Results 101–150 of 232 found.
China Toes a Delicate Balance
Markets posted their best returns of 2012 last week as investors anticipated additional policy action from global central banks. A series of events during the week heightened optimism that central banks would once again step in to support financial markets. In a Wednesday release, the European Central Bank did not cut its policy rate, but ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank was ready to act in response to the deteriorating state of the Eurozone.
Alternative Mutual Funds See Continued Growth
During an especially difficult week, global equity markets were deep in the red, as the S&P 500 Index lost 3.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.3%. There was no shortage of disappointing data during the course of the past week, ranging from weakness in the ISM manufacturing survey to an underwhelming May labor market report. It was such a bad week, in fact, that Bespoke Investment Group found that 18 of the 21 economic indicators released in the U.S. fell short of expectations.
Amid Uncertainty, What is an Investor to Do?
Markets rebounded last week after a two-week slide. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.7% and 0.7%, respectively, in a choppy trading period. Discussion of a potential Greek exit from the Eurozone rattled investors, while economic data in the US was modestly positive.
Markets Fall on Negative Europe Sentiment
Worries over the European sovereign debt crisis worsened this week as Greeces political instability increased concern that the country could depart the Eurozone. Greece saw a virtual run on its banks during the week, as depositors withdrew 1.2 billion in two days on fears of massive devaluation from a return to the drachma. While this represented just 0.75% of Greek deposits, it foreshadows a potentially larger crisis if a Greek Eurozone departure becomes imminent.
Earnings Seasons Recap: Is Corporate Strength Fading?
Strength in the corporate sector since the recession ended has been well documented. In the face of general economic malaise, record profits have been achieved through aggressive cost-cutting and low financing costs. This phenomenon has been one of the major pillars propping up the markets (with the other being central bank policy). Now with Q1 earnings season all but over, it is not unreasonable to question whether that corporate strength is fading. Initial impressions of first quarter earnings season were very favorable after the first big wave of earnings releases.
Sentiment Readies for a Tumultuous Fall
Market sentiment has oscillated quite rapidly in recent months on the heels of dramatic market intervention by the ECB and shifting views of global economic stability. Sentiment is likely to remain unstable in the months ahead as investors grapple with any number of events, from elections in Europe and the US to the end of recent monetary easing efforts domestically. While markets have rallied substantially over the past six months, retail investors are maintaining a somewhat neutral view on their allocations.
Is Now The Time To Brace For Another Volatile Summer?
In the latest week, the Federal Open Market Committee reiterated its stance that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014. While rates will remain low for now, the Fed will need to fend off other challenges in the months ahead, ones that could send investors racing for the beach sooner than normal. The biggest challenge for the Fed and the economy in the coming months is in the form of Operation Twist. The hope was that such actions would drive down interest rates and encourage borrowing of all forms.
Is 2012 the Year for Hedge Funds?
Prior to the financial crisis, hedge funds were largely viewed as alpha generating, high return seeking, portfolio diversifiers. In 2008, that model came under attack from multiple angles fraud, illiquidity, and poor returns being the primary culprit. Ever since that time, the value proposition of hedge funds and alternative investments remains in question, causing some to wonder if this is a make or break year for the space. There is reason to think the environment for hedge funds and active managers is improving.
Earnings on a Hot Plate
While the economy has displayed fits and starts of entering a sustained recovery over the past several years, there has been no doubt about the ability of companies to reshape their balance sheets and refocus their businesses. In the midst of first quarter earnings season, there are some concerns that the corporate hot streak will come to an abrupt end, but the reduction in earnings expectations since late last year appears to be favoring another positive earnings season.
China Experiencing Growing Pains
For most of the past two years, investors have been pre-occupied with the fiscal catastrophe in Europe and with good reason. However, the relative health of the worlds second largest economy arguably deserves more headline space. A year ago, Chinas stock market led the broader emerging markets down due to pervasive inflation concerns. Official figures reached as high as 6.5%, and some reports of pork and other food price inflation reached double-digit levels. Chinese authorities were forced to slow down the pace of their economy by raising bank reserve ratios and key lending rates.
Have Investors Moved Past Europe?
At the end of 2011, the Long-Term Refinancing Operation brought a modicum of stability to financial markets in Europe.When coupled with the orderly default of Greece, the situation in Europe is seemingly on a road to more pleasant ground. Just as soon as investors place Europe in their periphery, however, problems once again begin bubbling to the surface.In recent weeks, the spotlight has turned to Spain, where unemployment is near 24% and the government is expected to run a 5.9% budget deficit for 2012.
