Is there a way to reconcile current market bullishness with the populist wave spreading across the globe? Selections in the latest Weekend Reads tackle this question as well as the future of retail, the gig economy, Red Sox great Ted Williams, and more.
Department stores don't provide the same read on the economy as they did in the past, but, overall, activity is still depressed, says Scott Krisiloff, CFA. Yet there are signs of a possible upturn. And while the presidential election has been a source of uncertainty, the polls may be starting to give an indication of who is likely to win without having to wait until Election Day.
Recent statistics suggest that consumers are in pretty healthy shape, but macro uncertainty may still be causing some hesitation. The US Federal Reserve is also showing some hesitation, as it neglected to raise rates last week. And while Fed chair Janet Yellen reiterated that every meeting is a "live" meeting, there are some signs that even the Fed may be starting to expect that rates will be lower for some time more.
The retail sector continued to report soft earnings last week. As retail spending moves increasingly online, it's clear that the United States has too many retail outlets, and that the industry will need to shrink over time. That could pose problems for those with investments in the sector.
Macy's was the first department store retailer to report results for the first quarter and it set a negative tone for the industry. It's not necessarily surprising that a brick-and-mortar retailer is struggling, but the extent of the deterioration did seem worse than expected.
US retail sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday are the weakest since 2009. In this week's CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief, we asked readers how this might affect the Fed's decision of when to unwind quantitative easing.
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