Results 101–134 of 134 found.
Latest Bond 'Bubble' Fears are Overblown
Despite considerable discussion in the financial media about the existence of a bond market bubble, the fixed-income team at American Century Investments finds little evidence to support this claim. Bond bubble proponents base their argument largely on record flows into fixed-income investments, bonds' extended outperformance over stocks, and record low interest rates. However, a confluence of economic headwinds argues for a prolonged period of low interest rates and inflation, while investor demographic and behavioral finance trends also appear to favor further bond inflows.
Cheap Labor Helps Southeast Asia Compete with China, But It Won?t Be Easy
Labor disputes in China and other emerging market countries have been catching global media attention. As employees in the low-cost workshops of the world fight for higher wages and better working conditions, the longer-term outcome will be better standards of living and rising disposable incomes in emerging market countries. These changes hold positive implications for many global-based companies' present and future growth. A growing consumer class with 'buying power' will certainly be beneficial.
Merger and Acquisition Activity Rises
Merger and acquisition activity has jumped dramatically in the past few months. The good news for investors is that increased M&A activity can help sustain the market during a period of economic softness or a slowdown that we may face in the next several quarters. The risk for investors is whether the money spent on M&A activity will be done wisely and with a clear eye on creating shareholder value. If not, that money is probably better spent buying back shares or increasing dividend payouts.
India to Open Equity Markets to Foreign Retail Investors
While opening up its equity market to foreign retail investors will likely benefit India and increase capital inflows in that country, there is also more growth potential for investors who are prepared to accept the risks and invest for the long term. Over the next five years, India and emerging market economies will be driven not only by export demand from the rest of the world, but by growth in domestic consumption, including health care, technology, infrastructure, and finance. This will create huge opportunities for investors and companies doing business in these sectors.
Consumers, Credit Cards and Deleveraging
The August 6 report from the Federal Reserve on consumer credit and indebtedness depicts consumers and households that are still in the throes of a difficult deleveraging process. In the longer term, this is exactly what is needed to help put the U.S. economy back on a solid foundation for recovery and renewed growth. Because deleveraging involves two steps, however - first, avoiding spending based on new borrowing, and, second, directing current discretionary income toward debt repayment rather than consumption - it limits how much consumers can contribute to the recovery.
Comparing Our Path to Recovery with Past Recessions and Recoveries
What appears to be a preliminary trend in declining rates of GDP growth has led many to speculate that the current economic recovery is weakening, or that we are slipping into another recession. The latter scenario seems very unlikely given the number of simulative factors at work in our economy, such as record-low interest rates and record-high deficit spending by the federal government. But the fact that we are less than three months away from an important midterm election in the U.S. Congress means that the state of our economy will be hotly debated and in the headlines.
Insights from the U.S. International Balance of Trade
The U.S. trade deficit increased to -$42.3 billion in May. Large and increasing trade deficits are sustainable as long as the rest of the world is willing to lend money to finance them. Growing trade deficits, however, are unhealthy in the long term. Trade imbalances also cause imbalances in capital flows. There was a time when it was argued that, as the U.S. entered a post-industrial society and economy, its growing trade deficit in goods would be offset by a growing trade surplus in services. Nearly three decades of experience, however, have demonstrated that this isn't the case.
Sizing Up the Jobs Growth Challenge
While labor market data indicates the economy is still adding jobs, the pace of additions is far slower than what is needed to meaningfully reduce our 9.5 percent unemployment rate. Much of the half-a-percentage-point rise in employment during the second quarter of this year came from the hiring of up to 700,000 temporary workers for the decennial Census survey. Now that this effort is winding down, some economists are forecasting that short-term unemployment will rise again.
World Growth on the Rise but Europe's Weakened Economy Threatens Global Recovery
Global economic activity is improving, but significant headwinds remain, particularly within the developed world, where mounting sovereign debt threatens long-term economic gains. So far, government responses to the crisis have varied, and this lack of coordination may lead to divergent economic performance in the year ahead. Emerging markets have held up relatively well, primarily because they have managed their economies frugally throughout the past several years. Globally, corporations are generally enjoying expanding profit margins, while balance sheets remain solid.
Our Muni Market Perspective: The Sky is Not Falling
The muni market sky is not falling. Municipal credit downgrades and defaults are indeed likely to increase in the months ahead, even as the U.S. economy regroups and moves forward. It may seem odd that muni credit quality faces continued challenges at a time when businesses and other sectors of the economy are going ahead, but that's just an unfortunate feature of a lagging market, one that municipalities share with the labor market. In the long run, municipal bonds as an asset class still have credit quality second only to U.S. Treasury bonds.
Liquid Assets Are at a 37-Year High on Corporate Balance Sheets: Is This a Bullish or Bearish Sign?
