Category Archives: Blitzer’s Insights

Sea Change at the Fed

Today’s Fed announcement keeping the Fed funds target range at 2.25% to 2.5% was more than simply leaving rates unchanged for the moment. Behind the headlines are changes in their expectations for inflation and the economy and adjustments in their operating procedures: The FOMC will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the Read more […]

Watching For Recession

Recent anxiety about an imminent recession sparked discussion of inverted yield curves and falling long term interest rates, The slope of the yield curve – the difference between the yield on the five or 10 year treasury note and a short term instrument like three month T-bills – may signal a recession. The chart shows Read more […]

Recession Chatter

Inspired, or worried, by the stock market there is more and more talk of a recession in 2019. To look past the usual comment that the stock market predicted nine of the last five recessions, a short list of positive and negative signals: Why There Won’t be an Early Recession Economy has momentum, growing faster Read more […]

S&P 500 Drops 90 points

Why? Trade Hopes dashed – It turned out a deal with China wasn’t quite yet a done deal. Politicians should be reminded that markets move much faster than trade negotiations or Congress. Yield Curve approaching inversion – Five-year drops below two-year, but maybe we should wait for the ten year to drop too. Rising Interest Read more […]

Housing Slows

Sales of new and existing single-family homes have fallen since their recent high in November 2017 while pending home sales are flat to down so far this year.  Starts of new single-family homes are volatile but also remain below the peak seen at the end of 2017.  Recent press reports of declining activity in several Read more […]

Hurricanes, Housing and the Fed

With this morning’s S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report that house prices continue to rise even as existing home sales flatten out, analysts are debating if the hoped-for recovery from Hurricane Florence could reignite home sales or simply mean upward price pressure on housing and construction. Current damage estimates for Florence are close to Read more […]

Debt and Recovery Ten Years Later

Debt – actually too much debt – played a leading role in the 2008 financial crisis.  A mortgage borrowing binge and a flood of mortgage backed securities set the stage for the collapse of Lehman Brothers and recession that followed. In the immediate aftermath almost every part of the economy went through a period of Read more […]

Why is the GICS Telecommunications Sector Becoming the Communication Services Sector?

With the number of telecom companies shrinking, it is clear that communications is much bigger than telecom – Communication Services includes any content delivered on networks.  The old Telecommunications Sector was vanishing because it was missing new and popular ways people communicate now. GICS – the Global Industry Classification Standard – is widely used to Read more […]

Yield Curve Anxiety

The slope of the yield curve is a good recession predictor. When the curve is inverted – when the yield on three month T-bills is greater than the yield on the ten year T-Note – a recession is imminent. Similar signals can be seen if the T-bill is replaced by a two- or three-year T-Note Read more […]

Low Inflation isn’t Unusual

Fed watchers and bond holders worry that inflation could spike, tempting the Fed to boost rates much farther than the current half percentage point the market expects in the rest of 2018.  With the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank’s policy makers, meeting today and tomorrow these concerns are front and center.  This morning’s Read more […]