskis

Astor Investment Management is pleased to announce that Stephanie Yuskis, Chief of Staff, has been awarded the Employee of the Year for 2022. Your contributions to making Astor what it is today are sincerely appreciated. Thank you for all your hard work – day in and day out. We are sure lucky to have you…

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2Dec

Congratulations Nicholas Porter and Eric Solomon

Astor Investment Management is pleased to announce key personnel promotions. Nicholas Porter has been promoted to the position of Portfolio Manager/VP – Research and Eric Solomon has been promoted to the position of Senior VP – Finance & Operations effective immediately. Please help us in congratulating them both on this wonderful achievement.

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18Nov

November 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index®, our nowcast of the U.S. economy, is essentially unchanged from the prior month at a level consistent with below-average economic output. Nonetheless, the intervening period has had several significant data prints, which we discuss below. In sum, recent trends suggest that the window to a soft(er) landing is now more open…

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19Oct

October 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy

September brought little in the way of relief for those looking for a Fed pivot, and the Astor Economic Index® remained constrained at a below-average reading. As in recent months, the U.S. labor market is somewhat at odds with the global economy and other domestic data prints, with job gains elevated despite softening purchasing manager…

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20Sep

Do You Want To Know What Is Going On With The Markets?

Do you want to know what is going on with the markets?  It’s common sense duh. At times, doctors, politicians, professors, and economists make things sound complicated when there are obvious logical answers. My guess is that they need to feel superior because, well, you know…The Fed and many well-known economists are looking too deep…

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9Sep

September 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy has proven resilient to firming monetary policy so far this year. The Astor Economic Index® (AEI) is at a level consistent with below-average growth but above outright recession. This is consistent with other nowcasts and forecasts of the U.S. economy: Bloomberg consensus for Q3 GDP growth is at 1.4%, down a tad…

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17Aug

August 2022 Update on the U.S. Economy

July was a very interesting month for economic data, with several of the series that we watch closely at Astor pointing in different directions. The Astor Economic Index®, our attempt to summarize these data points, ended the month in below-average growth territory and somewhat softer than the month before. The labor market has been a…

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9Aug

Gauging the U.S. Consumer

Employment has been resilient to inflation, rising rates and slowing growth trends, but for how much longer? Consumer financial situations have been impacted, reducing savings rates and increasing borrowing levels… Factors to help the economy regain its footing may not be helpful for the U.S. consumer in the near term… For context, let’s quickly walk…

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3Aug

Exchange Rate Drivers

Recent Dollar Trends The U.S. dollar is very much in the limelight of late, with the greenback relentlessly climbing against its developed market peers. The euro to dollar exchange rate (EUR/USD) is closely watched as a gauge of global sentiment and is the most heavily traded currency pair in the world. The euro recently touched…

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15Jul

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….

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8Jul

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…

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8Jun

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…

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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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21Jan

Protected: Astor 2021 Review Call with Rob Stein

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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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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All information contained herein is for informational purposes only. This is not a solicitation to offer investment advice or services in any state where to do so would be unlawful. Analysis and research are provided for informational purposes only, not for trading or investing purposes. All opinions expressed are as of the date of publication and subject to change. Astor and its affiliates are not liable for the accuracy, usefulness or availability of any such information or liable for any trading or investing based on such information. Please refer to Astor’s Form ADV Part 2 for additional information regarding fees, risks and services.