Blogs

  • Small Business Optimism Soars to Highest Level Since 2004

    Small businesses and entrepreneurs have had a rough time of it for these past eight years. New startups and entrepreneurial activity have pretty much been stagnant, weighed down by heavy regulation, high taxes and an economy that’s just been stumbling along. Yet in November and again December, there were signs of optimism and business renewal that could mark a real turnaround in the fortunes of small business.

    The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported last week that its Small Business Optimism Index soared in December by the most in one month since 1980, a year when another maverick conservative-leaning candidate surprised everyone and won the presidency. His name was Ronald Reagan.

    Another report out last week found that small businesses are now in the best financial shape since before the Great Recession based on revenues, cash-flows and sales.

    While the economy is still far from healthy, we have seen more positive news since the election. Today we’ll look at these two latest reports on small businesses -- and what President Trump will, and will not, be able to do with regard to rolling back onerous regulations early-on in his administration.

    Finally, we’ll look at an Investor’s Business Daily editorial last week that blows out of the water the liberals’ scare tactics when it comes to repealing Obamacare.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 01-19-2017
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  • Global Bonds In Worst Selloff In 13 Years - How Come?

    Bond investors have had a rough ride in November. The Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index plunged by 5% during the last two weeks just before and after the election – its worst such drop since March 2003, according to Dow Jones data. When yields rise, bond prices fall, and vice-versa.

    As you know, interest rates have been falling for over 35 years since peaking in 1980. It has been a spectacular bull market for bond investors, that is until just recently. To say that the reversal over the last few weeks came as a surprise to bondholders around the world is an understatement.

    More than $77 billion in assets are benchmarked to the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index, according to Morningstar, making it one of the most widely followed in the fixed-income world. It incorporates investment-grade debt denominated in 24 different currencies. Sovereign bonds have historically been the Index’s most heavily-weighted constituent, followed by asset-backed securities, corporate bonds and government-related debt.

    Global bond yields have been edging up since falling to historic lows in late June/July following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. But the selloff accelerated aggressively after Donald Trump won the US presidential election – an outcome that took most bond market participants around the world by surprise.

    The sharp selloff was predicated on the notion that Donald Trump’s campaign promises to rebuild America’s infrastructure, cut taxes and raise trade barriers, would – if they become reality – drive up inflation, and possibly force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates much more aggressively than had been expected.

    In just the two days following Trump’s election, global bonds shed an estimated $1.1 trillion in value, the worst rout in a year and a half as investors sold bonds and bought stocks in many cases. The stampede out of bonds propelled US Treasury yields to their highest levels since January.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 11-22-2016
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  • How The Media Blew The Election & What To Watch For Just Ahead

    As long-time clients and readers know, I have kept a fairly low political profile as we moved through this year’s election season, as opposed to previous years when I was an outspoken supporter for the conservative candidates.

    One reason is that, like many of you, I didn’t care much for either candidate. I did go on the record a few weeks ago saying that I did not want to see the Clintons return to the White House, which made me a reluctant Trump supporter. In light of Trump’s surprise thrashing of Hillary in the Electoral College, I will offer some personal thoughts on the election today.

    Following that, I have reprinted the very best analysis I have seen on how and why the election turned out as it did. This excellent article was written by Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal. Kim has become one of my favorite writers in recent years, so I trust you will enjoy her keen analysis on why the election went to Trump. (Hint: She argues that it was President Obama who is primarily responsible for Trump’s victory.)

    Next I’ll add some parting thoughts on how the media got this election so very wrong. I will also add some thoughts on what we should be watching for just ahead to help us get a read on what kind of president Donald Trump may be.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 11-16-2016
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  • Chinese PMI Soars Higher!

    * Global growth hopes return!. * A$ gets double boost! * Gold pushes higher!. * More bad data for Japan!.

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 11-02-2016
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  • Stock Markets Look To Favor Hillary Clinton In This Election

    Historically speaking, the US stock markets (ie – Wall Street) have reliably favored Republicans in presidential elections, but this year looks different. In fact, in almost every case back to 1880, US equity markets have risen when Republicans win presidential...
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  • 3Q GDP Report Came In Better Than Expected At 2.9%

    We will touch on several bases today. I must admit that it was so tempting to devote today’s E-Letter to a discussion about the presidential election one week from today, especially with all the recent twists and turns in this race.

    But the fact is, these are two of the worst presidential candidates I can ever remember. So I’ll spare you my political thoughts today. I do have an interesting section below on which US presidents have been best for the economy dating back to President Eisenhower in 1953. Hint: President Obama ranks dead last!

