Tag Archive

Vexed by VIX? Part 1

By John S. Tobey

We are told that VIX (the Volatility Index for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index) currently indicates investor complacency and, therefore, a coming stock market drop. Actually, that warning sounded last October. So why does the stock market keep rising? Has VIX (a.k.a. the “fear index”) lost its way? Or are stock market... »

Will Friday’s Employment Report Make This a Perfect Week?

By John S. Tobey

The US economy has gotten standing ovations this week. All five major reports for January have been better than expected – some significantly so (see table below). Just one report is left: Employment. (more) This article is posted on SeekingAlpha.com »

Consumer Sentiment: Leading Indicator or Reflection of Today’s News?

By John S. Tobey

Consumer sentiment and confidence surveys make the headlines and influence the stock market (for the day, at least). The thought is that people’s feelings influence their spending. And with consumer spending making up a large part of the economy… The question is are those feelings prescient and stable – a leading indicator that can... »

Unemployment and the Stock Market Following a Familiar Path

By John S. Tobey

Concerns continue to surround unemployment, particularly with the stock market’s recent decline. However, the unemployment and stock market patterns are continuing to follow a “normal” route. Here is how this period compares to others. »

Business Loans Show Signs of Improvement

By John S. Tobey

Bank lending, a closely watched indicator of economic health, is improving in an important area: Commercial and industrial loans. When, coming out of a recession, banks are willing to lend to businesses and businesses are willing to borrow, it’s typically a positive sign. »

These Three Economic Gauges Read “OK”

By John S. Tobey

Investors, analysts and pundits can look at the same economic measures and come away with opposing views as to the economy’s health and future. The economy’s “trees” can range from vibrant to blighted, allowing differing economic “forest” diagnoses. As a result, we see predictions of economic normalcy and growth side-by-side with reversal and collapse.... »

Indicators Have Shifted – New Investment Directions in the Wind

By John S. Tobey

Seems like everywhere you look, another improved economic indicator is announced: economic growth, employment and housing are good examples. In addition, the Federal Reserve looks close to raising short-term rates. On top of that, there have been recent, sharp moves in two important contrarian indicators. Add all these facts together and it looks like... »

How To Read the Financial Press – Warning! You Might Get Bullish

By John S. Tobey

Most media reports have a slant – not to sway the reader, but to combine pieces of information into a sensible composite. High quality publications, to prevent biased reports, require that a reporter include all relevant information gathered. Today’s news reports are filled with positive information not reflected by the articles’ downbeat headlines. Here’s... »

Consumer Spending Indicators Coming – Still Improving?

By John S. Tobey

As we hear frequently, consumer spending is key because it is about two-thirds of the economy. The main question has been how long consumer spending will be weak. The worry is that today’s reduced level is the new normal. This fear is seemingly reinforced by surveys in which the pointed question is asked: “Are... »

Home Sales Measures Coming – More Good News?

By John S. Tobey

Some interesting indicators are being released the last two weeks of December – our period of special opportunity. Housing has the big three: existing home sales, new home sales and S&P Case-Shiller home prices. All have been improving in spite of negative articles about the current housing market and its outlook. Here is where... »

Friday’s Unemployment Number Approaches – Time To Regain Perspective

By John S. Tobey

Here it comes: the unemployment number. Last reported at 10.2%, The Wall Street Journal says we must “brace” for the coming Friday morning report. So, let’s prepare by looking at the leading indicators of employment to get a proper perspective… »

Media Reports: An Indicator Worth Watching

By John S. Tobey

The challenge of successful investing is that most of what we read is too late. When the media catch hold of something, it’s usually already in the market prices. However, there is a benefit from reading the press reports: they can help us form a winning contrarian strategy – one that uses the current,... »

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