Category Archives: Current Events

Market Recap

Posted on May 22, 2020 by Gemmer Asset

  Employment and Housing   Solid performance by the global equity markets this week despite lousy news (again) on the jobs front. The weekly unemployment claims number showed that 2.4 million people filed initial claims for the week ended May 16th, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week (chart below).     This report raised the nine-week total to nearly 39 million people. This comes close to 18% of the labor force.    …
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Market Recap

Posted on May 15, 2020 by Gemmer Asset

  We Are All Moving On-Line   More confirmation that April was simply a brutal month for the economy came in today’s retail sales number. Sales nosedived a record -16.4% in April, a fair bit worse than expectations for a 12% decline. Sales fell almost 20% year-over-year (chart below).     The only bright spot, as you would expect, were sales at online retailers which surged 8.4%, the second largest increase on record. On-line sales…
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Market Recap

Posted on May 9, 2020 by Gemmer Asset

  Well we knew the monthly employment report would be bad. And Friday’s report certainly was. U.S. unemployment surged to 14.7% (chart below), its highest level since the second world war, after 20.5m people lost their jobs in April. The fall in non-farm payrolls in April was the largest drop on record.     Job losses were widespread. Key industries hit hard were:   Food services -5.5mn Retail -2.1mn Healthcare providers -2.1mn (this is a…
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Asset Flows – How Money is Moving

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During periods of historic volatility, you often see significant changes in fund flows between asset classes. The past few months have been no different. Given this dynamic, we thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at what asset classes are taking in money and where that money is coming from.   March Saw Historic Outflows     During the initial phase of the downturn, investors fled nearly every asset class and went…
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Charts That Caught Our Attention

Posted on May 1, 2020 by Gemmer Asset

For this week’s post, we thought it would be worthwhile to go through a few charts and statistics that caught our attention over the past couple weeks. In an effort to keep it different, we’ll try to stick to main street trends as opposed to security specific data (“try” being the operative word here).   Airports Are Ghost Towns     I created the above chart from data provided by the Transportation Safety Administration. It…
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Market Recap

Posted on April 24, 2020 by Gemmer Asset

  Weekly Recap   At least on the economic front not much has changed and the contrast between the economic data and the markets just gets starker, with the former basically confirming what we already know, while the latter seems oblivious.   Weekly jobless claims came in at roughly 4.2 million this week, bringing total claims since the crisis began to roughly 26 million.     Such a quick spike in unemployment is relatively unprecedented…
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Volatility Through A Different Lens

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“Every time I get accustomed to low volatility, like we were towards the end of the Greenspan era, and we think we have all the levers under the control… something erupts to remind us that the idea that anybody is in control of everything is hubris.”   -Lloyd Blankfein, ex-CEO Goldman Sachs   The point Blankfein is making here is that there are black swan type of events that are impossible to plan for and…
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Market Recap

Posted on April 17, 2020 by Gemmer Asset

  Weekly Recap   A solid week in the markets again despite some miserable economic data. About the only major standout to the downside was oil. Crude oil prices briefly sank below $18 a barrel on Friday, the lowest level since 2002, as energy markets struggled to absorb a record glut created by the coronavirus pandemic.     Prices dropped this week despite a landmark US-backed deal by the OPEC+ group of producers to cut…
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Energy’s Disappearing Act

Posted on by Gemmer Asset

In coming up with a topic to write about, I did what I usually do – read research reports, white papers, news reports, investor letters etc. Everything, and I mean everything, is somehow or another related to this virus. While that is completely understandable, I thought it would be nice to talk about something unrelated to COVID-19.   Yesterday I was talking to our Chief Investment Officer Charles Blankley and he brought up a topic…
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Market Recap

Posted on April 10, 2020 by Gemmer Asset

  Weekly Recap   Another week marked by large moves seems almost normal now. Almost. This week the moves were generally up, and as it turned out, it was the best weekly gain for the S&P 500 since October 1974.   And because the market is a fickle beast, the rally unfolded against a backdrop of more lousy economic news. The main report was Thursday’s initial jobless claims number. Another 6.6 million applied for unemployment….
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