Category Archives: Blitzer’s Insights

Bubbles and Housing

Home prices nationally are rising two to three times faster than inflation. They are up 5.5% from a year ago with some cities rising at double-digit rates. Looking at the chart of the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, many are wondering if we’re in another housing bubble. While prices are rising, the following charts Read more […]

Inflation and the Fed

Despite today’s very low inflation the Fed keeps raising interest rates and is now discussing when to shrink its balance sheet to further tighten monetary policy.  The Fed’s own inflation forecast anticipates continued low inflation at 1.6% in 2017 creeping up to 2% in 2018 and 2019 and not seeing any increase later on. Moreover, Read more […]

Debt Rising

Outstanding household debt reached a new high in the 2017 first quarter, surpassing the level set in the 2008 third quarter when Lehman Brothers failed and the financial crisis arose. Despite worrisome comments in the press, there is no cause for concern.  First, default rates on mortgages, auto loans and revolving credit are as low Read more […]

Inflation

Supported by a stronger economy and higher oil prices, recent readings of inflation are rising. The Fed’s principal gauge, the personal consumption expenditures deflator excluding food and energy (Core PCE) is approaching but still below its 2% target. The more widely recognized CPI and CPI excluding food and energy are both rising and a bit Read more […]

The Source of Uncertainty

In 2017 politics, not economics will be the major source of market uncertainty.  The world’s major economies moved past the financial crisis and Great Recession: unemployment rates are at more acceptable levels and central banks are discussing the end of quantitative easing. Equity markets in the US and the UK made new all-time highs while Read more […]

Surging US Dollar

The US dollar continues to advance against most developed market currencies as analysts point to rising US interest rates and expectations of tax cuts and increased federal spending as reasons to expect further gains. One might expect investors to shift their fixed income investments to markets with higher interest rates. Since rates are currently higher Read more […]

Round Numbers and the Dow

As the Dow Jones Industrial Average approaches the 20,000 level everyone seems to be suddenly fascinated with the figure. People who rarely ask if the market is up or down want to know if the Dow will cross this supposed benchmark today. Journalists   with years sent covering the markets want to know what 20,000 means.  Read more […]

The Turning Point

Thirty-five years ago on September 30, 1981 the 10 Year treasury yield peaked at 15.85%.  With a few bumps it has slid downward ever since – until now. The events of the last few weeks moved interest rates higher and added about 25 bp to the ten year treasury.  Even allowing for some near-term volatility Read more […]

The Fed: No Change In Rates Amidst Puzzling Policies

Questions and some answers on issues facing, or created at, the Fed Raise Rates? Not very likely next week at the September 21st FOMC meeting.  Recent data including August jobs report, declines in Industrial Production and Retail Sales and comments from FOMC members argue against a move now.  The November 2nd meeting is just days Read more […]

What’s Next from the Fed

Last weekend the Federal Reserve held its annual symposium at Jackson Hole Wyoming and discussed near and longer term monetary issues. No Rate hike in September There are three FOMC meetings remaining this year: September 21st, November 2nd and December 14th. While there is no rule that all interest rate target changes must come at Read more […]