Category Archives: Trends

What are ETF and Mutual Fund flows telling us?

We often look to the ETF marketplace for clues into the sentiment of investors. A few of the key data points that we review are total assets and fund flows; creations and redemptions, each quarter. Below, as a point of reference, are the top largest ETFs, as measured by total assets, as of the end of the 1st quarter. The constituents of this list have not changed much in recent quarters.Read more

How much Higher Can/Will Gasoline Prices Go?

Thus far this year, during the first two months of 2012, according to Bloomberg, we have witnessed an 18% increase in the price of crude oil based on the ICE Brent Crude Oil Active Month Index and a 16% increase in the price of gasoline based on the Nymex Gasoline Active Month Index. With respect to the latter, with gasoline prices now averaging $3.74 per gallon for regular grade gasoline across the United States and some experts calling for prices to exceed the peak observed in July of 2008, many are now wondering how high gasoline prices will go (especially during the upcoming summer driving season) and what can be down to counteract these rising prices.Read more

Where are the Jobs?

The labor picture is not improving in the U.S. and prospects for any type of a much needed short-intermediate term recovery grow more and more dubious with each passing jobs report.Read more

Mounting Inflationary Pressures Remain a Concern

May's Consumer Price Index (CPI) data was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today and the results were concerning from an inflationary standpoint but perhaps not as concerning as initial headlines may suggest.Read more

Demand for Mortgages is Waning despite Record Low Rates

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), in a June 8, 2011 report entitled, “Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey” the average interest rate for 30-year mortgages decreased to 4.54%, which is the lowest rate observed since November 19, 2010. Despite the historically low rate of interest, and the seemingly available supply of credit, applications for mortgages are not increasing, as one might expect, but actually are continuing to decline. According to the MBA, as of the week ending June 3, 2011, mortgage loan applications, as measured by the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, decreased by 4.4% over the course of the previous week and by 3% over the month of May. Looking back even further, applications for mortgage loans are down over 15% on a year-over-year basis as of May 2011.Read more