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.

9Dec

Remembering Paul Volcker, My “Boss”

While I am known for being the author of Inside Greenspan’s Briefcase: Investment Strategies for Profiting from Key Reports & Data (McGraw-Hill, 2002), my career began under the tutelage of another Fed Chairman: Paul Volcker, who passed away on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at the age of 92. In 1984-1985, as a project analyst for…

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6Dec

Rob Stein Discusses Unemployment Rate on TDA Network’s Morning Trade Live – December 6, 2019

Watch Astor’s CEO and Founder, Rob Stein, on TDA Network’s, Morning Trade Live with Oliver Renick,  as they discuss the current unemployment rate.   Click the image above or click here to watch the video! All information contained herein is for informational purposes only. This is not a solicitation to offer investment advice or services…

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6Dec

What’s Really Behind the New Highs

We entered the last month of the decade with the major stock market indices at new highs: the Dow closing over 28,000, the S&P 500 over 3100, and the Nasdaq Composite over 8600. While market pundits searched for reasons for the euphoria—from expectations of a China trade deal to fading fears of a near-term recession—the…

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6Nov

November Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index, our proprietary nowcast of the U.S. economy has remained somewhat range bound for the past several months, and printed again this month at a level consistent with slightly below average domestic economic growth. We delve into some of the recent drivers of the AEI below. The Labor Market and Manufacturing In…

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5Nov
8Oct

October Update on the U.S. Economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® deteriorated somewhat last month and is showing slightly below average growth in the U.S. economy.   Labor Market The labor market is the strongest thing going for the U.S. economy.  While the pace of jobs growth has slowed meaningfully since last year at this time, it’s important to recognize that…

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16Sep

September Update on the U.S. Economy

Recent Economic Data Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® was slightly changed last month and remains consistent with average economic growth in the U.S. In aggregate, economic data points towards a weakening but durable expansion.  The ISM Purchasing Manufacturers Index headed into contraction territory at 49.1, down from 51.2 last month and the lowest reading since…

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7Aug

August Update on the U.S. Economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® deteriorated slightly last month and is showing about average growth in the U.S. economy. Labor Market My interpretation is that the labor market is slowing somewhat and in the next few years, we will not enjoy the regular robust gains we have seen since the Global Financial Crisis. For example,…

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31Jul

Rob Stein Discusses Fed Rate Cut on TDA Network’s Market on Close – July 31, 2019

Watch Astor’s CEO and Founder, Rob Stein, on TDA Network’s, Market on Close,  as he discusses the FOMC announcement and  Jerome Powell’s press conference.   Click the image above or click here to watch the video! All information contained herein is for informational purposes only. This is not a solicitation to offer investment advice or services in any…

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30Jul

Q2 in Review: Eyes on the Fed’s “Medicine”

  Q2 ended with a continuation of the 2019 rally, marking one of the best half-years in recent memory. That said, at of the close of Q2, the broad U.S. equity market was roughly 8% higher from one year ago. Given how far the market traveled in that 12-month period, a 8% gain is no…

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25Jul

Understanding the Recent Decline in the Astor Economic Index®

2019 has seen a marked deterioration in the Astor Economic Index® (the AEI) from levels we associate with strong growth to levels which we see as more representative of average growth.  This long-term chart of the AEI shows that while not unprecedented, the sharp decline in the AEI over the last few months is unusual….

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12Jul

July Update on the U.S. Economy

The Astor Economic Index is largely unchanged since our last reading of the U.S. economy in early June, remaining at levels consistent with average domestic economic growth. Both the ISM Purchasing Manager’s Index and ISM Non-Manufacturing Index continued their downward trend, although both remain in growth territory. ISM manufacturing ticked down to 51.7 from 52.1,…

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12Jun

June Update on the U.S. Economy

In June, our proprietary Astor Economic Index has continued the slide it began in late 2018. The AEI now corresponds to a level of activity slightly above average growth for the U.S. economy. Although the deterioration in our reading of the current US macroeconomic state is troublesome, it is worth noting that average growth is…

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30May

Dimensioning the Impact of the U.S.-China Trade Dispute

There is no shortage of whiplash-providing economic and geopolitical risks to pay attention to these days. For some time, market participants were focused on Federal Reserve policy and the (still) ongoing Brexit negotiations. Of late, however, the market narrative and risk tolerance are driven more and more by growing concerns around the U.S.-China trade war….

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9May

May Update on the U.S. Economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® is showing slightly above average growth in the U.S. economy. The index deteriorated last month despite the upward surprise in first quarter GDP growth. While still showing above average growth the index is below where it was during the energy bust of 2016. First Quarter Growth The first reading on…

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10Apr

April Update on the U.S. Economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® is still showing above average growth in the U.S. economy. The index recovered somewhat in line with the more positive payroll report released last week. Payroll rebound The payroll numbers in March rebounded from February’s low number which is now looking like an aberration and not the beginning of a…

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27Mar

Is the Yield Curve Signaling a Recession?

As parts of the yield curve begin to stay inverted, more investors start asking the same question: Is a recession finally coming? As an economist, I do value what the yield curve says. However, in my view, the current shape is still inconclusive as the curve is only inverted at certain points along the line….

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15Mar

March Update on the U.S. Economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® is still showing above average growth in the US economy, though the index dropped significantly last month, partly in response to the payroll report. I characterize US growth as being good – somewhat above average – but below the strong growth we saw in 2018. Note that part of this…

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27Feb

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge: FOMC Forward Guidance on the Balance Sheet

The January 2019 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting gave market participants a welcome respite from what many viewed as a decoupling of rate expectations between the Federal Reserve and the market.  As a result, we expect the Fed’s balance sheet normalization to end sooner than previously expected and at a level greater than previously…

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6Feb

February update on the U.S. economy

Our proprietary Astor Economic Index® is still showing good growth in the US economy.  The index rebounded somewhat from last month as jobs growth continued strong and the purchasing managers surveys became more optimistic.  The shutdown did not affect the market moving measure of private payrolls with the rate of job creation increasing solidly compared…

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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.