• Wall Street’s Back (alright!)

    Finding the silver lining  After the dismal December retail sales report, investors have been awaiting the January numbers, which we saw on Monday this week. I’ll give you the bad news first. The December numbers were actually revised further downward to -1.6% (compared to the initial -1.2% number), which is the biggest drop in retail sales since September 2009 when we were clawing back from the GFC. Now the good news. Retail sales increased 0.2% in January, which is higher than expected, driven by sales for building materials and discretionary spending. Compared to January last year, retail sales actually increased 2.3%.  Moral of the story: January retail sales tend to be lower than those in December given…

  • The Worst Week of 2019

    The first shoe dropped…  Monday morning brought news that a trade deal with China was nearing, causing stocks to rally. However, given most investors believed a resolution to already be priced into the market, they took advantage of these elevated prices to cash in some of their gains, and this sell-off brought stocks right back down again. While the markets are already expecting a trade deal by the end of March, there is still a significant amount of uncertainty around the details and, therefore, true impact on the economy. Reaching a deal itself is important, but the bigger concern for the US (and others around the world) is going to be the…

  • All the Things, All at Once

    Growing, going, gone?  GDP for the 4th quarter of 2018 increased 2.6%, which was higher than what the market was expecting. Consumer spending grew at 2.8%, which is significantly slower than the 3.5%+ pace we saw earlier this year (remember the horrible retail sales data for December?). Growth in business investment surprised the market to the upside, rising 6.2%, while residential investment declined for the 4th straight quarter (more on this later). And as predicted by the crystal ball of the Philly Fed’s survey last week, the ISM Manufacturing Index came in below expectations and fell 2.4 points in February driven by a decrease in new orders, employment, and production. However, while we continue to see signs building for…