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The Virtuous Circle

The Fed’s aggressive and creative policy response to the financial crisis is one of the most controversial and widely misunderstood financial topics in the modern era. The impact of the Fed’s actions on the real economy is debatable, but few would argue it has had significant influence on the psychology of financial market participants. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-virtuous-circle/

Behind The Curtain

The Federal Reserve is tasked with promoting high employment and low inflation via the effective management of money and interest rates. But how? Let’s pull back the curtain on the three primary policy tools the Fed uses to implement policy. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/behind-the-curtain/

A Three Legged Stool

Our last several posts have covered the history of banking in the United States, starting around the time of the Revolutionary War and leading up to the modern era of central banking. We shift gears this week to an examination of how the US Federal Reserved is structured and the roles of its various branches. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/a-three-legged-stool/

Long Way From Neutral

Monetary policy is simply not as exciting as it used to be. That said, last week Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made a passing comment that caused the markets to sit up and take notice. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/long-way-from-neutral/

The Perils of Low Volatility

Super accommodative monetary policy has been necessary to spur economic recovery and ensure markets don’t fall into a deflationary spiral. But these same policies which have kept interest rates at record lows for so long are creating vulnerabilities in the economy as debt levels continue to rise. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-perils-of-low-volatility/

Taking Stock in the Election

Today we’re taking a slight departure from any semblance of serious financial commentary and discussing one of those topics that is sure to bear little to no fruit – if not end up being downright counterproductive.It’s time to talk politics! More specifically, let’s prognosticate what might happen in financial markets in response to a Trump vs Clinton victory. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/taking-stock-in-the-election/

Bonds in Bondage

Bonds are an asset class that we have been giving a lot of thought to lately. Bonds are in bondage to the low rates created by loose monetary policy, and the question of what to do about it is one of the more frequent ones we field in client meetings. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/bonds-in-bondage/

All Together Now

Last Friday we caught a glimpse of the extent to which financial markets are still addicted to monetary stimulus when stocks, bonds and commodities all tumbled in response to comments made by Fed officials. When everything is grinding upward, moving All Together Now is not a problem, but that sentiment changes quickly when asset classes begin to nosedive in tandem. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/all-together-now/

Maybe We're All Confused

We have often argued that chaos theory has a lot to teach us about global economics. The seemingly infinite confluence of factors all intersecting in the economic space time continuum make it very difficult to decipher what current data means for the future. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/maybe-were-all-confused/

What is a Rate Hike Anyway?

We are now entering a new phase of the Fed cycle. After nearly seven years of zero percent interest rates we are finally on the precipice of an interest rate increase. In light of this, we thought now would be a good time to dig into what all this rate hike talk really means. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/what-is-a-rate-hike-anyway/

The Greek Tragedy (Act III)

The Greek crisis will surely be one of the defining macroeconomic stories of this decade. We are now in the sixth year of this drama. Greece has found its way back onto the front page repeatedly since late 2009, and the past six weeks have ushered in Act III (as measured by the number of bailouts the country has received) of what is truly turning into a Greek Tragedy. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-greek-tragedy-act-iii/

Labor Market Goes Out Like A Lamb

Last Friday the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs data for the month of March, and although the labor market entered the month like a lion, it went out like a lamb. This week we’ll unpack the current state of the jobs market by reviewing a series of charts. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/labor-market-goes-out-like-a-lamb/

The Greatest Fault

Everyone make mistakes, yet we have an inherent aversion to admitting them. This very human characteristic is a form of self defense by our ego that can counter-productive to being a successful investor and more importantly a well balanced individual. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-greatest-fault/

Fasten Your Seatbelts

The market’s reaction to the strong jobs’ report on Friday was not pretty. About the only investment that was green on the day was the US dollar. The problem the Fed now faces is whether or not to raise rates under the deflationary pressure of a strong currency and lackluster growth in other developed countries. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/fasten-your-seatbelts/

Swiss Surprise

Last Thursday the Swiss National Bank (SNB) surprised the market by announcing that it would no longer peg the value of the Swiss Franc to the Euro. The news sent the Franc soaring against the Euro while the Swiss stock market cratered. This week we look at the reasons for the peg, why it may have ended so abruptly, and what it all means for our US-based clients. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/swiss-surprise/

Crude Chaos

Chaos theory is extremely applicable to the world of economics, capital markets and public policy. If the economy is a pool of water, every decision made by every individual, corporation and policy maker is a pebble (some larger than others) creating its own individual ripple effects. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/crude-chaos/

The Cleanest Dirty Shirt

There are myriad reasons for the recent strength in our currency, but one of the simplest explanations is that despite its problems the US Dollar is still the “cleanest dirty shirt in the closet”. The fact of the matter is that the headwinds of over-indebtedness, soft labor trends and anemic private sector growth are not at all unique to the United States. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-cleanest-dirty-shirt/

The Inevitability of Higher Rates

Most investors, economists, and pundits believe that interest rates here in the US have nowhere to go but up. But rates have dropped this year leaving some to wonder when the inevitable rise in interest rates will come. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-inevitability-of-higher-rates/

Opposite Directions

With quantitative easing on its way out, the next important step from US policy makers will be to signal to the markets that they are ready to begin raising interest rates. Across the pond in Europe the situation is quite different, and monetary policy appears poised to move in the opposite direction as the US. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/opposite-directions/

The Long Hike

As we recently explained in An Update On The Fed, now that quantitative easing is on its way out the focus has shifted to when the Fed will begin to hike short-term interest rates. It’s hard to believe, but it is going on six years now since former Chairman Ben Bernanke took short term rates down to the zero bound. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-long-hike/

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