While some investors are freaking out about investigations, tweets, or the personality of President Trump, we are still watching policy.
News of the consumer's death has traveled fast.
We wish we had a dollar for every time we've heard that the bull market in equities is only due to loose money. We have consistently disagreed, arguing that although the Federal Reserve is loose, the bull market is primarily a function of the rebound in profits after the disaster in 2008-09.
The most important part of today's statement from the Federal Reserve is that it thinks the slow economic growth in the first quarter is temporary. As a result, the market consensus on the odds of a rate hike by June rose to about 94% after the meeting from about 67% beforehand.
Economic data is volatile. Weather, seasonal adjustments, calendar flukes, and measurement errors all affect the data. Nonetheless, those with a political axe to grind, or an economic forecast of recession or boom, will grab one piece of data and act as if they have discovered the Holy Grail.
When the French elected François Hollande as President in 2012, the global left rejoiced. Mr. Hollande ran on a platform of protecting workers from capitalism. He wanted to raise the top income tax rate to 75%. Analysts predicted a political turn to the left across Europe, if not beyond.
As we wrote three months ago, it's going to take much more than animal spirits to lift economic growth from the sluggish pace of the past several years. Measures of consumer and business confidence continue to perform much better than before the election.
Last Friday, payroll employment data, from a survey of businesses, showed the US created just 98,000 jobs in March. The consensus of forecasters had expected job growth of 175,000. The other jobs number, which comes from a survey of households, showed 472,000 new jobs in March.
If you read us regularly, and we hope you do, you know that we write each week about a topic we think is both important and timely. Last week, we were either clairvoyant, or extremely persuasive.
Well, that was fun! The GOP's attempt to reform healthcare hit a brick wall of politics. Conservative Republicans wanted to completely "repeal" Obamacare, while moderates and leaders were willing to keep much of it as long as it cost less. Moving one way or the other lost too many votes. Democrats refused to participate. So, the bill died.