Category Archives: Blitzer’s Insights

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 […]

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 […]