An Actively Passive Debate
The debate surrounding active versus passive investment management continues to attract a growing share of investor interest. After several years of underperformance, active managers are finally outperforming their benchmarks YTD, but it may be too late. Investors, frustrated with the underperformance and higher fees, are piling en masse into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other low cost solutions. The time for an all-passive solution may not be right now, but active managers are undoubtedly concerned about what the future may hold.
Continued Struggle Between Borrowing and Lending
Nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate headline the weeks economic data. Consensus expects another 200K+ gain in payrolls and no change in the unemployment rate. Other major economic data of note includes the ISM Non-Manufacturing index and the US trade balance. Abroad, there are important releases on tap including Q4 EU GDP and EU retail sales. Both the ECB and Bank of England meet this week, but neither is expected to adjust their key interest rates. Other central banks meeting include Russia, Australia, Brazil, Poland, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Korea, Canada, Peru, and Malaysia.
Oil Prices, Mixed Data Slow Market Gains
The continued march higher in oil prices is filtering its way down to consumers in a less-than-favorable way. By the end of the week, the average price for a regular gallon of gas was $3.65, 30 cents higher than the price one year ago. Consumers are all too familiar with the taxing effect of higher gas prices, particularly given the extreme run up early last year. Interestingly, the number of Google searches for gas prices recently overtook those for Greece, suggesting that the domestic economic situation is trumping consumers concern about an overseas shock.
Tick, Tock Goes the Inflation Clock
Despite this short-term good news, the cloud hanging over Europe promises to remain for some time. As expected, the first glimpses of fourth quarter GDP reveal a region under severe economic pressure. Growth in the European Union contracted 0.3%, the first such decline since the recession. Most member countries saw their economies shrink, including Germany (-0.2%), Italy (-0.7%), and Spain (-0.3%). On the bright side, France actually surprised consensus with a 0.2% expansion.
A Dejected Asset Class Finds Its Way in 2012
Investor interest is acutely focused on the developed world, specifically Europe and the US. All the while, developing countries continue to be better positioned fiscally, with lower debt and better long-term growth prospects. Despite the outlook, stock markets in emerging markets are largely at the mercy of their counterparts in Europe and the US, suffering in lockstep as opposed to embracing the decoupling phase that was supposed to have begun in 2007. According to the IMF, emerging and developing economies grew 6.2% in 2011, compared to a 1.6% growth rate in advanced economies.
Corporate Earnings Hit a Rough Patch
The week started slow, however, with a mixed personal income and outlays report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. While consumer spending was flat in December, incomes grew 0.5% above expectations and the biggest gain since March. The lack of spending growth is concerning, but somewhat expected given stagnating wage growth. Spending to this point has largely been financed through savings, making Decembers income boost a much welcome improvement for consumers.
America's Economic Engine Still Healing
A thin week of economic data and renewed focus on the European sovereign debt crisis may have prompted profit taking by some investors. Arguably, the biggest development last week was the Federal Open Market Committees (FOMC) press release on Wednesday. For the first time, the central banks decision makers released forecasts for the federal funds rate and the timing for the first rate increase. In that release, the FOMC unexpectedly announced that it expected to hold rates near zero until at least late 2014. This far exceeded previously stated expectations of a mid-2013 rate hike.
Risk Off, Risk On...?
Since the start of 2012, global risk markets have all but ignored the overhang of pessimism that frustrated the markets in 2011. For the most part, equity indices already surpassed their gains for all of last year. While such gains may ultimately prove sustainable, there remains a modicum of uncertainty that could rear its head quite suddenly, and quite viciously. In the meantime, an assessment of the investment landscape shows investors may have a legitimate reason for bullishness in the short term.
A Society Moving Toward The Brink?
With economic growth stagnating, global indebtedness remaining stubbornly high, and unemployment refusing to budge, pressure on governments and ordinary citizens is mounting. Financial crises are notoriously difficult to recover from, but the longer-term sociological problems created by such severe declines in output pose a major headwind to the economy in 2012 and beyond.
Corporate Profits Hit a Wall, But Stocks a Buy?
Equity markets finished their first week of the New Year with positive gains, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively. Those gains, and more, occurred in the first 30 minutes of trading on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2012. From there, markets traded choppily through the remainder of the week, as lingering problems in Europe dampened risk appetites. Investors returning from holiday break received more positive news regarding the US economy, particularly within manufacturing and employment.
