Monthly Archives: December 2017

Best of Book Bits 2017 (Part I)

Another year (almost) over, but before the new one begins let’s highlight ten books focusing on money, investing, and economics that were published in 2017 and showed up in The Capital Spectator’s weekly Book Bits column at some point over the past 12 months. For one reason or another, this short list caught your editor’s eye. Let’s start with a downpayment of five books from 2017’s archive, followed by the balance next week. Happy reading!
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Macro Briefing: 22 December 2017

Congress greenlights bill to avert gov’t shutdown: NY Times
Separatists win election in Spain’s Catalonia region: CNN
UN defies Trump and criticizes US Jerusalem decision: Politico
State Dept: US considering “various options” after UN vote: The Hill
US GDP growth revised down slightly to 3.2% from 3.3%: RTT
Leading Index rises in Nov, predicting US growth for early 2018: CNBC
US jobless claims rise to a still-low 245k, first increase in five weeks: AP
Philly Fed Mfg Index rebounds in December: RTT
Truck tonnage rose nearly 8% in year through Nov: Scott Grannis

Macro Briefing: 21 December 2017

Houses passes final tax bill and sends it to Trump: Reuters
Trump threatens to cut aid to countries that oppose Jerusalem policy: BBC
Shots fired at DMZ Zone between North and South Korea: Reuters
Sweden’s central bank ends bond purchases: Central Banking
A cryptocurrency founder cashes out: Bloomberg
Poland’s new judicial reforms may bring EU sanctions: Guardian
US existing home sales surge to 11-year high in Nov: HousingWire
10-year Treasury yield rises to 9-month high of 2.49%: Reuters

US Business Cycle Risk Report | 20 December 2017

Positive momentum continues to drive the US economy forward, keeping recession risk low and providing upbeat estimates for the near-term outlook. With the White House poised to sign tax-cut legislation this week, the macro trend looks set to receive fresh stimulus to keep economic growth bubbling. The probability of recession in the near term, as a result, remains virtually nil.
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Macro Briefing: 20 December 2017

Senate passes tax-cut bill and prepares to send it to Trump: The Hill
SEC halts trading in shares of bitcoin-focused Crypto Company: CNN
US single-family housing starts rise to 10yr high in Nov: Reuters
JPMorgan estimates US debt sales set to reach 8yr high in 2018: Bloomberg
Global investors raise cash allocations, now above 10yr avg: MNI
A bitcoin exchange in South Korea goes bust after back: CNN
US 10yr yield rises to 2.46%, highest since late-October: Dow Jones

Are Recent S&P 500 Returns Excessive? Part II

Last week I reviewed US stock-market returns in context with recent history for perspective on deciding if the latest bull run is extreme. The results suggest that current trailing performance for one and three years was impressive but not yet off the charts. The caveat is that the analysis focused on the last quarter century using a proxy ETF. Will the results change if we use a much longer data set?
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Macro Briefing: 19 December 2017

Trump unveils national security strategy focusing on America First: The Hill
House set to roll out huge $81 billion disaster relief bill: Politico
Homebuilder sentiment in the US rises to 18-year high in Dec: Bloomberg
Inflation expectations rise at Japanese companies: RTT
CalPERS raises bond allocation to 28% from 20%: Reuters
Minneapolis Fed President voted against rate hike due to low inflation: Reuters
Morgan Stanley: low market vol “is reflective of the fundamentals”: MarketWatch
2-year Treasury yield above S&P 500 div yield for first time in a decade: Schwab