Book Bits: 24 February 2024

Taming the Octopus: The Long Battle for the Soul of the Corporation
Kyle Edward Williams
Review via The Wall Street Journal
The question of corporate purpose is central to Kyle Edward Williams’s “Taming the Octopus,” a history of efforts by American government officials and activists to rein in corporate power and even harness it to their favorite causes. These efforts are based on the idea that the limited-liability corporation, “its tentacles wrapped around the globe many times over,” ought to be accountable. But, as the author asks: “Accountable to whom or to what?”

Continue reading

Macro Briefing: 23 February 2024

* US government faces shutdown deadline next week (March 1)
* Fed Gov. Waller wants more evidence inflation is cooling before cutting rates
* US existing home sales rose 3.1% in January but fell vs. year-ago level
* Jobless claims in US decline to lowest level in five weeks
* US economic activity fell in January via Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity Index, but…
* US economy continues modest expansion in February, PMI survey finds:

Continue reading

Macro Briefing: 22 February 2024

* Fed officials express concern of slowing inflation progress in minutes
* Eurozone downturn eases as price pressures intensify in February: PMI survey
* China’s efforts to develop AI resources relies on US technology
* Stocks in Japan close at record high, rising above 1989 peak
* Nvidia strong earnings report boost outlook for artificial intelligence
* US 10-year Treasury yield ticks up to highest level since Dec. 1:

Continue reading

Markets Continue To Price In Path For Rate Cuts In 2024

The latest inflation data is sticky, but the markets have only delayed rather than canceled expectations for that the Federal Reserve will start trimming interest rates in the near future. Some analysts are pushing back on the idea, including forecasts in some quarters that the Fed may leave rates higher for longer. But judging by implied market estimates for changes in monetary policy, the central bank is still on track to cut in the near term.

Continue reading

Macro Briefing: 21 February 2024

* Conference Board abandons long-running US recession call
* US consumers’ food spending’s share of disposable income rises to 30-year high
* China’s economic fallout taking a toll on global banks
* Vietnam set for world’s sharpest increase in wealth, consultancy forecasts
* America’s commercial casinos report record year for revenue in 2023
* Hedge funds pared exposure to Magnificent Seven megacap tech stocks in Q4
* US Leading Economic Index “continues to signal headwinds” in January:

Continue reading

Estimating US Recession Risk Using Economic Data For States

What are the choices for monitoring and estimating recession risk? Slightly lower than the number of stars in the universe. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but not much. The good news: the search for robust, relatively reliable indicators narrows the field dramatically. But there’s always more to learn, in part because the supply of data sets is vast, increasingly so. Which brings me to another indicator that looks promising: state coincident indexes.

Continue reading

Macro Briefing: 20 February 2024

* Delinquent commercial property loans exceed reserves at largest US banks
* Boom in EV battery metals showing signs of turning into a bust
* China banks cut key interest rate as economy falters
* Germany likely in recession, advises the country’s central bank
* Capital One will buy Discover, uniting two of the largest credit card firms
* SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son looks to raise $100 billion for new AI chip venture
* Goldman Sachs lifts S&P 500 target to 5,200 in 2024 on upbeat profits outlook:

Continue reading