Economy Happy to Close Out a Forgettable 2011
There are several economic indicators on tap for next week, highlighted by the third and final estimate for Q3 real GDP.No change is expected from Novembers estimate of 2.0%. Other items of note include housing starts, existing home sales, new home sales, personal spending, and the durable goods report. As mentioned previously, Wednesdays existing home sales report from the NAR will provide clarity on the size of the agencys five-year revision to home sales. This is a potentially significant event, depending on the size of the adjustment.
What Happens If A Rising Tide Sinks Some Ships?
A multi-day summit in Brussels by European policymakers yielded an expected fiscal union between euro member countries. However, a key refusal by Britain undermined the credibility of the pact. Without unanimous agreement, the original European Union treaty cannot be altered, so a new intergovernmental agreement was created. Some question whether such an arrangement has the teeth to enforce budgetary discipline.
What Are Investors Up To?
With markets ebbing and flowing and making it virtually impossible to differentiate up from down, it has become all the more difficult to determine what qualifies as an attractive investment. While equity markets rallied into the end of November, volatility remains well above its long-term average, causing most investors to question their equity allocations. It should come as no surprise, then, that individual investors are anything but confident in the latest rally. Macroeconomic headlines and excessive volatility are dampening even the most hardened investors faith in financial markets.
Is 2012 Destined to be a Repeat OF 2008 for Banks?
Mounting concerns in Europe and the failure of Congress supercommittee weighed on investor sentiment during the holiday-shortened week. As expected, the congressional supercommittee failed to negotiate a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction by Wednesdays deadline. The move triggers automatic cuts to the federal budget starting as early as this year. Near-term effects are mostly in the form of program non-renewals for example, the expiration of 99-week unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cut, and other Recovery Act stimulus.
The Domestic Economy Keeps Fighting for Growth
It is a shortened week due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, but that does not mean investors should tune out. The market will turn its sights on the governments super committee, which is looking less than super. The committee looks like it will not meet its target deadline of November 23, which will likely have negative implications for financial markets. The committee was supposed to find spending cuts that would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade.
In a World Dependent on Crude, is Natural Gas the Savior?
It will be a busy week in the US with reports on inflation, retail sales, industrial production and housing starts. Inflationary pressure is likely to show further signs of easing in October, particularly as food costs continue to stabilize. Retail sales were quite strong in September, but gains for October are expected to be more muted. Earnings season is winding down, with quarterly reports expected from UniCredit, Dell, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Vivendi, Dollar Tree and Gap. The only major central bank to meet this week is the Bank of Japan, which is unlikely to change rates.
An Uneventful Week If You Forget Europe
Trading was volatile this week as news that the situation in Greece was not as clear-cut as originally thought sent the markets sharply lower. Those concerns eased somewhat in the last two trading days of the week on news that Greece, and more broadly, Europe, were making progress. Ultimately, it was another month of sub-par employment growth, but there were signs that labor markets remained steady, despite severe headwinds from Europe and concerns about growth prospects for the US. Although 80,000 jobs is nothing to be ecstatic about, the ability of the economy to stay out of negative is.
Just When You Thought Europe was Rescued, New Skeletons Emerge
Economic data in the US will receive plenty of attention this week. On Tuesday, the ISM Manufacturing Survey is released, with economists anticipating continued expansion in the manufacturing sector. Wednesdays ADP private payroll employment report will offer a taste of what is to come in Fridays nonfarm payroll employment report for October. Consensus expectations are for job growth of slightly less than 100,000 and an unemployment rate of 9.1%.
Economy Continues to Surprise, But Inflation Offers a Scare
Equity markets continued fighting higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 1.4% and the S&P 500 Index increasing by 1.1% last week. Optimism from both Europe nearing an agreement on its debt problems, as well as positive earnings reports, pushed equity markets higher throughout the week. Since the start of earnings season, slightly more than 300 companies reported quarterly earnings figures. Out of those that reported, 63.7% beat consensus earnings estimates. That is a moderate improvement from the past two quarters, but somewhat below the 65% average since March 2009.
Economic Data Receives Another Dose of Positive News
Not only was key economic data, such as retail sales, better than expected, but also the start of earnings season brought about a number of positive corporate earnings surprises.An important caveat is that analysts earnings estimates were routinely cut over the past several weeks, leading to a lowered bar and higher likelihood of upside surprise.Regardless, markets appear pleased by the news, at least for the time being. Over the latest week, each of the major indicators, excluding consumer sentiment, came in above consensus.
