Perspectives Blog

Labor markets in the new digital age

Columbia Management, Investment Team | April 14, 2014

The downside to technological progress is short-term dislocations and job loss for those displaced by automation. Workers with high skills and advanced education command a wage premium while unskilled and lower-skilled workers are displaced which aggravates income inequality. The winners will be those who have skills complementary to the new emerging technologies and those who discern how best to adapt and gain competitive advantage. By Marie…

Biotech’s beneficiaries: How outsourcing is improving the sector and spreading the wealth

Aaron Reames, Senior Equity Analyst | February 24, 2014

Conditions favor biotech outperformance of broader markets for at least a few more quarters. Outsourcing offers biotech firms varied advantages, from cost reduction to enhancing credibility. The sector’s success and the outsourcing trend is fueling ancillary businesses, notably specialty REITs, CROs and research tools companies. As biotech indices continue to surpass all-time highs, one must contemplate if there is additional room to run. We c…

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…

Second quarter earnings preview

Tom West, Director of Equity Research | June 30, 2014

We believe YTD valuation improvement in stocks is more likely the result of basic supply and demand than an upward revision off corporate prospects. Going into corporate reporting season, we’re focused on whether the cyclical sectors show some signs of increasing activity. For the less cyclical sectors and consumer discretionary industries, we want to see if pricing holds up amid flattish demand and a tepid wage growth. In about a week, corpor…

Where’s Waldo? Be on the lookout for rising costs in a low growth world

Paul DiGiacomo, Senior Analyst | August 18, 2014

Broad measures of cost inflation (PPI and CPI) growth rates have remained near 2% for the past three years. Sharp increases have occurred in isolated areas like trucking, but the effect is far-reaching. Investors must be on the lookout for accelerating expense growth within a company or industry cost structure, as high inflation can lead to lower stock returns. Over the past three years, Producer Price Index (PPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI…

Retail sector outlook – It’s a share game

Mari Shor, Senior Equity Analyst | March 17, 2014

We believe that many of the macro and micro headwinds experienced through 2013 will continue into 2014. Low correlations across apparel retailers and manufacturers provide opportunities to generate alpha through stock picking. Faced with structural and cyclical headwinds, apparel retailers will need global brand strength, enhanced technological capabilities and supply chain expertise to gain market share. Recent data points across the consumer…