Perspectives Blog

Gimme credit

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | August 22, 2013

Economic data seem largely unchanged from past trends, despite uptick in retail sales. Consumers continued to pare their debt last quarter continuing a nearly five-year trend. Given consumer deleveraging, consumption remains tethered to income gains – and those gains remain sub-par. Last week’s economic data give a very mixed picture of the health of the consumer. While the market seemed to cheer the uptick in spending seen in retail sales rep…

Retail sector outlook – It’s a share game

Mari Shor, Senior Equity Analyst | March 17, 2014

…the positives with 1) lower levels of growth in disposable income forcing allocations across spending categories; 2) the personal savings rate likely to rebound from near 20-year historical lows, thus eating into spending; 3) consumers’ reluctance to take on additional leverage despite increasing willingness by banks to lend; and 4) limited upward pressure on wages as hiring has lagged prior economic recoveries. On the first point, the “allocatio…

Hanging in

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | September 20, 2013

Recent retail sales data are well below expectations and probably an indication that consumers have become more cautious about spending. Financial conditions matter greatly, and the recent tightening is likely having some impact on housing activity and consumer attitudes. Spending follows wages and it will be difficult for retail spending to gain much traction with the tie to shallow compensation trends. The best one can say about consumer spe…

The bean counting on second quarter GDP

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 25, 2013

…did in 2012’s fourth quarter when GDP growth came in at a paltry 0.4%. There are also two factors that may lend some support. First, consumer spending has remained relatively firm so far. Many expected the tax hit would cause consumers to cut back, but they remain resilient. Labor markets are producing steady job growth near 200,000 monthly, consumer confidence is improving, and income gains are slightly better. Of course consumption will be soft…

It’s a mobile world

Dave Egan, Senior Equity Analyst | March 10, 2014

…e using too broad of a brush for the space and are missing a number of investment opportunities. For example, while the high-end is decelerating, the low-end in China and the emerging markets continue to see strong growth. As consumers in these areas trade up from voice-only feature phones to 3G/4G data-centric smartphones, the dollar amount of components per phone continues to rise. For example, radio frequency (RF) components in 2G voice phones…

Digital dining: How restaurants are applying technology to drive sales

Daniel Spelman, Equity Analyst | February 24, 2014

…m online channels. Domino’s U.S. digital orders have reached a $1.4 billion run rate ($3 billion globally), $459 million of which is from mobile. The company’s smartphone app has been downloaded 7.4 million times and provides consumers the ability to reorder favorite items in just five clicks or 30 seconds. Gone are the days of waiting to get through to someone on the phone or having an order misunderstood due to a bad connection. Because orders…

The taxman cometh

James Dearborn, Head of Municipal Bonds | March 13, 2014

…ive minimum tax for certain investors. Federal and state income tax rules will apply to any capital gain distributions and any gains or losses on sales. Columbia Management and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.  …