26 Feb 2018

Who is Jay Powell?

On February 5th, Jerome ‘Jay’ Powell was sworn in as the 16th Chairman of the Federal Reserve, following Janet Yellen, who served one term starting in 2014. Powell’s first day on the job was the sharpest day of the recent stock market selloff, when the S&P 500 lost more than four percent. I don’t think that the market fell because of the new Fed Chair, but I have read a… Read More

13 Feb 2018

Stock Market Correction: The Early Autopsy

While I think it’s far too early to say that the correction is over, the sharp rallies over the past two days are welcome signals that suggest the forced selling that characterized last week’s sharp daily losses may be over. My view of the recent market selloff has two components.  First, as I outlined on last Monday, February 5th (click here for the article), I believe that the initial cause… Read More

5 Feb 2018

What the Heck Just Happened?

What the heck happened?  Stocks were rolling along, picking up steam even, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, ‘POW!’, the index hit a wall. In reality though, while the move lower was a surprise, it wasn’t really all that surprising.  It’s true that I couldn’t have told you the week before that stocks would have fallen sharply last week, but a move like this really isn’t out… Read More

22 Nov 2017

The Curve is Falling… The Curve is Falling!

The yield curve has been a very hot topic lately in the financial news media.  Multiple times a day, there are commentators pointing to the yield curve as a sign that markets are on the verge of imploding.  Is it time to panic? The Federal Reserve has continued to push short term rates higher throughout 2017.  Long term rates have responded by falling 10 bps.  This has led to a… Read More

30 Oct 2017

How the Fed Could Change

According to reports Friday, President Trump is expected to announce his choice for Fed Chair sometime next week. Sources in the White House say the list of candidates has been narrowed down to three, current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Fed Governor Jerome Powell and Stanford University economics professor John Taylor. The “Taylor Rule”, named after the same Taylor who is being considered by President Trump, was first introduced in an… Read More

2 Aug 2017

The End of LIBOR

LIBOR’s reign as “The World’s Most Important Number” is almost over and the banking world is in for a period of transition as a result. The problem isn’t because of dwindling usage, but because of issues in the way it has been calculated and manipulated over time. While LIBOR is used as a reference rate in a wide range of lending products, it is actually calculated from a survey of… Read More

17 Apr 2017

The Fed’s Next Move

During the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserved used a variety of tactics to stabilize the economy and financial system.  First they cut interest rates, but when they got to zero and couldn’t cut anymore, they started buying bonds in the open market in a process call quantitative easing (QE). The program was controversial because a lot of people thought that it would stoke inflation.  While that didn’t come to… Read More

13 Mar 2017

Meet the Fed’s FOMC

The Federal Reserve will obviously be in focus this week and we talk about the Fed and its members a lot and I suspect that not everyone quite knows how the Fed works.  Today is a quick primer. The Federal Reserve System was created by the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 to serve as a formal lender of last resort to banks during panics and times of a liquidity crisis…. Read More

19 Dec 2016

Bond Market Fascinations: An Interview

Since the election, interest rates have risen across the curve.  The Federal Reserve raised short term interest rates last week for the first time this year, but perhaps more importantly, longer term rates have also risen, which means falling bond prices. Right now, the Barclays Aggregate Bond index is still positive for the year, but the gains are muted, especially compared to the 5.8 percent gain that they enjoyed just… Read More

30 Nov 2016

Inflation On The Horizon

Interest rates are higher and once again it has a lot of investors paying attention to the interest rate risk in their portfolio. Since the Ten-year yield dropped to 2% at the depth of the financial crisis we have had multiple periods of volatility in the bond market when rates rose only to fall back down or in some cases go even lower. Each time the reason was a little… Read More