3 Jun 2024

Is the Yield Curve Broken?

As regular readers of this letter know, we are not big believers in forecasts. We believe that forecasting future economic and market conditions is about as reliable as a long-term weather forecast in St Louis. However, many relationships have a history of moving together. When one changes, it can often be wise to take notice. The strongest of these indicators has been the Yield Curve. The Yield Curve refers to… Read More

8 Jan 2024

Amid Soft-Landing Talk, Leading Indicators Still Signal Recession

Last year at this time, I was heartily in the camp that the US would enter a recession in 2023. I’m always fine being wrong (it happens more than I care to admit), but I’m especially happy that we didn’t enter a recession. Part of my thinking is a chart that we will see a later in this Insight that shows the drawdown of Leading Economic Indicators. I won’t bury… Read More

10 Jul 2023

Lessons from the Land of the Rising Sun

When I was in high school, Japan Inc. seemed invincible. Their economy was booming, which pushed up their real estate and stock markets, and a handful of over-the-top events like the purchase of Rockefeller Plaza by Japanese investors and the sale of Van Gogh’s Portrait of Doctor Cachet sold for $82.5 million (or $189.5 million in today’s dollars). From 1970-1989, the Japanese stock market, according to MSCI, gained 16.9 percent… Read More

12 Jun 2023

The Bond Market is of Mixed Minds about a Recession

One of the things that I hear all the time these days is that the bond market and the stock market aren’t in agreement about whether a recession is coming. Usually, I hear this from someone who thinks that the bond market is right and that the stock market will correct sharply when the recession comes. And in fact, bond investors are giving strong signals of a recession from the… Read More

30 Jan 2023

Acropolis Investor Social Day

As I noted last week, this year’s Investor Social is full beyond capacity, so unless you’ve already reserved a spot, I won’t see you in person tonight. Not to worry, we’re going to find a bigger venue next year and may try and figure out video for a webcast (we’ll see). I don’t want to steal too much of my own thunder and am kind of wiped out from preparing,… Read More

31 Oct 2022

When Recessions End

I’ve written about recessions a half dozen times this year, probably because it’s obvious to everyone that the risk of a recession is very high. A recession is not certain, and a handful of economists think we can avoid it (including the Federal Reserve staff economists, apparently), but I think common sense dictates that a recession is likely. Last week, the yield on the 10-year note was less than the… Read More

3 Oct 2022

Returns: Before, During and After Recessions

My article from last week,¬†which you can read here, prompted a few people to ask derivations of, “Why don’t we sell our stocks – or at least reduce them – until the recession is over and sidestep some losses?” It’s an understandable question, but it makes me uncomfortable because I have some powerful memories of the 2008 global financial crisis when clients who bailed out of the market still felt… Read More

27 Jun 2022

The Chance of Recession

Last week, I promised to discuss the odds of entering a recession in more depth and suggested that a financial crisis is less likely this time (but you never know). If you missed it, you can read it here. I also referenced a talk I saw by local Fed official Bill Emmons, who highlighted the possibility of a recession in 2018. He wasn’t right about that (well, he only said… Read More

21 Jun 2022

And Now: Some Good News

The most salient question today is whether or not the US and the rest of the world will enter a recession. The answer, of course, is that, at some point, we will enter a recession. I think that a much harder question is when we enter a recession. I’ve heard a few people say that we’re in one now because the first quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was negative, and… Read More

11 Apr 2022

Economists Estimate the Probability of Recession

In the market summary above, I referenced the fact that the yield on the ten-year Treasury note is back above the yield on the two-year Treasury note. There was a relatively brief period where that wasn’t true, and a lot of consternation in the media and among investors that the inverted yield curve (when the shorter-term yield is higher than the longer-term yield) meant a recession was coming. In my… Read More