Perspectives Blog

Slack and inflation

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | July 21, 2014

Today’s low unemployment rate indicates modest slack in labor market, which implies earlier Fed rate hikes and/or more inflation risk. The decline in labor force participation in recent years now looks mostly structural. Investors should remain cautious around U.S. interest rate risk despite a solid first half of 2014. Excerpted from Zach Pandl’s newest whitepaper Structural weakness in labor force participation means there is less slack in th…

What to expect from Janet Yellen’s testimony

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | February 10, 2014

Yellen’s testimony before U.S. lawmakers will help clarify how she plans to govern the committee Some investors are expecting a meaningful change in direction from the Yellen Fed We look at four reasons why we anticipate continuity with the Bernanke regime After a few bewildering weeks with Nicolas Maduro and Erdem Basci, I can’t be the only one grateful to be turning attention back to Janet Yellen. The new Federal Reserve Board Chair will mak…

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…

Janet Yellen’s Fed

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

Chair of the Federal Reserve Board might be the most powerful job in global finance, and if Janet Yellen is confirmed, her views will weigh heavily on policy decisions — and influence financial markets — for at least the next four years. Yellen should be considered a dovish central banker, relative to other Fed officials. The bottom line for investors is that as long as inflation remains low, Yellen will likely advocate a slow exit…

More heat than light

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | October 3, 2013

Recent comments from the Fed have provided relatively little information about future QE tapering decisions. Officials have expressed contradictory views on several major policy concerns, including the state of the labor market. If economic growth continues over the next few months, tapering may commence in December. Following their surprising decision to maintain the current pace of quantitative easing (QE), Fed officials provided more detail…

Gaps, not growth

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | February 25, 2014

Monetary policy is primarily about “gaps” not growth: the Fed is trying to reduce spare capacity in the economy, not bring about a rapid expansion per se. Despite concerns over cyclical weakness in labor force participation, the unemployment rate is sending similar signals as most other output gap proxies. The output gap improved despite a relatively slow expansion, suggesting weak potential growth. While it’s far too soon to revise any medium…

U.S. rates — play for growth

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | December 10, 2013

…y shutdown and November benefitted from the bounce back). U.S. growth indicator, % annualized Broadly speaking, improving activity data should bring forward the timing of tapering and probably motivates some reworking of the Fed’s communication framework. There remains a great deal of uncertainty about the details, however. Given the decline in the unemployment rate to the symbolically important level of 7.0%—the original guidepost for the end d…