Posted by Larry Doyle on May 2nd, 2013 8:04 AM |
When you come to a fork in the road . . . take it.
In the early years of the last decade, I had the pleasant experience of attending a dinner for a major client at which Yogi Berra was a guest speaker. As a lifelong baseball fan — and by the way, how ’bout those Red Sox? — I looked forward to hearing Yogi regale us with legendary tales about the great Yankee teams.
He started his delivery by unequivocally stating, “I am not good at giving talks, so just go ahead and ask me some questions.” He entertained us with a slew of his famous non-sequiturs in fine fashion.
I thought of Yogi and that dinner when the Federal Reserve released its statement on the economy yesterday afternoon. (Do you notice a facial similarity between Ben and Yogi?) Having read Fed releases for the last thirty years, I am hard pressed to ever remember a statement as ambiguous as this put out yesterday:
Posted by Larry Doyle on April 28th, 2012 9:17 AM |
This commentary is a little lengthy but a great and absolute MUST READ!! LD
Who really runs America?
The media may actively and aggressively debate the pandering provided by those on both ends of the political spectrum. But to whom do these pols really answer? The American public? I do not think so.
The Washington establishment strikes me as little more than puppets played by the one controlling the money. Who might that be? The all powerful and, all assertions to the contrary, perpetually opaque Federal Reserve.
Let’s navigate deep into the chambers of the New York Federal Reserve. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 28th, 2011 7:56 AM |
Is there really any doubt that virtually all our markets, especially commodities and with the exception of real estate, have been propped higher as a direct or indirect result of the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing? I have no doubt.
The question remains outstanding just how far the Fed, in concert with its banking friends on Wall Street, has gone and will go to further manipulate our markets. That question may never be fully answered. What a shame! For those who believe a preponderance of truth, transparency, and integrity are the cornerstones for long term fiscal health and financial well being our markets remain a decidedly challenging arena.
In light of this reality and with the end of QE2 on the horizon this June, where do we go from here? A reader posed that very question the other day. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on September 22nd, 2010 5:12 AM |
Almost three full years from the official start of The Great Recession and fifteen months from its end, and our economy continues to limp along and languish amidst the weight of ongoing — even unrecognized — debts. Can we take a double dose of Nyquil, chase it with some Irish Mist, and hope we wake up feeling better in the morning? If it were only that easy.
The simple fact is our economy is battling a serious bout of seemingly terminal ‘walking pneumonia.’ How might we diagnose that malady? All we need to do is read yesterday’s Release from the Federal Reserve:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in August indicates that the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 24th, 2010 8:27 AM |
Why is it that the very people who saved and invested to finance a lot of the growth in our nation are now the very ones being penalized by the exceptionally low interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve? While Ben Bernanke and his Washington cronies maintain that our economy needs these artificially induced government driven interest rates, the very fact is these anemic rates are crushing those citizens in our country who live on fixed incomes and rolled their CDs. While savers are getting waxed on one side of the coin, the banks are sticking it to our brethren who rely on credit lines from their credit cards on the other side. That’s business, you say? No, that is not purely business. In the midst of an economy dominated by the government, our current interest rate and credit card policies are nothing more than invisible taxes on both savers and consumers alike.
There are two sides to this coin and on both sides banks are squeezing American citizens. Savings rates have plummeted while borrowing rates via credit cards move higher. Both these points are highlighted in recent commentaries. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on October 15th, 2009 11:03 AM |
Inflation? Deflation? What is it going to be? As we continue to navigate the economic landscape, that question – perhaps more than any other – is of paramount concern. As I assess the economy and the markets, I envision the following:
> Ongoing deflationary pressures in real estate. Foreclosures hit a record level based on a report this morning.
> A likely increase in deflationary pressures from wages as unemployment continues to increase, hours worked do not pick up, and average hourly earnings are stagnant. How are corporations reporting earnings? Not from growth in top line revenue, but from cutting costs, including headcount.
I firmly believe these two overriding forces most concern the Fed and the threat that the deflationary forces could grow if not counteracted. How does the Fed counteract these pressures? Keep the liquidity pump running via a 0-.25% Fed Funds rate and now increased speculation of perhaps more quantitative easing in the form of purchasing more mortgage-backed securities.
