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First Quarter Results: The Bull Marches On

Authored by: David R. Schedler, Vice President, Senior Investment Advisor As March sauntered out like a lamb, we marked the eight-year anniversary of a bull market that started in March 2009. For reference, the definition of a bull market is a sustained period of rising stock prices producing a gain of 20% or more that […]

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Irrational Exuberance?

With spring now in full bloom, so too is the season for optimism, raising hopes that the third longest economic recovery in U.S. history has the strength to continue. But things are never that tidy or simple. When everyone is optimistic, the shock effect of any downside surprise could wreak havoc. By definition, it’s impossible […]

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Although the Recent Weakness in Bank Credit Growth May Not Be a Concern to Others, It Is to Me

Starting around this past December, growth in commercial bank credit (loans and securities) slowed precipitously. Annualized 13-week growth in bank credit of late is the slowest since the summer of 2013. Growth in bank credit excluding commercial and industrial (C&I) loans also has slowed precipitously since this past December. This weakening in bank credit growth […]

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No Winter Blues

Economists have a habit of downplaying the significance of data for a single month, famously noting that one-month does not make a trend. Investors, of course, do not always heed that warning, as they just as famously tend to overreact, particularly when incoming data either exceed or fall short of expectations. That divergent response has […]

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Do You Want to Restore Manufacturing Employment? Smash the Robots!

There has been much public discussion about the demise of U.S. manufacturing jobs and policies to restore manufacturing employment. U.S. manufacturing employment relative to total U.S. nonfarm employment has been trending lower throughout almost the entire post-WWII era. Although foreign trade is being advanced by some as the reason for the secular decline in U.S. […]

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Solid Start to 2017

The U.S. economy continues to ride a strong wave of optimism both on Main Street and Wall Street, and hopefully this upbeat mind-set will prevail longer than last year. The Federal Reserve and most private economists were upbeat regarding the outlook for 2016. Expecting stronger growth and higher inflation, the Fed ended 2015 by raising […]

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2017: A Good Year to Review Beneficiary Designations

Authored by: Brenton D. Teeling, Vice President of Client Services and Administration. In our business, one of the most important estate planning strategies is maintaining proper beneficiary designations. There are many variables to consider when naming beneficiaries: the type of account (trust, retirement, or insurance, to name just a few); goals regarding future distributions; and […]

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2017–Shades of 1937

As a result of some Fed actions taken in 1936 and 1937, the U.S. economy, after experiencing a robust economic recovery starting in early 1934, slipped back into a recession midyear 1937, which lasted through midyear 1938. Based on the recent slowdown in thin-air credit growth, I believe that a significant slowdown in the growth […]

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High Hopes

Since optimism for 2017 is based on hope—as well as hype—only time will provide the answers. Yes, the economy picked up some momentum over the second half of last year and the fundamentals pointing to future growth remain positive. But the likely second-half growth pace of 2.5-3.0 hardly represents the escape velocity that has eluded […]

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If You Think the Pace of Economic Activity is Weak in 2016, Just Wait Until 2017

Based on published data so far for Q4:2016, the Atlanta Fed is forecasting real GDP annualized growth in this current quarter of 2.4%, down from the previous quarter’s 3.2% annualized growth. With current growth in thin-air credit already very weak and likely to get even weaker after the Fed contracts the monetary base more in […]

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