06/09/14 – Our weekly perspective on the economy

R financial toolsI suppose at some point I’ll be correct. But, you know, that’s not important when it comes to two critical aspects of our lives: the weather and the economy. The real danger with both topics is not being prepared. Also, another danger is just considering the short-term gains, or losses, from the environment, whether natural or man-made. We believe in the “art of the long-view” here.

For the week ending June 6, 2014, the NASDAQ Bank Index, which we provide compliments of SNL Financial, gained more ground, surging nearly 100 points during the week. Bank stocks appear to have found their mojo. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also continued its race to the top, adding nearly 210 points for the week, closing at 16,924.28. That represents another record week for the Dow.

The calendar is packed this week with other interesting bits of data. Consumer sentiment, jobs, and producer prices are all on the docket. As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here.

05/12/14 – Our weekly perspective on the economy

R financial toolsIn good times and in bad times, there is one constant: bad governance. The surprising thing is that the market rarely takes this into consideration as long as bad governance doesn’t affect sales and profits. There is gnashing of the teeth. There is wringing of the hands. There is much commiseration. My heart bleeds for thee of fickle camaraderie.

So, as the market looks for higher and higher ground, we continue to struggle with the notion that bigger is better, higher is grander. It’s tough to sell. It’s a challenge for the poor marketing staff, too. But, alas, we do our best to forge ahead. Well, we sort.

For the week ending May 9, 2014, the NASDAQ Bank Index, which we provide compliments of SNL Financial, lost ground, giving up another 15 points during the week. Bank stocks can’t seem to find their footing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on the other hand, put on some weight for the week, adding just over 70 points and ending the week at 16,583.34.

There was decent news on the calendar last week, including positive signs in the service sector and a growing willingness to borrow. This week, we look to the NFIB and its small-business sentiment index, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, and one of our favorites, the Empire State index. As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here.

05/05/14 – Our weekly perspective on the economy


© Josiah Garber | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The Great Wait.

That’s how I would describe our economy. We’re waiting for it to happen. We’re sensing great things on the horizon. We have our dance shoes on. We have our cummerbunds fastened and corsages affixed for the big party. The market itself is looking for the disco ball indeed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another record high last week. It ended up for the week, about 150 points, at 16,512.89. The NASDAQ Bank Index ended on a down note, losing about 16 points from the week prior.

Things are not entirely doom and gloom. The three-year return for the NASDAQ Bank Index, according to SNL Financial, is nearly 37%, which outpaced the DJIA for the same period, but trailed the NASDAQ and the S&P 500. So, what are we waiting for?

I don’t mind waiting. I’m a patient person. The problem is not necessarily the waiting, but it is the waiting room. The global geopolitical morass continues to provide a great deal of angst. The national infrastructure and mindset need a makeover, if not an extreme makeover.  And the price of tea in China? Well, it’s actually the price of tea in Mombasa, Kenya. Regardless, it’s down over the same three-year period. So, we’ve got that going for us.

This week on the calendar: service sector data via the ISM, jobs data, more Yellen testimony, and the trade deficit. As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here.

04/28/14 – Our weekly perspective on the economy


© Graphics1976 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Last week saw additional losses in the both the broader market and in the banking sector. For the week ending April 25, 2014, the DJIA lost about 50 points as did the NASDAQ Bank Index, which we get via SNL Financial. With indicators raging in different directions, I find it apropos to suggest we are in a rudderless economy. With little leadership from within the Beltway and continued poker Fridays on Wall Street, we will drift.

Now, if American industry and workers perk up and says, “We’re not going to take it!” and focus on work, then I believe there is hope for far-reaching economic growth and sustenance. Even with that, many will continue to play the blame game and assert not their providential talents, but substitute the woe-is-me battle cry of entitlement. Rudderless.

As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here.

04/14/2014 – Our weekly perspective on the economy


Bank Stocks Ease, Cold Weather Returns, and the Economic Calendar

The second week of the quarter brings additional cooling in the markets. The NASDAQ Bank index, as presented by SNL Financial, dropped by an additional 4% for the week ending April 11, 2014. The index finished the week at 2542, down 108 points. The broader market also saw a selloff for the same period.