The Economy Takes a Sudden Turn
A busy economic week brought much-needed relief for investors. With 75% of domestic economic reports beating expectations over the past two weeks, equity markets were able to find stable ground. Additionally, outside the US, new QE measures by the Bank of England and progress on the European sovereign debt situation bolstered investor confidence. Re-anchoring domestically, the news was largely positive across a range of data series, from manufacturing and services to labor. Similar to last year, economic data severely disappointed in the summer but is now showing improvement.
Markets Warned of Impending Recession
In the latest week, economic data was mixed, but news on consumer income and spending raised concerns over the health of the all-important consumer sector. Even worse, a growing number of economists are highlighting the possibility of recession. One organization, the ECRI, went as far as declaring that recession was unavoidable and warned, theres nothing policy makers can do to head it off. Such dire forecasts do nothing to bolster economic or market confidence. The ECRI has accurately predicted prior recessions, including the most recent one in 2008.
Markets Struggle to Reconcile Macro and Micro
It was a difficult week from a number of standpoints, not the least of which was the growing number of downside risks that rose to the surface. A broad number of financial markets broke down this week, including copper, the Hang Seng and precious metals. Struggles in those markets came from any multitude of reasons, including the acknowledgement of slower growth ahead from the International Monetary Fund and the US Federal Reserve.
With the Economy Weak, the Fed Steps Up to the Plate
With the Fed potentially considering new easing measures this week, economists paid particular attention to last weeks inflation reports, looking for any clue that the Feds current programs are feeding higher inflation. Thus far, the Fed is in the clear, but there is budding inflationary pressure under the surface that is raising cause for concern. In August, the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4%, led by higher food and energy prices. That follows an equally strong increase of 0.5% in July. Consumer prices received a slight reprieve earlier in the summer, but that softness is dissipating.
While the Economy Moderates, the Fed Mulls its Options
It will be a somewhat more active week as a number of economic releases are due, including the producer price index, the consumer price index, retail sales and industrial production. Additionally, the Treasury Department is set to auction $32 billion in 3-year notes (Monday), $21 billion in 10-year notes (Tuesday), and $13 billion in 30-year bonds (Wednesday). Earnings reports to follow this week include Best Buy, Diamond Foods, and Research In Motion.
Time to Embrace a new round of Quantitative Easing
As we head into the fall, investors should prepare for a continuation of this summers volatility.While August is viewed as a challenging month for the markets, September reigns supreme as the worst month for market performance historically. Dominating the headlines this week will be an announcement by President Barack Obama on Tuesday regarding plans for boosting job growth and increasing budget savings. Across the globe, services PMIs will be released this week, and akin to the global manufacturing PMIs, declines are expected.
The Economy is Stagnant, Are Banks to Blame?
On Tuesday, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index will be released. That afternoon brings the release of minutes from the August 9 FOMC meeting, during which three individuals dissented. ISM manufacturing comes out Thursday. Economists believe it will fall into contractionary territory below 50, based on recent disappointing regional manufacturing data. By Friday, the much anticipated nonfarm payroll figures for August will be released. Expectations are low, especially considering the difficult economic headwinds faced in the past month.
As the Economy bumps along, is a Recession on the way?
Last week, we learned the economy is continuing to struggle, but there was some slight improvement in jobless claims and retail sales. One area not improving is small business optimism. The National Federation of Independent Business reported that its Index of Small Business Optimism fell 0.9 points to 89.9 in July, representing the fifth consecutive monthly decline. Small businesses list poor sales, taxes and government regulation as their three most important problems. Consumers were also quick to echo that sentiment last week.
S&P Drops a Bomb on an otherwise OK week for the Economy
Volatility will be the word of the week as the US is now entering unprecedented territory after being downgraded for the first time. Postulating what happens next is complete conjecture at this point. Investors should prepare for heightened volatility for the near future. Several central banks will meet this week, including those in Indonesia, Norway and South Korea. In addition, the Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday with no expected change to its 0-0.25% fed funds rate stance. Markets will closely watch for any language about the pace of the recovery or clues about its balance sheet.
A Deal Nears, but the Economy Remains Unstable
With fears of an impasse over the debt ceiling, equity markets faced a difficult week. Fortunately, leaders announced on Sunday evening that they reached a deal in principal to raise the debt ceiling. Many pundits have reiterated in recent weeks that a deal would be reached prior to the August 2 deadline, but markets and investors grew nervous over the past week. However, politicians stayed true to form. They assured the American people that, despite headlines from the past several months, Republicans and Democrats came together in the interest of their constituents to strike the best deal.
