The turn toward free market policies beginning in the 1980s, notably the financialization of U.S. economic activity, has contributed to rising income and wealth inequality and ultimately triggered the recent emergence of populist movements. A couple of charts will underscore this argument.
Valuations are understood best not by trying to “justify” or dismiss current extremes, but by recognizing that across history, the speculative inclinations of investors have periodically allowed valuations to depart dramatically from appropriate norms, at least for limited segments of the complete market cycle.
In talking with some of my Fed-watching friends, it appears the world’s most important central bank is about to experience some potentially profound changes – not just in personnel but more importantly in the kind of people who lead it. Those changes could, in turn, have some serious economic impacts; so it’s worth taking a deeper look.
Why is income inequality important to economic growth? Economic justice concerns aside, if the bottom 80% are not generating sufficient income and are unable to spend, aggregate demand and economic growth will suffer.
The volume of daily economic lunacy that lights up my various devices is truly stunning, and it seems to be increasing. I shared a little of it with you in last week’s “Bonfire of the Absurdities.” Since it’s a holiday weekend and I was traveling all week, today I’ll just give you a few more absurdities to ponder. And this shorter letter will lighten your weekend reading load.
Turbulence in market internals, in the face of record market highs, is often a symptom of increasing risk-aversion and skittishness among investors.
This week’s letter will take a look at the growing number of ridiculous, inane, and otherwise nonsensical absurdities that fill the daily economic headlines. I have gone from the occasional smile to scratching my head now and then to “WTF” moments several times a week.
Last week, the uniformity of market internals shifted to an unfavorable condition. During the advancing half-cycle since 2009, zero interest rates encouraged speculation (and maintained favorable market internals) long after extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions emerged. But distinctions matter. Once the uniformity of market internals - the most reliable measure of speculation itself - is knocked away, those extremes are still likely to matter with a vengeance.
John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management, explains his top-down view of markets, the economy and asset allocation.
When you write about economics, you learn very quickly that the economy doesn’t care what you say about it. The forces that drive it are beyond any one person’s comprehension, much less control. But at the same time, the economy doesn’t work like a law of nature. Unlike gravity, for instance, the economy responds to human choices and preferences. We influence it, even if we don’t understand exactly how.