Category Archives: Blitzer’s Insights

Replacing LIBOR

LIBOR – the London Interbank Offered Rate — is the benchmark for over $300 trillion of loans, derivatives and other financial instruments.  LIBOR started in the syndicated loan market of the 1960s; today it is quoted in different currencies and maturities. Following scandals in 2012-2013, LIBOR is being replaced and will disappear in 2021. For Read more […]

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 […]