Are Central Banks Out of Options?

A board member of the European Central Bank, Benoit Coeure of France, made a strong point in a recent statement when he said, “…for the recovery to become structural…monetary policy does not suffice.” I think he’s right. The evidence is pretty clear in the global economy today. The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to the […]

Are We Headed for a Currency War?

Over the past year, mutterings of a “currency war” have become commonplace in the global economic discourse. Suspicions that developed nations are engaging in, or considering, actions to devalue their respective currencies have been growing. As the economic cycle ages, and countries grapple with ways to remain competitive, pressure to devalue ratchets up. When it […]

S&P 500 Earnings: Where Are They Headed?

There’s no sugar coating it – the S&P 500 has been far from impressive over the last three quarters. Sure, the Energy drag has been seismic and resource-sensitive sectors like Materials and Industrials have also taken it on the chin. Still, Zacks Investment Management is seeing notable weakness in other sectors as well which is […]

Bears vs. Bulls – Who Wins?

Nope, this is not a Chicago sports piece. It is, however, a review of the storm and stress of the current Bull vs. Bear “conversation” pitting the emotional vs. the rational, the headlines vs. the fundamentals and the reactive vs. the steady. I’ve written numerous articles addressing the negative and volatile start to the year, […]

Negative Interest Rates in the U.S.?

Janet Yellen raised eyebrows earlier this month when she hinted at the possibility of negative interest rates in the U.S. “We wouldn’t take those off the table” were her exact words. Since then, I’ve gotten a few questions about whether negative rates could be a useful tool in stimulating the economy or whether this is […]

4 Ways Monetary Policy Could Boost the Global Economy

The largest central banks around the world are making moves – just not necessarily in the same direction. While the U.S. Federal Reserve is tightening credit, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) are easing their monetary policies to stimulate their economies. With policymakers desperate to bolster their respective domestic economies, […]

Should Dividend Cuts Spell Doom or Offer Hope?

Many investors dread dividend cuts as a sign of a company’s flagging financials. It follows that recent reports indicating that 2015’s count of dividend cuts exceeded that of 2008’s could spook shareholders. On the forefront of the dividend cutting trend is, not surprisingly, the oil industry. Crushed by a steep decline in prices, oil producers […]

2008 Financial Crisis Redux?

It started with concerns over U.S. bank exposure to energy loans and now it has spread like wildfire to Europe. The issue – falling commodities prices. Concern has escalated as investors start to price-in the possibility, or likelihood, that a v-shaped recovery in oil prices is not likely in the foreseeable future. This means that […]

Market Volatility and the Economy – What’s Going On?

Market volatility has been ruthless of late and I fully understand the toll it can take on the investor psyche. Even veteran investors will scratch their heads wondering if, maybe, it’s different this time. Ah, but wait! Don’t forget that old John Templeton quote about the four most expensive words in the English language: “This […]

Who’s Really Getting Crushed by Lower Oil?

Crude oil’s continuing downward spiral has left many puzzled, some unemployed and others bankrupt. As the WTI (oil pricing benchmark) plunges to below $30 per barrel, concerns about the Energy sector intensify, especially as there appears to be no clear indication of a rebound in the near term. Fluctuating profit margins are par for the […]