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  • Published
    March 5, 2012

    Economic comments, week ending March 3

    Economic news was mostly positive again this week, but many remain skeptical about the durability of the recovery. Some will wait till next week to see if the U.S. economy was robust enough to generate a third month in a row of 200,000-plus jobs. Concern about the European sovereign debt crisis has moved to the back-burner. Most equity and bond markets were modestly higher. Credit spreads narrowed. The U.S. …

  • Published
    February 20, 2012

    Economic comments, week ending Feb. 17

    Economic news was mostly positive for the week. In fact, ISI’s Economist Nancy Lazar reported that this has been the 20th successive week of positive economic news for the U.S. Still, the geopolitical tension around the Greek bailout ruled the capital markets. Signs of an agreement gave the equity markets a spurt. Bond markets, the U.S. dollar and credit spreads were mixed. Energy prices were higher; Gold prices …

  • Published
    January 23, 2012

    Economic comments, week ending Jan. 20

    This week’s releases were positive for U.S. growth and well-contained inflationary pressure. Equity prices were higher and government bond prices were lower. Credit spreads narrowed, which generated higher relative year-to-date returns for spread-product (high yield plus corporate). The dollar slipped, energy prices fell and metals prices rose. Prices on natural gas plunged to the lowest level in a decade. …

  • Published
    January 16, 2012

    Economic comments, week ending Jan. 14

    After a string of positive economic releases for the U.S. economy, this past week’s U.S. releases were on the softer side. European releases continued to be softer as European countries also faced the prospects of S&P downgrades of their debt. Nonetheless, the impact of these reports must have been already been incorporated in capital markets prices. Equity and bond markets were higher and corporate credit …

  • Published
    December 19, 2011

    Economic comments, week ending Dec. 16

    Disappointment in the European Summit follow-up and in the lack of more accommodation on the part of the U.S. FOMC sent investors to seek safe harbors despite continued strengthening in the U.S. economy. Equity markets declined, Government Bond markets rallied, and Credit spreads widened on the week. The U.S. dollar rallied but Commodity prices declined. Perspective The approaching holiday season has …

  • Published
    November 28, 2011

    Economic comments, week ending Nov. 25

    Economic releases continued to support the expansion scenario in the U.S., but not in Europe. Even though the U.S. recovery has been within the expansion range, the capital markets reacted to the increased likelihood that a recession in Europe could lead to a global contraction. The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to meet its deadline added fuel to the fire. Investors demanded more return for the …

  • Published
    October 24, 2011

    Economic Comments, week ending Oct. 21

    This past week’s releases show some signs of gradual improvement but also the start of a pick-up of inflationary pressures in the headline measurements, including food and energy. Third quarter corporate earnings reports have been strong. None of this mattered to capital market participants who were mesmerized by the soap opera surrounding the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. In this environment the equity and …

  • Published
    September 26, 2011

    Economic comments, week ending Sept. 23

    This week’s Economic releases and Fed comments heightened worries of a double dip contraction. Concern that a Greek default or restructuring could have a “Lehman-like” impact weighed heavily on the markets. In the midst of this, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee met, acknowledged the weakness, and announced a bigger-than-expected “twist” strategy (see below). Equity markets and credit markets sold off …

  • Published
    August 7, 2011

    Economic comments, week ending Aug. 5

    The July U.S. employment report surprised on the upside as one of the few exceptions to this week’s otherwise soft economic releases. The debt ceiling compromised in Washington led to an agreement that avoided default on U.S. debt, but the brinkmanship and hardened positions on top of the weak economic releases caused a collapse of the equity markets across the globe. The S&P rating agency weighed in with a …

  • Published
    July 18, 2011

    Economic comments, week ending July 15

    This week’s economic releases supported the soft patch case, but silliness in Washington and the continued sovereign debt crisis in the Euro-zone captured the markets’ attention. Ireland became the third Eurozone country to have its debt downgraded to below investment grade; i.e., junk. One positive byproduct of the soft patch is lower inflationary pressures. Equity markets declined. Bond markets gained on a …

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