Posts Tagged ‘federal reserve’
The fact is that Japan is finally beginning to see some results from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s aggressive strategy to inject $2.4 trillion into the Japanese economy over the next decade.
Maybe this time it’s for real. Previous attempts to drive Japan’s economy out of its economic tailspin have failed. Of course, it will take some time, and success will depend on the continued weakness of the yen and a pickup in the global economy, especially with the country’s key trading partners in China.
If the first quarter was any indication, the despair in Japan may be finally coming to an end after decades of disappointment; but again, it’s only one quarter.
Japan saw its gross domestic product (GDP) surge 0.9% in the first quarter or an annualized rate of 3.5%, according to data from Japan’s Cabinet Office. (Source: “Japan GDP Rises 0.9% On Quarter In Q1,” RTTNews, May 15, 2103.)
What’s also interesting is the rise in private consumption in Japan, which contributed to 2.3% of the 3.5% GDP growth. The upward move in consumer spending is critical, as a large part of the economic renewal in Japan will be dependent on consumer spending as is the case in the United States. According to Trading Economics, consumer spending accounted for about 60% of GDP in Japan, so it’s essential.
While it’s still way too early to see if Japan is on the path to growth, the country’s … Read More
The stock market has only one direction in mind and that’s up. I sense there’s froth building up. This current market action reminds me a bit of what happened in 1999, but the situation is different in that interest rates are at record lows, the Federal Reserve is providing liquidity, and the valuation of stocks is much more reasonable versus that of 1999.
My concern is how far the stock market can rise before we see a correction of any significant magnitude. Yet even with selling, it would be a buying opportunity, not a sign to exit.
The one key thing you need to make sure of is that your portfolio is diversified to withstand any major selling in a particular sector and market cap. Case in point: if you were heavily weighted in the precious metals, such as gold and silver, your portfolio would have been devastated by now.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any metals in your portfolio, but you need to have ample diversification, which is the key to success in the stock market.
If your assets are well diversified, it would be fine to play a possible upside bounce in gold. (Read “Is Gold’s Near-Beath Crisis Over-Exaggerated? Concerns of a Market Meltdown May Not Be.”)
The reality is that it doesn’t matter if you are investing in real estate, gold, stocks, art, or classic cars; the prudent way to protect your assets is to make sure you are diversified in the stock market.
The concept of spreading the investment risk is portfolio management—a process that encompasses the creation, monitoring, and adjustment of … Read More
It is a phrase that’s pertinent to the stock market.
Without question, I remain completely taken aback by what has transpired with the stock market since the beginning of the year.
Looking at the numbers, not being invested in many corporations has been costly.
Excluding the reasons why, the simple fact is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 16% since the beginning of the year (not including dividends).
The S&P 500 is up 15.7%. The NASDAQ Composite is up 14.8% and the Russell 2000, an index of small-caps, is up 16.6% (not including dividends).
I think this stock market can smell the end of quantitative easing.
More meaningful, however, is the Federal Reserve’s policy regarding interest rates, which are going to continue to be low for the near future, as it has been made very clear.
This is a huge, perhaps neglected, certainty for the stock market and corporations.
Making the case for being a buyer in this market is extremely difficult. Institutional investors have already placed their bets and a lot of corporations—good companies with real staying power and solid prospects for earnings growth going forward—are fully priced.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE/JNJ) is a benchmark stock. Like many large corporations, Johnson & Johnson does everything it can to squeeze every penny out of its bottom line. The company lays off employees, closes plants, and does everything to minimize taxes. Johnson & Johnson’s 10-year stock chart is featured below:
Chart courtesy … Read More
Core retail sales declined 0.1% in April—and that’s after they already fell 0.4% in the previous month! (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, May 13, 2013.)
When compared to the first four months of 2012, consumer spending in the U.S. economy declined in the first four months of 2013 at electronics and appliance stores, health and personal care stores, gasoline stations, and general merchandise stores.
And looking forward, consumer spending in the U.S. economy doesn’t appear to look very promising either.
If companies don’t spend or create better-quality/better-paying jobs, can consumer spending really pick up? It’s well documented in these pages: the job creation we have seen since the financial crisis started has been in low-wage-paying sectors.
Keeping all this in mind, with consumer spending still bleak and core retail sales constantly declining, the retailer must be suffering.
But that’s not so!
When you look at the stock market and, more specifically, at the retailers, it appears that consumer spending in the U.S. economy is booming! Consider the chart below of the S&P Retail Index. This index tracks the performance of some of the most well-known retailers in the U.S. economy.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Dear reader, the stock market isn’t portraying the real picture of the U.S. economy. The retail sales number actually shows how consumer spending—the biggest contributor to our gross domestic product (GDP)—is fairing, and those numbers look terrible.
Even with the printing of trillions of dollars of new money via quantitative easing, the Federal … Read More
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