Whether bullish or bearish, the rapid growth in corporate liquid assets does reflect one undisputable fact: The corporate sector of the economy generally responded quickly and effectively to the Great Recession, cutting costs, shedding excess inventory and curtailing unnecessary investments. As a result, corporations are poised to perform well based on the overall strength of the current economic recovery. Earnings growth over the past five quarters has been impressive. However, whether this trend and rate of earnings growth can continue will increasingly depend on what happens to revenues.
General Motors and Lessons of Externalities
The decline and collapse of GM was a long-term phenomenon and not that uncommon a story for corporations in the history of U.S. business, except for its sheer size and (perhaps) the length of time over which it unfolded. One after another attempts to salvage the company fell short of expectations. Why GM failed?and why other companies in similar situations have managed to execute successful turnarounds or avoid collapse is an important question.
Indian Economy Poised for Double-Digit Growth
India was not severely impacted by the global economic recession and the country is projected to grow rapidly over the next decade. For investors, a consumer-based Indian economy holds positive implications because many global companies view potential Indian demand as a ticket to future growth. Indeed, India's is one of the biggest and fastest growing consumer populations in the world. Nevertheless, the government's inability to keep building infrastructure and power generation and tackle core problems in education, land reform, corruption and social reform may temper growth.
'May Momentum Killers' Supported Economic, Rate Outlooks
Now that stocks are suffering a bona fide correction this quarter and Treasury yields are again pricing in low inflation expectations in the near term, the case for a long, slow, grinding economic recovery with continued low interest rates for months to come is a lot easier to make than it was seven weeks ago. Money market and FDIC-insured accounts should provide the most predictable path with the least price fluctuation. Investors who want more yield and return should consider high-quality short-maturity bonds and bond funds.
Insight on the Current Status of the Housing Market
Both existing and new residential homes sales have seen impressive increases in volume over the past several months ending in April. Two factors will likely weigh on residential home sales for the remainder of this year, however. The first factor is the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. The second is the rate of economic recovery and growth in employment for the remainder of this year. Over the next one to three years, little can contribute more to recovery in the residential housing market than reduced unemployment accompanied by rising incomes and increased consumer confidence.
Global Equity Markets Slip on Greek Debt Crunch
Fears of a Greek default have heightened concerns about the financial stability of several other peripheral European countries. Spain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal, however, are not in the same situation as Greece. Italy in particular is in a separate, stronger category than the others. It is less reliant on foreign financing, with Italians owning a high percentage of their own sovereign debt. Italy also lagged in the economic boom prior to the global recession, a blessing in disguise because its banking sector is now not as over-leveraged to the housing market as banks in other countries.
Three Reasons Why the Economy is Mending, Despite the Rise in Unemployment
Despite the rise in the unemployment rate to 9.9 percent in April, there are at least three reasons why the economy appears to be on the mend after the recent recession. First, growth in labor productivity foreshadows new hiring. Second, the economy is adding jobs. And third, the civilian labor force is growing again. These three trends mean we could continue to see official unemployment figures inch higher despite an improving economy overall.
Understanding Recent Negative International Bond Returns
This year so far has been a challenge for U.S. investors in high-quality, unhedged international bonds, continuing a downtrend for this sector that began in December of last year. Fortunately, the long-term strategic reasons for holding international bonds remain intact, including inflation protection from a potentially weaker dollar as the U.S. budget deficit grows, and diversification benefits versus traditional domestic fixed income.
Two 'Takes' on the Latest GDP Growth Figure
Overall, the preliminary report of first quarter GDP growth was good news for consumers, businesses and investors seeking to finally put the Great Recession in the past. Consumer spending and business investment are both showing healthy signs of growth, which is to be expected during the early phases of a recovery. Concerns are now focused not on whether we are in a recovery phase, but whether the recovery will be strong enough to pull us out of the large hole the recession created.
Consumer Sentiment and the Economic Outlook
The animal spirits John Maynard Keynes described in 1936 as a substantial force in determining the direction of the economy are still with us today. At the moment we are in a prolonged period of below-average consumer sentiment that began in mid-2007. Ultimately, consumer sentiment will rebound. When this occurs, the change in sentiment as measured by the Consumer Sentiment Index is likely to be quick and large. However, there will likely have to be some change in the environment or course of events to convince the population that our difficult times are behind us.
Financial Strains and Modest Gains for the Eurozone
The Eurozone fell into recession later than the U.S., and thus will recover later. European factories are heavily dependent on exports for growth. Investors should note that the global economic recovery and a stronger euro have been positive factors for the Eurozone's export machine. But with exports accounting for 35 percent of Eurozone GDP and half of that number going to other countries neighboring the Eurozone, major headwinds could soon be on the horizon.
It's Census Time: Where in the World Are We Growing?
International population forecasts provided by the U.S. Census Bureau provide directional insights that can be useful to investors. The U.S. will continue to be a dynamic, growing and expanding country from a population perspective well into the 21st century. One implication is that we can deal with concerns over our rapidly growing government debt by growing out of the problem. In addition, despite the recent gloom caused by the housing bubble bursting, real estate values are likely to recover and continue growing long-term as a result of population growth.
