Most Forecasters See Stronger US GDP Growth In Q1

The US economy is headed for a firmer expansion in this year’s first quarter, according to a range of forecasts. The outlook for a moderately stronger pace of economic activity follows a sluggish increase in GDP in last year’s fourth quarter. The futures market, however, continues to price in a high probability that the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates unchanged at next month’s monetary policy meeting.
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Modeling Risk With Bootstrapping Techniques In R

Limited data is the financial modeler’s biggest challenge. Making assumptions about risk is tough enough under the best of circumstances. All too often it’s even tougher when the historical record is thin. There are several ways to manage this challenge, including bootstrapping, aka resampling the available data to create historical records that might have occurred. Nothing’s perfect, of course, but bootstrapping can be a powerful tool for stress testing portfolios and developing robust assumptions about risk.
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Book Bits | 18 February 2017

fedup.18feb2017Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America
By Danielle DiMartino Booth
Commentary by author via CNBC
It’s no longer a secret that an abundance of anger is churning among many working men and women who feel they’ve been excluded by the current economic recovery and the longest span of job creation in postwar history. The funny thing about a sense of abandonment is that more often than not, anger follows.
What too few Americans appreciate is how directly the inability to say “no” at the Fed has determined their station in life. But that’s just the case. The Fed directly impacts a slew of the most important decisions we make — the values we instill in our children, the things we buy and how they are financed and how we best prepare for what follows after a lifetime of laboring in the trenches.
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Economic News Hints At Another Rate Hike

Yesterday’s numbers on economic activity in the retail and industrial sectors is a tale of two trends through January. Consumer spending accelerated to the fastest annual pace in five years while industrial production was flat vs. the year-earlier level. Given the greater influence of consumption for the US economy, the retail data will probably have more sway at the Federal Reserve, which remains on track to continue raising interest rates this year. Another factor that suggests the central bank will continue to tighten policy: consumer inflation at the headline level in January increased to the highest year-over-year rate since 2012.
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Commodities Rallied Last Week, Leading Most Markets Higher

Broadly defined commodities topped the winner’s list last week, rising to the highest level since last summer, based on a set of based on a set of exchange-traded products representing the major asset classes. Emerging-market equities were close behind, rising for the third straight week during the five trading days through Feb. 10. Meantime, last week’s losers were limited to foreign bonds (in US dollar terms).
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Book Bits | 11 February 2017

new.am.economyBuilding the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
Summary via publisher (Columbia University Press)
In this passionate and powerful book—part manifesto, part plan of action—the renowned economist Jeffrey D. Sachs offers a practical strategy to move America, seemingly more divided than ever, toward a new consensus: sustainable development. Sustainable development is a holistic approach that emphasizes economic, social, and environmental objectives in shaping policy. In focusing too much on economic growth, the United States has neglected rising economic inequality and dire environmental threats. Now, even growth is imperiled.
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