Is the 'Consumer-Less' Era the new Normal
In a relatively light week of economic releases, market participants were pleased to see positive news beginning to build. Housing data in particular, excluding the existing home sales report, trended in the right direction. Housing starts unexpectedly jumped 14.6% to 629,000 in June. Strength was apparent across single- and multi-family housing units. Residential investment, an important component of GDP, will offer little support to second quarter GDP figures, but the upward momentum should put the economy on a better trajectory for the third quarter.
Since when did Debts and Deficits become One and the Same?
By early August, the US Treasury will run out of room under the debt ceiling and risks defaulting on its debt. There is growing concern, as evidenced by recent reports from Moody?s and Standard & Poor?s, that a deal will either not get done in time or will not suffice in fixing what is turning into a runaway fiscal freight train. Politicians are determined to play a quick and easy game of Russian roulette with the debt, not realizing that their attempts to undermine each other?s credibility in advance of next year?s elections are extremely dangerous.
Positive week Overshadowed by Dour Jobs Report
An otherwise positive week ended in disappointing fashion but the equity markets held their gains. There were only a handful of market-moving economic reports last week, with the predominance of investors focused on the nonfarm labor report on Friday. Prior to that release, however, there was generally positive data announced on other sectors of the economy. Early in the week, the Institute for Supply Management announced that non-manufacturing activity expanded for the 19th consecutive month. Similar to the manufacturing sector, though, activity continues to expand at a weakening pace.
Economic Doldrums Overshadowed By Financial Markets
Economic data will rule the airwaves this week, especially the nonfarm payroll report on Friday. Economists are not overly confident that June was the month where employment growth finally kicked into high gear ? a sentiment which is supported by relatively weak initial claims reports over the last four weeks. Central bank meetings will garner considerable attention this week as well. The European Central Bank alluded to the possibility of another 25 basis point rate hike last week and there is a strong likelihood that emerging market economies will also tighten policy rates.
Extending the Extended Period of Volatility
Personal income and consumer confidence will start the week with expectations of slightly higher numbers. On Tuesday, Case-Schiller data is expected to show moderate declines in home prices for April relative to March. The Treasury will follow its regular auction schedule this week with auctions of $35 billion worth of 2-yr notes, $35 billion of 5-yr notes and $29 billion of 7-yr notes. All eyes will be on Greece on Wednesday and Thursday, when Parliament will vote on the latest austerity plan. Greece noted that they will default if a new loan tranche is not available by mid month.
Markets, and Inflation, Take a Break
Equity markets endured six consecutive weeks of negative performance before eking out gains last week. The reprieve was welcomed but ultimately minor. Markets turned slightly more optimistic late last week on news regarding a new bailout package for Greece. Regardless of one?s opinion about the success potential of bailout packages, the uncertainty created by indecision has helped force markets lower in recent weeks. Economic data was decidedly mixed last week with some releases beating economists? expectations and others continuing to disappoint.
Money is Flowing, But Not to Where it is Most Needed
Bernanke gave a speech indicating that we might be facing a period of temporary weakness. He said, ?growth seems likely to pick up somewhat in the second half of the year.? Whether Bernanke ultimately turns out to be right is uncertain, but some indicators this week supported that notion. One depiction of that phenomenon is the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index, that measures the number of economic releases surprising to the upside or downside. After reaching a peak in March, the ESI plummeted, reaching a low on June 3rd. Since that point, the index gradually began to rebound.
Nasty Week Leaves Economy With More Than A Few Bruises
At the start of the week, regional and national manufacturing reports showed a deceleration in the manufacturing growth rate. It was widely expected that manufacturing activity would slow after reaching a peak of 61.4 in February, but few economists realized the severity of the slowdown in May. The ISM PMI dropped from 60.4 in April to 53.5 in May. In the past decade, no other month-to-month decline was as large as the one in May. The second largest fall occurred just after September 11, 2001 (-5.4) However, at that time, the economy was already in the midst of a recession, not a recovery.
Recovery Shows Signs of Cracking
There was a limited amount of economic data released last week, and most of it turned out to be disappointing. The second revision to GDP showed the economy growing at an annual rate of 1.8% in the first quarter. Though the headline figure was unchanged, several important changes occurred in the data. Specifically, the Bureau of Economic Analysis stated that consumer demand actually rose at a 2.2% annual pace in the quarter, down from the 2.7% annual rate reported. Overall, GDP was weaker than feared in the first quarter as higher inventories and not consumer spending drove expansion.
Results 101–150 of 232 found.