Sizing Up a Saw-Toothed Portrait of Potential Sustainability
A number of key leading indicators - including recent stock market performance, the expanding manufacturing sector, and the steep upward slope of the Treasury yield curve - point toward continued recovery. In addition, the unemployment rate, while still high, does not appear to be moving higher, and has in fact come down from its recent 10.1 percent high reached last October. History suggests that after an unemployment peak is attained, significant improvement follows soon afterward; there hasn't been a historical tendency for the unemployment rate to 'plateau' at levels near its peaks.
Don't Discount Dividends
During long and sustained bull markets, investors tend to overlook the importance of dividends in long-term wealth creation for equity investors. Benjamin Graham and David Dodd emphasized the importance of dividends in the overall valuation process for equities in a classic 1934 text. Because of their consistency in both good times and bad, dividends and dividend reinvestment can help cushion the downsides as well as enhance ultimate wealth. Investors, therefore, should not 'discount dividends.'
China's 2010 Growth Forecasts Upgraded by the World Bank
The World Bank raised China's 2010 growth forecasts to 9.5 percent last week from the 8.7 percent projected in November, but also predicted that China's growth will slow somewhat in 2011, to 8.7 percent. It also recommended higher interest rates and a stronger currency for China amidst growing concerns over rising inflation and a property sector bubble. The Chinese government emphasized the need for structural reforms in recent presentations to the National People's Congress.
Barron's' Pension Warning Doesn't Change Our Pension Outlook
A recent Barron's magazine piece about unfunded public pension liabilities painted an otherwise solid bond sector with a broad negative brush. While pension liabilities are a serious problem for state and local governments, they are neither a new problem nor an immediate problem, and they are not the most pressing issue that municipalities face in the post-recession environment, according to American Century Investments credit research director David Moore. Despite unfunded pension liabilities, no state runs a serious risk of default on its general debt obligation.
Latest Unemployment Report Reveals the Growing Problem of the Long-Term Unemployed
Four out of 10 unemployed workers are designated as long-term unemployed, meaning that they have been seeking a job for at least six months. This rate exceeds any other since the 1940s. As we have evolved towards a service- and knowledge-based economy, people with at least an undergraduate degree have fared better both in terms of lower unemployment rates and higher wages. This trend has become even more pronounced during the recession that began in December 2007 relative to the past two periods of peak unemployment in June 1992 and 2003.
Underwater in the Housing Market
The number of negative equity mortgages, situations where the borrower owes more on their mortgage than the current market value of the home they bought, increased substantially since the housing bubble burst in 2007. While these homeowners continue to make payments, there is a weak correlation between how badly their mortgages are underwater and foreclosure rates. This is also a problem because many middle and lower income people use their homes as their most important source of retirement savings. In addition, negative equity may diminish labor mobility at a time of high unemployment.
Eurozone's Economic Recovery Loses Steam in Fourth Quarter
Economic growth in the 16-country eurozone stalled in the fourth quarter of 2009, raising concerns about the durability of the region's nascent recovery. Output expanded just 0.4 percent on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter, down from 1.7 percent in the third quarter. Meanwhile, after negative growth in 2009, the world economy is projected to expand by 3.9 percent in 2010 and 4.3 percent in 2011. Asia and emerging markets will lead the charge, while advanced economies such as the eurozone will remain sluggish and dependent on government stimulus measures.
Stock Market Performance and Inflation
The world is awash in liquidity as a result of the recent financial crisis and subsequent risk of deflation. Many investors are concerned that this "cheap money" will result in rising inflation. Historical S&P 500 data suggests, however, that the highest price to earnings ratios occur when inflation is between 1 percent and 6 percent.
Growing Problems in the Residential Real Estate Market (Part 2)
The problem of growing housing delinquencies has spread to states not originally affected in the sub-prime crisis and to higher-quality prime mortgages as the nation?s unemployment rate has reached double-digit levels. This commentary looks at the failure to-date of policy initiatives intended to stem defaults, and at the range of possible future policies.
Growing Problems in the Residential Housing Market
American Century Investments says in its weekly market update that rapidly rising delinquencies and foreclosures on residential housing could soon eclipse unemployment as an object of focus for economists, policymakers and the public. Delinquencies on loans secured by one- to four-unit properties, including home equity lines of credit, have soared since the end of 2007 to approximately 10 percent of the total value of mortgages.
China's Strong GDP Up 10.7% in the Fourth Quarter, but is Inflation on the Horizon?
American Century looks at the sources of growth in the Chinese economy its future projected growth rate. Easy credit and stimulus measures are potentially leading to a real estate bubble and inflation. Exports from China grew in December, following 13 months of decline, and ??the world may have to continue to rely on China as the biggest engine of economic growth.?
Results 101–134 of 134 found.