Are bond yields finally climbing (and bond prices falling) in a belated response to a global shift in central bank policies?
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury climbed 7 basis points today to 2.55%. That’s the highest yield since March. That prompted bond guru Bill Gross to declare that we have entered a confirmed bear market in bonds with the upward trend lines of 25 years broken for 5-and 10-year Treasuries.read more
The indexes set a tough benchmark in 2017 with the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index showing a total return (price appreciation plus dividends) of 21.64%. For the year the price gain on the 50 Stocks Portfolio came to 26.8%. The portfolio also showed a 1.28% yield for the year. The total return for the portfolio was 28.1% in 2017.read more
The U.S. economy added 148,000 net new jobs in December. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected growth of 190,000 jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the November job growth to 252,000 from an initial 228,000. The official unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, the lowest rate since December 2000. The economy has now added an average of 204,000 jobs over the last three months of 2017read more
If you try to interpret the minutes released today from the Federal Reserve’s December 12-13 meeting without factoring in the departure of key players at the central bank, I think you’ll get the meaning of that meeting exactly wrong. On the surface, the minutes seem to show a Fed with strong reservations about raising interest rates. The presidents of two regional Federal Reserve banks, Neel Kashkari of the Minneapolis Fed and Charles Evans of the Chicago Fed dissented from the decision at that meeting to raised the Fed’s benchmark Fed funds rate by another 25 basis points.read more
The global economy just keeps on running in high gear. For the United States, today the ISM Manufacturing Index climbed to 59.7 for December, well above the 58.2 in November. (Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a reading of 58.2 as well. In this index anything above 50 indicates that a sector is expanding.) This puts the index at the highest level in three months.read more
As of 12 noon New York time U.S. crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate was off 0.28% but still holding above $60.25 a barrel. International benchmark Brent was off 0.72% but was still above $65 at $66.39 a barrel. Prices above $60 are a reflection of market worries that protests in Iran that started with a call for more economic growth and better jobs have expanded into an attack on the religious leaders and security forces that underpin Iran’s governmentread more