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Posts Tagged ‘economic activity’

Wall Street Economist v. Rick Davis: Mano a Mano

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 1st, 2010 10:37 AM |

I love a good debate, or at the very least a healthy response to a challenging statement. I witnessed just such an exchange yesterday.

I shared my story, Rick Davis Nailed 1st Qtr 2010 GDP Report on November 30, 2009, with a noted Wall Street economist, with whom I am friendly and whom I hold in high regard. Recall that in the aformentioned story, I highlighted that Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute is projecting a double dip recession with a 2nd Qtr 2010 GDP reading of -1.5% and a 3rd Qtr GDP reading of -2.0%.

In sharing that commentary with this well known economist, I received the following response: (more…)

Review of Economy, Fed Reserve Statement, and Market

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 29th, 2009 2:57 PM |

The Federal Reserve released its regular statement on the economy at 2:15pm. The statement includes:

1. no change in the Fed’s interest rate policy with the Fed Funds rate remaining between 0-.25%.

2. no change in the Fed’s asset purchase program of government and mortgage-backed securities. 

3. overall economic activity remains weak but the pace of decline is slowing.

4. inflation remains below the Fed’s long term target.

5. the Fed will employ all available tools at its disposal to help the economy recover.

The equity markets are having a strong upward move today based not on the Fed’s statement but reaction to the DRAMATIC decline in inventories reflected in this morning’s VERY weak GDP report. If an equity market rallying after a VERY weak GDP report seems counterintuitive it is due to the fact that if and when consumer demand picks up it will drive production.

In my opinion, banking on a pickup in consumer demand is a big if. With credit tight and likely to remain tight, I believe our economy needs to and will adjust to lessened demand. 

The WSJ comments on this economic activity, U.S. Economy Shrank At 6.1% In First Quarter:

Weaker investment in housing combined with the enormous inventory adjustment to pull the economy downward. But the aggressive drawdown of stockpiles of goods, while hurting the economy in the short run, is beneficial because it is an important step toward bringing inventories under control and ending a production freefall. U.S. industrial production retreated a fifth straight month in March, recent data show. Over the past 12 months, output was down nearly 13%. Capacity use by industries receded to 69.3%, a historical low since records began in 1967.

One area of concern for me is the uptick in prices. Although economists and analysts are panning the near term inflation risks, in my opinion, this risk should not be underestimated. The increase in prices in today’s GDP report has received little coverage, but 

Price indicators within Wednesday’s report suggested inflationary pressures rose in first-quarter 2009, easing fears of deflation. For instance, the price index for personal consumption expenditures fell by 1.0%, a decline much smaller than the fall of 4.9% in the fourth-quarter 2008. The PCE price gauge excluding food and energy rose 1.5%, after increasing 0.9% in the fourth quarter.

Free money in the form of a 0-.25% Fed Funds rate will continue to help banks recover but government deficits as far as the eye can see must be addressed. If the economy stabilizes, look for interest rates to ratchet higher. 

In fact, in today’s trading government bonds are down and rates are back to the highs seen last November. 


A Virtual Smorgasbord

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 2nd, 2009 4:24 PM |

On the heels of the news about AIG, Berkshire, and HSBC, the equity markets have found no support today and are down 4%. While the malaise of the markets has much of the focus, let’s review a few other items that I see on today’s menu:

1. In regard to AIG, current CEO Edward Liddy and former CEO Hank Greenberg have started some public feuding over the nature of AIG’s problems. Greenberg is trying to make the case that the risks underwritten at AIG occurred after his departure. Liddy responded that the culture, the compensation system, and the division housing the bulk of AIG’s risk all developed under Greenberg.  Wow!! When our country is screaming for leadership, we have senior executives playing the blame game and pointing fingers. How pathetic!! (more…)

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