What has been the result of all this liquidity running into the system? A significant decline in the value of our dollar. What does that create? Inflation. That’s good, right? A little inflation will provide some pricing power which supports our equity market. Not so fast. The inflation is not directly addressing the deflationary pressures in real estate and likely deflationary pressure in wages. The inflation is being generated primarily in commodities. What does that mean? Prices for food, gas, oil, and other raw material inputs will increase. As those prices increase, the cost of living in America will increase. Regrettably, that increase in cost of living will not be offset by an increase in wages.
Daily Finance provides a preview of the coming rise in food prices in writing, Sticker Shock at the Supermarket: Food Prices Poised to Rise:
If there’s any silver lining to a recession — albeit a thin one — it’s that consumer prices typically go down. Make no mistake, deflation is a sign of a sick economy, but at least the net effect of cheaper prices for the basic necessities — food, clothing and shelter — helps folks get by when they are struggling to make ends meet.
But consumers should brace themselves for things to change, especially at the supermarket. As the global and U.S. economies emerge from the downturn, economists predict that there is going to be some sticker shock at the checkout line. Food prices, they say, are heading higher and when you combine that with an unemployment rate that’s expected to linger near a three-decade high for at least another year, it’s even more unwelcome news.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects overall food prices to rise as much as 4 percent in the U.S. by the end of 2010. Yet, some economists think they could climb by as much as 5 percent. Even using the government’s more conservative numbers, the price for eggs is forecast to rise 3 percent and beef is seen increasing 2 percent. Lamb, seafood and fish? All three categories are expected to jump as much as 5 percent.
A 5 percent boost in your grocery bill may not seem terribly devastating, but consider this: If you spend $300 a week on groceries now, you’ll need to squeeze a raise of about a thousand dollars a year out of your boss (don’t forget withholding tax) just to keep up with higher chicken, beef, pork and dairy prices. Good luck accomplishing that little feat with a 9.8 percent unemployment rate and companies looking into every nook and cranny in order to cut costs.
Why again are these prices poised to increase?
the weak U.S. dollar means we will be exporting more of our homegrown food overseas, causing prices to rise at home.
The consumer will continue to get squeezed, but the wizards in Washington will be able to pronounce that the overall level of inflation is stable. Really?
-3 + 3 = 0 is not the same as 0 + 0 = 0 !!!
What a world.
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 12th, 2009 11:10 AM |
It’s getting late but the party is going strong. The chaperone is growing weary and knows it is time for a graceful exit. The partygoers, however, are having so much fun; their youthful exuberance and enthusiasm is peaking after a difficult stretch. What is the next dance that will break out?
Welcome to the world of Wall Street and Washington, August 12, 2009. Today all eyes are on Ben Bernanke as the Federal Reserve wraps up their two-day meeting, with a Fed release at 2:15pm.
How will Ben thread the needle in the process of keeping the inflation hawks at bay while not spoiling the current Wall Street bash? ‘Fed-speak’ is carefully scripted and typically all encompassing. In so many words, Bernanke will highlight the progress made to date, while simultaneously invoking the need for continued support given underlying economic concerns.
From a practical standpoint, there is little doubt Bernanke will again reiterate his message of leaving the Fed Fund rates at 0-.25% for ‘an extended period.’ He will likely try to spin the expected end of the Fed’s quantitative easing program as purely a function of the ongoing economic recovery.
The concern, though, remains that Ben will let the party get overly rambunctious. Don’t think for a second that the Wall Street crowd is not already feeling ‘mighty good’ and ‘well lubricated’ looking forward to a quick return to those outsized bonuses thanks to Ben’s easy money policy.
In short, figuratively Ben will look to leave the festivities but will leave his credit card so the boys can rock on.
Where are the cops?
Bernanke Promises to Keep ‘Punch Bowl’ Filled (July 21, 2009)
Fed May Recognize Faster Growth, Keep Rates ‘Exceptionally Low’
by Steve Matthews and Vivien Lou Chen
Bloomberg; August 12, 2009