The evidence seems to be increasingly persuasive that economic growth is slowing materially. This is from the Economic Cycle Research Institute, which has a good track record of identifying turns in the business cycle. Its Weekly Leading Index is clearly showing a negative growth rate.
I have always been fascinated by economic cycles. What I have learned over the years is that financial excesses that reverse into fear and revulsion are often catalysts for economic downturns. Real estate, commercial and/or residential, are often culprits because they are assets that can be leveraged which can magnify returns as well as often being influenced by tax advantages which can stimulate demand beyond its longer-term trend.
Last week was brutal for retailers as major earnings announcements showed how they have been hit very hard by huge cost increases. Wal-Mart started the week off shocking the market with its very weak earnings outlook and then there was Target.
Its stock price got absolutely crushed in the wake of its results being released.
There’s no question now that the Federal Reserve is in full hawkish mode. The release last week of the minutes of the previous FOMC meeting left no doubt that they are on an aggressive path to squelch inflation through demand destruction and tightening financial conditions.
There’s nothing like a challenge to focus one’s mind, attention, and organization of one’s life to meet that challenge. I was playing doubles last Tuesday night and right before the match, I received a text from someone who I play singles with fairly regularly.
Investors are always asking the question what inning are we in when it comes to where we are in a particular cycle. It’s a pertinent question related to housing as it has had a tremendous run in terms of home price appreciation, equity build-up among homeowners, and tremendous profits for builders and investors.
2021 is now in the history books and it should be a year worthy of study and reflection. We had to work through a full year of Covid and the huge collateral damage that it has done to people’s physical and mental health,
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