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One of the common transitions that bull markets go through as they age and die is a narrowing of leadership. As formerly strong sectors begin to stall out, investors shift into whatever is still looking good — that is, whatever still has upward momentum. Eventually capital becomes concentrated in just a few names. Then those […]

Bad Numbers And Dark Prophecies: Almost Everybody’s Cutting Something

The drumbeat of bad (and sometimes just plain weird) news has risen lately — but today’s batch stands out. Here’s a small sampling: US jobless claims were higher than expected, and continue the rising trend of the past few weeks. US layoffs surged to a six month high, while asset write-downs are up worldwide. Among […]

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This Is Really Bad For Banks

Once upon a time, falling interest rates were great for banks. A lower cost of capital gave lenders access to cheap raw material while causing borrowers to clamber for what banks were selling. Large profits usually ensued. But not now. Rates have fallen past the banks’ sweet spot to levels that just don’t work. Borrowers […]

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Epic Battle: Hedge Funds Versus China

George Soros’ successful bet against the British pound back in 1992 remains one of financial history’s epic tales. The short version of the story begins with Britain linking its currency, the pound, to the German deutschmark via the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). But Britain’s inflation rate was higher than Germany’s, which created a growing […]

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Atlanta Fed Sees Far Weaker Than Expected Q1 GDP

Another Monday, another set of “surprisingly” bad economic numbers. A few representative headlines: China manufacturing prices decline for 18th straight month Oil prices fall 5% on bad China data, OPEC uncertainty Global factories parched for demand, need stimulus Junk bonds suffer a rare negative return in January US consumer spending softens, savings hit 3-year high […]

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