Category Archives: Blitzer’s Insights

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 […]

How Will It End?

The Fed is raising interest rates, the yields on Treasury notes are climbing, the stock market just had a hyper-speed correct, VIX spiked and the inflation numbers are worrying.  Is there a message buried in all these data? Maybe not a clear message, but one sure thing and some hints.  The sure thing is that Read more […]

Inflation News and Fears

Two weeks ago inflation fears sparked by a surprise jump in wage gains sent the markets into a tail spin. This week will deliver two rounds of inflation news with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on Wednesday and the Producer Price Index (PPI) on Thursday.  Month to month changes in both the CPI and PPI Read more […]

Turning Point in Bond Yields

The ten year Treasury note closed with a yield over 2.5% this week, sparking talk that interest rates may have bottomed. The first chart shows the yield on the 10 year treasury going all the way back to 1953.  As seen there, the bottom in July 2016 at 1.5%. Last March the yield was 2.5%, Read more […]

A Bit of Long History

Houses or Stocks Either could be an investment, if only we knew which would perform better?  We don’t, but a recently released academic paper, “The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870-2015” offers understanding and some unexpected facts from the past.  The paper covers 16 developed markets and compiles the real and nominal returns on equities, Read more […]