Perspectives Blog

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

U.S. consumers have taken a more cautious attitude toward debt and been more selective about using it for discretionary purchases. With consumers using credit cards less and using debit cards much more, the supports for higher discretionary spending are keyed off income and wages and also employment. With low debt use and income growth holding back consumption and demand, households will require stronger job growth and real wage gains to accele…

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…

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…

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…

Special report – 2014 mid-year review and outlook

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 16, 2014

…cond quarter growth to above trend. Importantly, housing has become less of an accelerator for the recovery, as affordability was dented due to higher interest rates and home prices. Consumer spending appears steady, although consumers appear less inclined to add to debt, particularly for discretionary purposes, with income gains remaining tepid at best. Outlook: Economic trends still appear likely to pick up in the second half of 2014 to near 2….

Hungry for income? High yield munis could be your meal ticket

Chad Farrington, CFA, Head of Municipal Bond Credit Research and Senior Portfolio Manager | May 28, 2014

…sued as part of a transaction size greater than $20 million, and rated no higher than ‘BB+’ or equivalent by any of the three principal rating agencies. 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….