Fed Note

The Federal Open Market Committee had no further policy moves to announce after their meetings this week. This follows lowering rates dramatically in March, to a minimum level of 0.00-0.25%, to counteract anticipated economic effects of the coronavirus. Other current tools being used include unlimited buying of treasury and agency mortgage-backed bonds, designed to keep interest rates contained to a desired low level. Extensive facilities are also in place to help provide liquidity for domestic fixed income markets and even some ETFs.

In their formal statement, the FOMC discussed the hardships from the virus, and disruptions caused. The zero-rate target is expected to remain until they’re ‘confident that the economy has weathered recent events’. With a limited set of policy tools remaining, the public’s confidence in their role in supporting the economy and financial markets as needed remains very important.

The metrics behind the key decision pillars have deteriorated sharply in the last month or two, from relatively strong to about the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s:

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 4-27-2020

  • Economic data for the week continues to reflect the current extreme slowdown, increasingly, as the March and April numbers are calculated and released. Jobless claims continued to come in at all-time highs, durable goods orders fell, and housing has begun to be affected as well.
  • Global equity markets fell back last week due to concerns over plummeting oil prices, continued uncertainty over Covid lockdown timelines, and possible profit-taking. Bonds were little changed. Commodities were strongly affected by a drop in crude oil prices below zero briefly, before recovering a bit.

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 4-20-2020

  • Economic news, per the new norm, reflected a slowing economy from Covid-related shutdowns. This included disappointing results in retail sales, regional manufacturing, housing, and employment.
  • Global equity markets were mixed on the week, displaying far less volatility than in recent weeks, as hopes rose for reopening of the global economy sooner than later. Government bonds gained slightly, as interest rates ticked downward, faring better than corporates. Commodities were mixed, with volatility in crude oil continuing due to falling global demand.

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 4-13-2020

  • Economic data included tempered produce and consumer inflation figures, and sharply negative results, as expected, for jobless claims, job openings, and consumer sentiment. Impact from coronavirus-related economic shutdowns have begun to filter into official economic data, which is likely to continue in coming months.
  • On a shortened Good Friday week, global equity markets gained sharply as hopes for a flattening of new coronavirus infections boosted investor sentiment. Bonds were mixed, as interest rates ticked higher—helping corporate credit—while governments sold off. Commodities were mixed, with energy markets softer, while metals gained ground.

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 4-06-2020

  • Economic data continued to reflect a slowdown in activity as the result of the coronavirus, although last month’s releases were mixed to some degree, based on when the results were measured. A toll can already be seen in ISM non-manufacturing and employment.
  • U.S. and foreign equity markets fell back on continued uncertainty over economic impact from the coronavirus, and anticipation of a difficult few weeks ahead. U.S. bonds gained, upon government purchase support and a general investor avoidance of risk. Commodities gained as crude oil bounced sharply upon rumors of an OPEC production cut being discussed.

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 3-30-2020

  • Economic news for the week was largely focused on dramatic actions from Congress and the Federal Reserve, intended to stem damage from the coronavirus-related shutdowns that have just begun. Other released data from months prior to the virus outbreak is now largely considered ‘stale’, but included mixed results for new home sales and durable goods orders.
  • Global equity markets rebounded sharply last week as extensive stimulus measures in the U.S. and Europe raised optimism about the global economy slogging through the months ahead. Bonds also fared well, especially in corporates as new government facilities improved sentiment and liquidity. Commodities were mixed with gold faring well while oil remained weak.

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 3-23-2020

  • Economic news last week was largely dwarfed by the dramatic efforts in progress by Congress and the Federal Reserve to stem the tide of economic and financial market damage from coronavirus-related shutdowns. Other released data included weaker retail sales and manufacturing indexes, while housing data exceeded expectations.
  • Global equity markets experienced their worst week since the financial crisis, with medical and economic fallout from the coronavirus expected to drive the world economy into recession. Bonds were also mixed, with U.S. treasuries providing some safe haven benefit, while corporate bonds suffered as spreads widened, particularly in mid- and lower-quality issues. Commodity values also fell, led by new multi-year lows in oil prices due to Russia-Saudi production and policy conflicts.

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COVID-19 PART 3…THE SAGA CONTINUES

LSA members, please make sure to login to http://www.LSAbeta.com to register for the LIVE webinar tomorrow morning, 3/20/20 at 10 AM Central.  You can find the link in the “News & Announcements/Bulletin Board” feed.  You should have also received an email with the login information as well (keep an eye on Junk/Clutter/Spam).  We look forward to hosting you!

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 3-16-2020

  • In a very light week for economic data, producer prices fell sharply in February, while consumer prices increased slightly. Consumer sentiment also declined a bit, likely in keeping with uncertainty over coronavirus effects. However, over the weekend, the Federal Reserve cut rates by a percent again to near zero in an effort to help stem economic damage.
  • Global equity markets were severely challenged, to say the least, with U.S. markets experiencing their worst one-day percentage drop since 1987, and worst overall week since the financial crisis, bringing declines into bear market territory. Bonds lost ground on net, with yields rebounding after hitting all-time lows for some maturities. Commodities also fared poorly, with continued weakness in oil prices.

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LIVE TODAY: Market Update, Volatility and Revisions

REMINDER to join our LIVE webinar today at 11 AM Central.  To register:  CLICK HERE!

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Model Update, Market Volatility & Portfolio Changes

Join us tomorrow, March 13, 2020 for a LIVE webinar.  We will be discussing model portfolio updates, volatility and model revisions.  To register,  please CLICK HERE.

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Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 3-09-2020

  • Economic data last week included slower ISM manufacturing, but stronger ISM non-manufacturing/services, construction spending and a positive employment report on Friday, which surpassed expectations.
  • U.S. and foreign equity markets experienced another topsy-turvy week, ending with a net gain. Investors continued to react to new cases and spread of the coronavirus. Bonds fared well, due to the ongoing flight to safety as interest rates again reached new all-time lows. Commodities were highlighted by extremely weak crude oil prices, and strength in precious metals.

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