For the upcoming week, retail sales takes center stage. Early returns indicate a strong showing. The broader market has, in lockstep fashion, answered the call with positive numbers. I’m never surprised by the fickle nature of the market. It should be embarrassing at this point – capitalism as a cheap and often needy date. Remember the long term? Recall the advice of Warren Buffet and his mentor to all of us seeking value? What happened to the Intelligent Investor? As we prepare for the longer term, there are many things that we must consider:

  • Rates look to continue to increase. This will have a negative effect on the debt repayment capabilities for most folks, but it should help investment portfolio yields bounce back.
  • There are two major elections coming up in the next 30 months. Things look to change politically, economically, and culturally because of them.
  • Geopolitical unrest continues. Our skin in that game remains largely unseen to the everyday American as it’s wrapped up in a thick sweater made of US debt.

Not to be outdone, the Leading Indicators and the Beige Book are also on tap this week. We’ll also see freezing temperatures this week throughout much of the country. It figures. Taxes are also due. As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here.

04/07/2014 – Our weekly perspective on the economy


Bank Stocks Remain Flat, Potholes Abound, and the Economic Calendar

The first week of the quarter continued to bring a mixed bag of news. Though some indicators were positive, the stock market and key indices related to banks decreased or remained flat, respectively. The NASDAQ Bank Index, according to SNL Financial, gained 1% for the week, but that was after a heavy selloff on Friday, April 4. I have a sense that something big is needed. There is too much fat in the marketplace. With increases in technological efficiency (I’ll leave effectiveness off the table for now), there are too many input points in the financial services industry. There are too many players. There are too many retail outlets.

In the broader economy, I see the same thing. Technology will continue to drive down costs while creating greater and greater pressure on traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. Growth must come through greater investment in our physical infrastructure and not in the mere hoarding of things. We must make a conscious decision to fix what is broken, which will lead to broader, deeper job growth. Now, that’s harder said than done because the last thing we need is more deficit financing. I still see the need for greater advancement in technology when it comes to infrastructure. As a resident of New Jersey, I’m amazed we haven’t found a fix for the common pothole. But, I digress.

This week brings data on consumer confidence, the FOMC minutes, and the producer price index to name several items. Consumer credit is out first thing on Monday. Let’s see if we continue to borrow.

As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here.

03/31/2014 – Our weekly perspective on the economy

And yet another quarter passes. It’s been a cold, dreary quarter on the weather front. Equity markets have generally come down since 12/31/13. The DJIA was at 16,576.66 on this day. As of Friday, March 28, 2014, the DJIA stands at 16,323.06. It’s a small drop; some may say it’s inconsequential. However, it speaks to the public face of this market. And that face is a rather dower, sluggishly optimistic one.

The first week of this quarter brings us some of our favorite statistics. The first is the ISM – the Institute of Supply Management. The Chicago Purchase Managers Index is also on tap. Last week saw largely mixed economic news.

This is a great time – the end of the quarter – to review the macroeconomic environment as well as your microeconomic circumstances. Whether you are gauging lift in terms of sales or gathering data for your ALLL management, this is a great time to assess and analyze.

As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here.

03/03/2014 – Our weekly perspective on the economy

It seems like just a month ago I discussed the ISM (Institute of Supply Management Index) and its unexpected downward push. Well, that’s because it was a month ago that I  discussed the ISM. This week, the consensus forecast suggests a slight bump up in the ISM. This is out today at 10:00. Along with this bit of news, we find ourselves with another Beige Book updated from our friends at the Federal Reserve. It’s always a good read. Look for it on Wednesday.

One thing to watch is the impact of all this weather on things such as consumer spending and consumer credit. I am certain there will be an impact. A more important aspect of this is if the weather will have an intermediate impact on productivity and manufacturing. I believe it will. The geopolitical issues we face are not helping matters. With other data, such as consumer confidence and GDP coming out later in the month, executive teams  and boards should look to incorporate indicators into their monthly and quarterly updates, including such things as the QEF for their ALLL on the financial side and fundraising targets on the non-profit front. As you know, GDP took a haircut last week. Will it continue?

As always, our economic calendar is provided by Marketwatch.com and can be found here. If you need help preparing for the future while commanding excellence today, drop Beth a line by using our handy dandy contact form. She is a great listener.

Have a great week!