Perspectives Blog

Rebalancing the U.S. economy

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | January 13, 2014

Both fiscal and monetary policy will begin to normalize in 2014 The economy’s performance will be an important metric for markets as growth needs to catch up The key to getting growth beyond 2% is for business to borrow to improve/expand productive capital It’s happening again—a fourth quarter bounce in economic activity that extends into the first quarter and supports the view that growth really, finally, has started to accelerate. Such bounc…

Why GDP deserves less attention

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | August 12, 2013

In our view, gross domestic product (GDP) data are deeply flawed. To form a more accurate assessment of the economy, investors should include other measurements, such as gross domestic income. Official GDP growth was relatively soft in the first half of this year, but the broader set of activity data suggests the U.S. economy is doing just fine. Before joining Columbia Management I worked for several years as an economist at a few of the large…

Signs point to an improving U.S. economy

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | December 9, 2013

Data shows economy is improving Job growth is continuing GDP is not as good as the report would make you think The first week in December was a data goldmine for anyone hoping for news that the economy maintained momentum through the early autumn government distortions. The payroll report continued to post moderate and steady payroll gains consistent with a sustained improvement in labor markets. The interruption from the government shutdown i…

Labor market takes center stage

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | October 15, 2013

Labor market issues have long taken a central role in Janet Yellen’s career. Remarks indicate Yellen views current labor market challenges as potentially very costly for the economy, and she sees a role for monetary policy in promoting recovery. Yellen’s nomination likely raises the bar for Fed tightening, as long as inflation remains low. When it comes to the current priorities for monetary policy, investors already know where Janet Yellen st…

What investors should know about Fed forward guidance

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | March 24, 2014

…ast week, at Janet Yellen’s first meeting as Fed Chair, the FOMC revised its forward guidance for the funds rate, dropping its reference to 6.5% unemployment and instead stressing the committee’s qualitative assessment of the economy. The change was a symbolically important step, but did not alter the broader outlook for policy rates, in our view. The existing guidance was already obsolete, which is why markets hardly reacted as the unemployment…

U.S. rates — View update

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | April 4, 2014

…have less conviction that 3-5yr Treasuries will continue to underperform on the curve. Compared to the market consensus, our views have been more negative on three key duration fundamentals: 1. The amount of slack in the U.S. economy 2. The credibility of the Fed’s forward guidance (the “dots”) 3. The willingness of Fed officials to overshoot their inflation and financial stability “targets” Taking each of these issues in turn: Slack: Today’s emp…

U.S. rates – Headwinds

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | March 17, 2014

…uidance will make three main points: (1) that the FOMC is in no hurry to raise rates, (2) that rate hikes can proceed gradually once they begin, and (3) that short-term rates could remain below pre-crisis levels even when the economy returns to normal. At this week’s meeting the FOMC looks likely to rework its forward guidance for short-term interest rates once again. By our count this will be the seventh variation since the funds rate reached z…