    Following that discussion, we’ll take a look at the global bond market which has taken a hit over the last couple of months. Bonds worldwide lost almost 3% in October alone, the largest monthly loss since May 2013. The question is whether this is just a “correction” or the beginning of a new trend?

    Before we get into those discussions, let’s take a look at last Friday’s stronger than expected GDP report for the 3Q. The advance report showed growth well above the pre-report consensus. Most analysts concluded that the door is now wide open for the Fed to raise short-term interest rates in December. I’ll give you my latest thoughts as we go along today.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 11-02-2016
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  • Trump/Clinton Economic Plans Revisited, Extremely Different

    For the last several years, the economy has ranked #1 among the greatest concerns expressed by most Americans. And as we all know, the state of the economy has a huge bearing on the investment markets. With that in mind, let’s take a look today at the latest economic and tax proposals of the two presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    Both candidates have made tweaks and changes to their economic and tax plans in recent weeks, and both have made more details available about how their plans should work. But even with the latest changes, both candidates’ plans are night-and-day different.

    Finally, if you are an “Accredited Investor” you need to let us know as soon as possible. One of the best alternative investments we’ve ever seen is expected to close to new investment very soon. This unique investment fund is only available to Accredited Investors, so if you would like to take a look at it before it closes forever, be sure to let us know if you qualify.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 09-27-2016
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  • Negative Rates Nail Savers

    Before we jump in, I want to note that economic chaos is not my only concern. We face a whole different kind of chaos on the geopolitical front. To a considerable degree it overlaps with the economic problems I’ll discuss today. George Friedman has been calling the Eurasian landmass a “cradle of disorder.” It’s home to 5 billion people, and it’s floundering in a sea of accelerating crises.

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    Posted to Thoughts From The Frontline by John Mauldin on 09-14-2016
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  • Hard Headed Traders!

    In This Issue.

    * Positive yield currencies get whacked!.

    * But currencies attempt to rebound today.

    * When will Markets admit they were wrong?

    * The Ukrainian Chicken Farm Moment"..

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 09-14-2016
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  • The US Economy Is Nowhere Near “Full Employment”

    The official unemployment rate in the US has now been below 5% for four consecutive months. I mentioned in my E-Letter on Tuesday that some economists and members of the Fed believe the economy is approaching what is referred to as “full employment...
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  • Almost Six Million Unfilled Jobs In America - Question Is Why?

    On Wednesday of last week, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were a record 5.9 million unfilled job openings in America as of the end of July. Unless you are a news junkie like myself, this number may well come as a surprise to you. And the reasons why we have such a huge number of unfilled jobs may also come as a surprise.

    With our official unemployment rate at 4.9%, we know that the labor markets have improved significantly in recent years. It’s great that US businesses are hiring, but these record numbers of job openings are also a sign that business owners can’t find the skilled workers qualified to fill the jobs they have available. We’ll find out why as we go along today.

    Before we get to that discussion, let’s briefly review two decidedly disappointing reports for August -- the ISM Manufacturing Index and the ISM Services Index. We’ll also look at another key report which significantly surprised on the upside. Let’s get started.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 09-14-2016
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  • Weapons of Economic Misdirection

    Patrick and Robert co-edit our Macro Growth & Income Alert premium service. As I’ve explained before, for regulatory reasons (since I am registered) I do not discuss specific stocks or other securities in this letter, tending instead to stick to macroeconomic and other big-picture concepts. Patrick and Robert face no such limitations, so after we discuss the macro world, I will drop off and they will talk about how to turn our macro views into real-world investment ideas. I am proud of the team we have assembled here at Mauldin Economics and appreciate the hard work and experience they bring to our readers.

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    Posted to Thoughts From The Frontline by John Mauldin on 08-26-2016
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  • Weekend Edition: How to Profit From These Massive, Brexit-Induced Trends

    By Justin Spittler Editor's note : Yesterday , Casey Research founder Doug Casey shared his thoughts on the Brexit. Today, in part two, he lays out the major trends the Brexit will accelerate…and explains how you can set yourself up to profit...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 08-26-2016
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  • Fed Continues to Overstate the Growth of the Economy – Why?

    Two prominent Fed officials gave major speeches over the last week, and both suggested that the US economy will surge in the second half of this year. Both indicated that this newfound growth in the previously moribund economy means the Fed will raise...
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  • Waiting On Janet.

    In This Issue.

    * Another "no movement" day.

    * Traders await Janet Yellen's speech .

    * German IFO stumbles post BREXIT.

    * China issues warning on steel production .

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 08-26-2016
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