Economic Outlook

Focus On Commodities, China, Manufacturing And Interest Rates

The U.S. continues to “lead” the world economically, in a matter of speaking, even as emerging markets are still growing faster. However, it’s a halting, unsatisfying process. Whereas, say, a year ago most of our causal factors of growth were solidly “green”, or supportive of reasonable growth, the current dashboard shows a rather more mixed picture. We now observe several “yellow” (caution) and a couple of “red” (negative) sensors sprinkled in.

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Equity Portfolios

An Unremarkable Year

The fourth quarter was a good proxy for the rest of 2015, as U.S. equities did OK (they rose 5% for the very broad Wilshire 5000), but it felt disappointing.

There were many reasons to feel threatened last year. Collapsing commodity prices, Greece, China, ISIL, mass Syrian exodus into Europe, a rising U.S. dollar, weak manufacturing, Iran vs. Saudi Arabia/Shia vs. Sunni, and, finally, waiting and waiting and waiting on the Fed.

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Fixed Income Portfolios

Interest Rates Likely To Rise, But Gradually

The first Fed funds rate increase arrived last December, bringing an end to speculation about the launch of the tightening cycle. We anticipate a gradual increase in interest rates over the next 12-24 months, with the Fed weighing carefully the timing and magnitude of its every intended move. This slow-but-steady path to higher rates could create several investment opportunities in fixed-income markets, both in the U.S. and internationally

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