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@theMarket: Economy Grows Less Than Expected
By Bill Schmick,
05:42PM / Friday, July 30, 2021
The good news first. The economy grew by 6.5 percent in the second quarter, which was one of the best quarters in recent memory. The bad news: it was a big miss.   Economists were expecting an 8.4 percent rise, but the markets took it in stride. One explanation is that investors are well aware that the macroeconomic data is, at best, somewhat unreliable and prone to large revisions. It is not the government's fault. The pandemic and subsequent reopening of the economy has made gathering economic data difficult.   Another reason investors gave the miss a pass is that consumer spending, the biggest component of U.S. economic activity, exceeded expectations. A

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@theMarket: Wild Week for Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
03:14PM / Friday, July 23, 2021
In just one week, the major averages have had a 3 percent swing from lows to highs. These gyrations go hand in hand with the high level of indecision investors are feeling right now. Can you blame them?   Last week, and into the end of the day on Monday, the S&P 500 Index registered a 3 percent decline. In the next few days, all of those losses were recouped and then some. While investors breathed a sigh of relief, I don't think we are out of the woods just yet.   Most strategists blame the decline in stocks on the free fall in yields. The U.S Treasury Ten-Year Bond (the "Tens") fell to 1.13 percent at its lowest point on Monday. At the same

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@theMarket: Week of Surprises Keeps Investors Hopping
By Bill Schmick,
04:49PM / Friday, July 09, 2021
There were plenty of reasons why the stock market was a bit jumpy this week. Let's go through them.   Two weeks ago, I wrote that I was worried "that we could suddenly see a spike in new Delta variant cases that impacts economic growth. Remember that less than half of all Americans are fully vaccinated. President Biden, his chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci, and the Fed are all sounding warnings over this risk, yet the markets are ignoring it."   Investors finally caught on this week and began to realize the risk presented by the Delta variant and its impact on the re-opening of the U.S. economy. It is impossible, in my opinion, to maintain the

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@theMarket: Markets Grind Ever Higher
By Bill Schmick,
04:19PM / Friday, July 02, 2021
The S&P 500 Index is up 14 percent so far this year. Most other averages have similar double-digit gains. July is normally a fairly positive month (in general) for equities.  Does that mean we can expect equities to continue their bull run through the summer?   It certainly looks that way. Any pullbacks in stocks will likely be met by dip buyers. That could limit declines to a manageable level. A sustained rise in interest rates will likely wait until investors know with certainty the Fed's next move. The thinking is that there will be an announcement on tapering bond purchases, which may not happen until August, or September, if then.   Inflation

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@theMarket: Inflation Is Running 'Hot'
By Bill Schmick,
03:26PM / Friday, June 11, 2021
May's Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped the most since 2009. That follows a similar gain over the past three months that has brought the total increase to 6.9 percent on an annualized pace.   That is the largest gain in 13 years.   Excluding the notoriously volatile food and energy components, however, the "core" CPI rose by 0.7 percent, which was still larger than the forecast of 0.5 percent. Readers might scratch their head when looking at those numbers, since excluding food and energy makes little sense to us, who are faced with weekly rises in both commodities.   The difference is that the price of chicken or a $3 gallon of gas

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