Markets Gain On Optimism – Equity Overview

Optimism deriving from continuing fiscal and monetary stimulus efforts in addition to vaccination progress drove equities higher in the first quarter. Major equity indices moved higher with the energy, financial and industrial sectors leading in the first quarter. International developed market indices were mostly positive for the first quarter, with emerging market indices primarily flat to negative amid growing debt …

How Government Inflation Gauges Differ – Macro-Economic Dynamics

The traditional gauge for inflation, known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI), is being challenged by yet another government-produced measure known as Consumer Expectations. The most recent data released shows an inflation rate of 1.7%, as noted by the CPI compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for February 2021. The Federal Reserve maintains its own inflation gauge, yet is …

Yields Continue To Move Upward – Fixed Income Update

Yields rose across all fixed income sectors, with the 10-year Treasury yield reaching 1.74% as of March 31st, the highest level since January 2020. The onslaught of rising yields has been in conjunction with heightened inflationary pressures. Some analysts and economists believe that interest rates will rise more slowly in response to inflation, allowing for gradually elevating bond yields. Higher …

Macro Economic Overview

Stimulus payments from the second pandemic relief package were received in January and February, stirring economic activity and increasing personal incomes and expenditures. Some economists, however, believe that the rise in incomes and expenditures are short-lived and not consistent. An anticipated third round of stimulus payments is expected to produce additional consumer activity throughout the economy. In addition to cash …

How Stimulus Payments Are Treated For Tax Purposes – Tax Planning

With over 160 million stimulus payments sent with the first round of pandemic relief efforts, many in receipt of the payments are asking whether the payments are taxable or not. The IRS has clearly stated that stimulus payments, regardless of income or status, are not taxable.  For those that did not receive a stimulus payment in 2020 but believe that …

Fed Continues To Stabilize Interest Rates By Buying Bonds – Fixed Income Overview

The Federal Reserve signaled that it would continue its ambitious program of buying $120 billion of treasury and mortgage bonds each month. The bond buying is meant to provide economic stimulus and stabilize interest rates.  Bond analysts believe that the Fed is distorting bond yields and prices by its ambitious buying of Treasury and mortgage bonds in the markets. Some …

Where Has The Flu Gone This Season – Health Awareness

With the focus on COVID-19 and the daily updates surrounding the case count for the coronavirus, many have forgotten about the decades-old flu, also known as the influenza virus. Surprisingly enough, the flu has nearly vanished this flu season, with reports of flu cases the lowest in decades. February saw one of the lowest case counts of flu cases ever, …

Food Prices On The Rise – Consumer Inflation

The price of food, from oranges to eggs to meat, increased at an annual rate of 3.9% in 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices are projected to increase 2-3% in 2021 as forecasted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The 20-year historical average increase has been a 2.4% increase per year. Of the various food items seeing …

Misleading Increase In U.S. Incomes – Government Reporting

Data released by the Commerce Department showed that personal income for Americans rose 10% in January, the largest increase in nine months and exceeding forecasts. The steep rise was primarily due to the second round of stimulus funds originating from the $900 billion pandemic relief bill passed in December and received by consumers in January and February. Some analysts and …