economy

Our take on the investing, financial, & economic themes of the day

Don’t Fight the Fed, But Don’t Emulate it Either: Why Your Portfolio Shouldn’t be ‘Data Dependent’

15 June, 2016 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Today the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce that short-term interest rates will remain unchanged.  The Fed says that its decisions about whether or not to raise interest rates will be “data dependent,” but this doesn’t inspire much confidence, because the ... read more...

Bretton Woods 70 Years On

14 July, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
I spent most of my childhood summers in the woods of Maine and New Hampshire.  Trips to New Hampshire usually meant hiking in the White Mountains, whose Presidential range is within site of the Mount Washington Hotel, a.k.a. Bretton Woods.  Towards the tail end of World War II, Bretton Woods ... read more...

Just How Expensive Are Bonds?

The prices for bonds move inversely to the interest that they pay to investors.  When bonds are in high demand, prices increase and bond yields decrease.  Probably the biggest financial story for 2014 thus far is the unexpected demand for bonds.   If you were wondering just how strong the ... read more...

What Does Weak U.S. Labor Force Participation Mean? Here’s a Guess.

26 March, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
The Financial Times published some startling statistics yesterday about how the U.S. labor force participation rate has now dropped below that of the U.K.  The participation rate measures the proportion of adults (above 16 years old) who are either working or looking for work.  This is the ... read more...

Third Quarter Earnings Update, Part I

8 November, 2011 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
It’s easy to forget about corporate earnings in the wildly volatile market of 2011. For the time being, macroeconomic events—right now primarily the European debt crisis—are driving stock prices. In October the market’s correlation, the measure of how many stocks move in the same direction, was ... read more...