Perspectives Blog

Defense industry outlook – Looking past the headlines

Ben Blomberg, Senior Equity Analyst | March 17, 2014

The outlook for U.S. defense contractors has been improving despite all the negative headlines. Army spending is under pressure, but Navy and Air Force spending remain well supported. The recent Ryan-Murray deal is a substantial positive, with a more predictable DoD outlook. Defense investors have had their share of bad news around the trajectory of defense spending, starting with the Budget Control Act of 2011, followed by the failure of the…

More light, less tunnel

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | October 31, 2013

After a data vacuum of almost three weeks, government agencies have started to gear up again with key reports; unfortunately, they present a picture of economic activity in the third quarter that ended on a soft note. While the third quarter is typically the weakest in a given year, the current trend in employment is disappointing. It appears the elusive turn in capital spending will await 2014 and then see only a modest build at some point nex…

A tepid cyclical lift

Tom West, Director of Equity Research | April 28, 2014

Cyclical investment and discretionary spending are on track to deliver earnings growth of 7% in the S&P 500. Strength in some consumer durables appears more of a “wallet share” gain than a general lift due to recovering wages or a release of excess savings. Construction and energy are poised for another year of growth, while “enterprise” spending and investment in the tech sector remain challenged. The S&P 500 Index should grow earning…

How bad is China’s credit crisis?

Weili Jasmine Huang, Senior Portfolio Manager | February 3, 2014

…ssue ultimately requires fundamental change in the China financial system. While the government has announced and begun to implement some reforms, there will be no easy or immediate fix. Reform efforts to fundamentally adjust spending responsibility between central and local government (allowing private capital to invest in urban infrastructure construction, allowing bond issuance and setting up local government balance sheets to improve transpar…

Credit alternatives in government-backed debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 23, 2014

One way investors may boost yields without taking on undue credit risk is through U.S. government agency debt. While many investors associate U.S. agency debt with very low yields, other types of agency debt can offer significant spreads to Treasuries with a modest decline in liquidity. We have been increasing our allocation to the agency market in core portfolios as a way to reduce credit risk while maintaining competitive yields. By Carl W….

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…

A tale of two labor markets

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | November 11, 2013

ates growth. We’ve seen inventory gains for three consecutive quarters—unusual for the second half of a business cycle. As a result, Q4 GDP will be a little lighter on this in combination with the shutdown drag. PCE (personal spending) was soft, up only 1.5%, and the smallest rise in two years. Unfortunately, business spending actually pulled back, the first decline in a year, as uncertainty is still restraining spending. Residential investment a…