Sigma Signals

Week of May 30, 2023 The debt ceiling negotiations between President Biden and House Speaker Mcarthy produced a very large slice of nothing cake. Party leaders have agreed to raise the debt limit along with modest spending reforms. Optimized fiscal policy, for maximal impact on the economy, suggests a focus on infrastructure spending, defense, and … Continued

The First Rule of Wing Walking

Wing walking is the art of moving along the wings of an airplane, most commonly a biplane, during flight.  It originated as a daredevil stunt in the aerial barnstorming shows of the 1920s. Clearly, the first rule of wing walking is, or should be, don’t let go of what you have, before you have a firm … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of May 22, 2023 The upside to the recent spike in inflation is the renewed sensitivity between interest rates and inflation. For decades, bonds paid rates of interest that were in excess of inflation, while in recent years, this has not been the case. Fixed income investments that are safe and stable, and also … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of May 15, 2023 A week after Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced his latest hike in interest rates, capital markets digested the news with little fanfare. Wage and price pressures, or lack thereof, as well as US debt ceiling negotiations, continue to dominate the news cycle. Our Signals remain unchanged. Bob Bilkie, CFA

What Do Consumers Want?

For manufacturers and marketers of products and/or services, this, along with how to reach them, would seem to be key questions.  This is not a new issue, but with the advent of Covid-19, considerably more complex. More than 100 years ago, John Wanamaker reportedly said, ” half of your ad money is wasted”.  More recently, … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of May 8, 2023 Monetary policy and fiscal policy should work in tandem, with actions to spur economic growth when conditions are recessionary and inflation pressures are moderate, and doing the opposite when the economy is overheating. The upcoming budget negotiations between Speaker of the House McCarthy and President Biden should proceed with these … Continued

Big Brother and Your Big Mac

In the fall of 2022, California passed what shortens to the FAST bill, (Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act), which would require fast-food restaurants to pay a minimum wage of $22 an hour with annual increases of 3.5%.  Following considerable pushback, a referendum vote has been scheduled for November 2024 and implementation is blocked … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of May 1, 2023 Last week saw a bevy of corporate earnings reports and, for the most part, expectations were exceeded. This caused a general lift in equity prices, broadly speaking. Budget/debt negotiations between Speaker of the House McCarthy and President Biden are moving to center stage. Our Signals remained unchanged. Bob Bilkie, CFA

The Taiwan Strait

The Taiwan Strait is one of the world’s busiest waterways and the main passage for cargo moving between Southeast Asia and Japan, South Korea and Northern China.  The strait, while approximately 200 miles wide, is only navigable by modern ships through a stretch of some 15 miles.  China claims it has sovereignty and jurisdiction over … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 24, 2023 Bed Bath & Beyond, an icon of the baby boomer/household formation generation, just declared bankruptcy. While some may lament the passing of this era, others will applaud US economic dynamism, the same dynamism that gave rise to entities like Costco, Amazon, and TJ Maxx that shot their arrows through the … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 17, 2023 The New York Times columnist David French references Yeats in his April 16 essay, noting that the “…center can hold….” In particular, he highlights the current trend in academia towards the support of free speech and free expression. While this may seem a trite microcosm, it does reflect on the … Continued

Are We Becoming More Gullible?

At first glance, with an almost constant stream of media reports of large losses attributable to fraud, highly speculative trading and questionable advice/promotions by well-known, highly visible personalities, it may seem so.  These incidents gained more attention because of social media, but that doesn’t mean that they’re happening more often.  Moreover, easy access to a … Continued