Archives For Politics

Think Tank

June 9, 2015

Who do you surround yourself with that inspires you? Is there someone that challenges you to think differently? Maybe it is a group of people, an advisor or a consultant.

 

This morning I was in a meeting and learned that a business colleague was working within a group of high level leaders as a facilitator. This group described themselves as a Think Tank. This group of uber leaders included a former President; numerous CEO’s and church leaders. It is impressive to think that these successful people still were working to explore new ideas and to think bigger than ever before.  After all of their success they were using their knowledge and influence to continue creating a tremendous impact on our society.

 

So, I will ask again who are you surrounding yourself with to inspire you to achieve more? Have you established a time to think bigger? I want to encourage you to take an intentional approach to establishing the proper group in which you surround yourself.

Go out and create your own Think Tank!

Weekly Update – January 22, 2013

Markets closed out another positive week, shrugging off lackluster consumer confidence and
moderate earnings reports to hover around multi-year highs. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.95%, the Dow gained 1.2%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.29%.[i]

In Washington, Congressional Republicans backed off from a debt showdown against a
resolute President Obama that could have risked a government default on debt. Republicans said they were prepared to raise the debt ceiling and allow the federal government to borrow operating expenses for the next three months, kicking the fiscal can further down the road.[ii]

To be frank, we’re frustrated with Congress’ inability to make hard choices about spending
and debt. Allowing the U.S. to fall into default would be catastrophic, given that the world treats U.S. government debt as essentially default risk free. Despite their promising rhetoric to use the debt ceiling debate to force widespread fiscal reform, many politicians seem to have abandoned that position in favor of baby steps.[iii]

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke on Monday, showing support for the fiscal
cliff deal reached on January 1, but emphasizing that lawmakers still need to come to an agreement over the debt ceiling. The chairman also claimed that the Fed’s unusual December move to tie monetary policy to unemployment and inflation targets was designed to provide financial markets with greater clarity.[iv]

Earnings reports show that the final quarter of 2012 ended well, with many firms
reporting better-than-expected (but not mind-blowing) results. However, business leaders are still cautious, noting that the debt ceiling debate and uncertainty over potentially higher corporate taxes clouds their 2013 outlook. On the positive side, many firms are bullish on the U.S. economy and are confident that trends show an ongoing recovery.[v]

In a rare confluence of events, Monday was both a national holiday and the inauguration
of President Obama’s second term, starting the week off fairly quiet for markets. There will also be relatively few economic reports released this week, meaning that traders will turn their attention to remaining earnings reports from firms like Google (GOOG), Starbucks (SBUX), and McDonald’s (MCD). Investors will also be paying close attention to new reports about the strength of the housing market, which are widely expected to show a continued recovery.[vi]



[i]
http://www.briefing.com/investor/markets/weekly-wrap/weekly-wrap-for-january-14-2013.htm

[ii]
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/usa-fiscal-debt-idUSL1E9CI9DZ20130118

[iii]
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/usa-fiscal-debt-idUSL1E9CI9DZ20130118

[iv]
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/01/14/bernanke/1833783/

[v]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100391246

Fiscal Cliff Uncertainty

December 10, 2012

Weekly Update December 10, 2012

Markets experienced another choppy week, disturbed by ongoing fiscal cliff debates and lackluster economic data. Equities finished the week mixed, with the S&P gaining 0.13%, the Dow gaining 0.99%, and the Nasdaq losing -1.1%.[i]

After another week of back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, no fiscal cliff resolution is in sight. Despite offers on the table from both parties, the debate remains stalled on the issue of higher taxes for the wealthy. Although both sides are exchanging accusations of brinkmanship, multiple polls suggest that Americans will blame Republicans should politicians fail to reach a deal.[ii] It appears as though President Obama and Congressional Democrats are content to stall the clock in the hopes of pushing Republicans into grudging agreement with their plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans (Those earning $250,000.00 or more per year).

Although we have been talking about the fiscal cliff with our clients for many months, the media is making up for its lateness to the issue with hysteria. In truth, the fiscal cliff deadline isn’t December 31 st, it’s actually much sooner.[iii] According to the rules in the House of Representatives, the last day any bill can be submitted for consideration is December 18th since Congress will adjourn for the year on December 21st, and they need at least three days to deliberate. However, since President Obama may be leaving on December 17th for his annual family vacation to Hawaii, next Monday might be the last possible date for a fiscal cliff resolution.[iv]

At this point, it seems unlikely that lawmakers will be able to hash out a compromise in the week we have left. While a lack of a resolution means we probably won’t see a year-end market rally, regardless of whether a deal is reached or not, the economy won’t suddenly stop on January 1st. It will take time for the full effects of tax increases and budget cuts to kick in, giving lawmakers further time to come to a resolution.

 

Looking ahead, we have the year’s final Federal Reserve FOMC meeting this week; analysts don’t expect interest rate targets to change. However, many will be closely watching the 4th quarter growth forecast, which Fed economists will announce before Bernanke speaks.

Whatever the remaining weeks of the year have in store, I’ll be monitoring the situation and will keep you up to date.