Entries filed under 'U.S. Economy & Policy'

    Fresh Signs of Strength for the U.S. Labor Market

    October 7, 2016 2:13 PM by Giulio Martini

    A decline in a measure of initial jobless claims to a 43-year low suggests an important structural change that bears closer scrutiny.

    Amid a recent string of encouraging data reports on the U.S. labor market, the October 6th release of weekly figures for first-time filings for unemployment benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor stands out.

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    The Fed Faces a Changed World

    January 27, 2016 4:48 PM by Zane Brown

    The U.S. Federal Reserve’s January policy statement acknowledged global market turmoil and implied a less aggressive pace of rate hikes.

    What a difference a month makes. The world in which the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) conducted its two-day policy meeting on January 27 is quite a different place than the one that characterized its previous meeting in mid-December. 

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    January 6, 2016 2:26 PM by Karyn McCormack


    The Fed Awakens

    December 16, 2015 4:13 PM by Zane Brown

    The long-awaited interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve is now a reality. Perhaps more important to investors, policymakers indicated that they may not be in a rush to tighten further. 

    As the NASA hands at Mission Control might say, “We have liftoff.” The U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed) policy-setting arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), delivered its long-promised 25 basis-point increase in the fed funds rate at the conclusion of its meeting on December 15–16. The Fed’s last rate hike was in June 2006.

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    The Fed: Why This Rate Hike Will Be Different

    December 15, 2015 2:46 PM by Zane Brown

    The anticipated tightening move by the U.S. Federal Reserve on December 16 would feature some new wrinkles. Here’s an explanation of the process.

    A December rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) will be the first such move since June 2006. For many advisors, it will be the first rate hike in their career. It also will mark something of a first for the Fed, too.

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    Global Economy: Developments to Watch after Paris

    November 19, 2015 4:20 PM by Zane Brown

    What should investors be monitoring in the wake of the attacks on November 13? 

    As governments respond to the threat of terrorism in the aftermath of the November 13 attacks in Paris by Islamic State (IS), some developing trends may have significant economic implications. 

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    The Fed: October Jobs Report Starts Countdown to "Liftoff"

    November 6, 2015 1:25 PM by Zane Brown

    Strong growth in nonfarm payrolls, and an uptick in hourly earnings, increases the odds of a December rate hike. 

    Will we have “liftoff” at last? The 271,000 monthly gain in nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. employment report for October, released Friday, November 6 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, boosts the likelihood of a rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) at its December policy meeting. 

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    The Fed: Are Yellen and Markets on the Same Page?

    September 25, 2015 4:04 PM by Zane Brown

    The U.S. Federal Reserve chair attempted to clarify the central bank’s policy stance on September 24. Investors appear far from convinced. 

    In an academic speech at the University of Massachusetts, on September 24, U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) chairwoman Janet Yellen did her best to provide clarity on the direction of Fed policy. The fine-tuning came one week after a communiqué from the Fed’s policy-setting arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), on September 17—and a subsequent press conference from Yellen—that left investors dazed and confused.

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    The Fed Scrubs a September "Liftoff"

    September 17, 2015 3:38 PM by Zane Brown

    Besides leaving the fed funds rate unchanged, the U.S. central bank also signaled a measured pace to future interest-rate hikes. 

    The long-awaited rate increase—“liftoff”— will have to wait at least another month. Although low unemployment (5.1%) and improving labor conditions provided justification for the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) to raise rates, the central bank’s policy-setting arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), opted to delay taking the first step to policy normalization at the conclusion of its policy meeting on September 16–17.  

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    For the Fed, a 1/8% Solution

    September 11, 2015 1:15 PM by Zane Brown

    By starting small, the U.S. Federal Reserve could initiate interest-rate hikes without sparking market volatility.

    The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) needs to replenish its policy ammunition. To achieve that, it will have to raise the fed funds rate from its current near-zero level. Such a move will help the central bank restore its traditional policy approach of adjusting the benchmark interest rate to help speed up, or slow down, U.S. economic growth, while ensuring that price stability and employment growth are maintained.

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