While there has been a broad slowing in the last 15 months, the U.S. housing market has stabilized and started to recover. Homebuilders are catering to upscale buyers where financing is less of a constraint, and also building larger and more expensive homes. Housing has started to add to economic activity after stalling for the
Prospective returns for Treasuries now look poor across the curve—not just at the front end. Yield curves tend to flatten as central banks raise short-term rates, but valuations have now moved beyond the point where these trades make sense. Investors should brace for higher interest rates, not just a flattening yield curve. When the facts
Fed officials have highlighted underemployment but offered little guidance about how this issue affects the policy outlook. Traditional tools like the Taylor Rule need to be recalibrated if the central bank focuses on a different measure of slack, so they offer little guidance to investors at the moment. We hope to learn more at this
Since 2011, consumer spending has been below average overall, and spending on retail apparel has been especially poor. A host of factors, from shifting consumer priorities to poor inventory control have forced apparel retailers to compete on price, and sales and profitability have suffered dramatically. Premier global brands with differentiated product and strong, flexible supply
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
Long-maturity bond yields are determined at a global level. Abnormally low forward rates are not just a U.S. phenomenon: there’s been a similar shift in the relationship between rates and growth across developed markets. If global rates remain persistently low, financial conditions will eventually need to tighten in other ways to offset this unexpected stimulus.
Evidence of data dependency at the June FOMC meeting suggests policy will respond to unemployment and inflation surprises. We are more confident the Fed’s reaction function is (nearly) done moving. We therefore remain cautious about exposure to U.S. interest rate risk, especially at the middle of the yield curve. The June FOMC meeting contained a