Monthly Archives: February 2021

Macro Briefing: 23 February 2021

* Fed and Treasury officials say US jobless rate is near 10%–well above official rate
* Price tag for severe weather blowback in Texas: $50 billion
* US factories struggling to keep up with snap-back in consumer demand
* Bond yields rise ahead of Fed Chairman Powell’s testimony in Congress
* Eurozone core consumer inflation rebounds to 5-year high in January
* UK unemployment rate at 5-year high in 2020’s fourth quarter
* US Leading Economic Index rose in January, pointing to firmer growth outlook
* Texas manufacturing sector growth accelerates in February
* US economic activity strengthened in January via Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity Index:

Macro Briefing: 22 February 2021

* House set to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package this week
* Huge protests in Myanmar continue despite threats from military
* Boeing 777s grounded after Denver engine failure
* Global cases of coronavirus peaked in January, according to latest data
* Americans may still need to wear masks in 2022, Fauci says
* Will the US economic recovery accelerate and bring years of strong growth?
* Will firmer inflation create trouble for Wall Street? Maybe not
* Brent crude oil rebounds–Goldman predicts price will top $70/barrel
* German business sentiment rose far more than expected in February
* US business activity near 6-year high in February via PMI survey data:

Book Bits: 20 February 2021

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
Bill Gates
Review via Associated Press
Gates has crafted a calm, reasoned, well-sourced explanation of the greatest challenge of our time and what we must change to avoid cooking our planet in “How to Avoid Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need.”
His goal with this book appears to be to explain and persuade and although he doesn’t say so in the book, the implicit theme parallels something President Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give the people the facts and the nation will be safe,” meaning we Americans would make the right decisions about the problems we face if we have the facts.
Will we though?

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The ETF Portfolio Strategist: 19 Feb 2021

In this issue:

  • Inverse together: interest rates rise and (most) stock markets fall
  • Portfolio strategy benchmarks take a hit after two weeks of gain

US equities on the defensive as Treasury yields continue to rise: Maybe it wasn’t solely about the ongoing upswing in rates, but it probably didn’t help. Whatever the reason(s), US shares fell 0.7% this week through Friday’s close (Feb. 19), based on Vanguard Total US Stock Market (VTI). The ETF posted its first weekly decline in three weeks. That still leaves the fund close to a record high, which was set only a week ago. But with interest rates rising, and showing an increasingly robust upside trend, the burning question is: How much tolerance can equities muster if the reflation trade for yields rolls on?

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Macro Briefing: 19 February 2021

* Millions left without safe drinking water in Texas after winter storm
* Texas’ storm cut 40% of US oil output
* Biden plans to tell G7 today to work together on China challenge
* White House ready for talks with Iran to discuss return to 2015 nuclear deal
* Fed governor Lael Brainard: climate change affecting economy
* Treasury Secretary Yellen reaffirms need for large stimulus package
* Eurozone economy contracted for fourth straight month in February
* Manufacturing revival threatened by global chip shortage
* Bitcoin market cap approaches $1 trillion
* Lumber prices briefly topped $1,000 per 1,000 board feet, a record high
* US jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week, reaching a one-month high
* US housing starts eased in January but new building permits surged:

Modeling The ETF Opportunity Set: Part I

When the first exchange-traded fund (ETF) was launched in 1993, expectations were modest. The competition, after all, was the elephant in the room and had roughly a century to establish itself and dominate the industry. Nearly three decades later, open-end mutual funds still hold more assets than ETFs, but the latter long ago became a growth industry while mutual funds increasingly appear to be a sunset industry.

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