Should Government Regulation End Indexing As We Know It?

An op-ed in The New York Times today lays out the case for imposing new restrictions on how index funds operate. The rationale, according to the authors, is to prevent the reduction in competition in industries that is a direct consequence of indexing. If the proposal is implemented as outlined, the indexing strategy for equity investing that’s widely practiced could be headed for extinction.
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Book Bits |3 December 2016

The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics
By John Judis
Review via The Economist
The Western intelligentsia, snug in its echo-chamber, has done a dismal job of understanding what is going on, either dismissing populists as cranks or demonising them as racists. John Judis, an American author and journalist, is an admirable exception. “The Populist Explosion” is an extended think-tank report rather than an airport bestseller. It’s also an excellent read: well-written and well-researched, powerfully argued and perfectly timed.
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US Private Employment Picks Up In November

US companies hired 156,000 workers last month, according to this morning’s update from the Labor Dept. Last month’s seasonally adjusted gain reflects a modest improvement over October’s sluggish 135,000 increase. But in contrast with firmer annual results in ADP’s estimate of last month’s employment trend in the private sector, the government’s data translates into another round of softer year-over-year growth.
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ADP: Private Employment Growth Rebounds Sharply In November

The recession-is-always-imminent crew took it on the chin again today via upbeat data on private payrolls in November. US companies added 216,000 workers (seasonally adjusted) this month, according to the ADP Employment Report. The gain—the largest in five months—gives the Federal Reserve more ammunition for arguing that the economy is strong enough to warrant raising interest rates at next month’s FOMC meeting.
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Is A Slowdown Brewing For US GDP Growth In Q4?

The rebound in US economic growth in the third quarter is looking vulnerable in Q4, according to recent estimates from several sources. If the projections are accurate, the 2.9% pace in Q3 (the highest rate in two years) is headed towards 2.0%. That’s still an improvement over the sluggish pace in the previous three quarters (Q4:2015 through Q2:2016), but the latest estimates for Q4 point to a softer macro trend in this year’s final three months.
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