Recent Articles by Lou Barnes

Rates — and politics — seem to be stabilizing post-hike

Rates — and politics — seem to be stabilizing post-hike

Two broad sets of news this week: the Fed, interest rates and the economy; and a string of deeply reassuring political-economic events. The Fed raised the overnight cost of money by 0.25 percent and long-term rates fell slightly ......
By Lou Barnes | Friday, March 17, 2017
Why you can expect mortgage rates to creep toward 5% this summer

Why you can expect mortgage rates to creep toward 5% this summer

First, may as well get the embarrassing part over: the Fed raised its rate today, and mortgage rates fell. “Fell” is a bit of an overstatement, the decline no more than a fractional point -- a large loan, fine credit, 80 percent, 30-year fixed st...
By Lou Barnes | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Why today’s job numbers aren’t a reprieve from a rate hike

Why today’s job numbers aren’t a reprieve from a rate hike

Long-term interest rates have held a crucial edge today despite another outsize gain in payrolls. Job gains show increasing health, but low and stable wage increases have given us a stay of execution. Not a reprieve. It’s just matter of days or wee...
By Lou Barnes | Friday, March 10, 2017
The Fed will hike rates by 0.25% at its March meeting; here’s why

The Fed will hike rates by 0.25% at its March meeting; here’s why

First, the good news: The economy is doing so well that the Federal Reserve will increase the cost of money by 0.25 percent on March 15, up to the 0.75 percent-1.00 percent range. All Fed officials have been on the same page, rare unanimity. ......
By Lou Barnes | Friday, March 3, 2017
A pair of hands shaping clay Donald Trump’s opportunity to re-make the Federal Reserve

Donald Trump’s opportunity to re-make the Federal Reserve

The following is about Mr. Trump in only one respect: He has an unprecedented opportunity to re-make the Federal Reserve. As active as he has been since the election, neither he nor his staffers has said a word about the Fed, neither policies nor peo...
By Lou Barnes | Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Mortgage rates hit lowest percentage since first week in December

Mortgage rates hit lowest percentage since first week in December

Long-term rates have broken down this week (versus unanimous expectations for going up), now the lowest since the first week of December -- and if they fall another inch might drop another quarter-percent or more, taking lowest-fee mortgages back int...
By Lou Barnes | Monday, February 27, 2017
Market report: The Fed will hike as soon as next month

Market report: The Fed will hike as soon as next month

Credit markets remain bolted to a narrow range, and although stocks have burbled upward there is little action there, either -- low volatility everywhere ......
By Lou Barnes | Monday, February 20, 2017
A brief history of globalization: Just 10,000 years old

A brief history of globalization: Just 10,000 years old

Today we suffer from many misidentifications of economic events. Not so much “fake news” as twisting ordinary meaning into propaganda. "Globalization" is one of these labels, with its codependent “globalism” -- as though trade between nations...
By Lou Barnes | Thursday, February 16, 2017
Financial experts: Until more clarity is available, we are moving with caution

Financial experts: Until more clarity is available, we are moving with caution

Financial markets were quiet last week, which is well nigh incredible. Overseas, Europe is un-gluing again, and here in the U.S., analysts are uncertain what the future holds ......
By Lou Barnes | Monday, February 13, 2017
A man snoring in his bed What ‘dynamic snoring’ has to do with the proposed tax changes

What ‘dynamic snoring’ has to do with the proposed tax changes

“Dynamic snoring?” This is a clever term for the reaction of half of America to anything involving math -- which, in this case, is the tax policy term, “dynamic scoring.” ......
By Lou Barnes | Monday, February 6, 2017
Friday’s job numbers won’t be enough to slow the pending Fed rate hike

Friday’s job numbers won’t be enough to slow the pending Fed rate hike

Financial markets are freezing like the scenes in sci-fi movies, jagged lines of frost hissing and crackling across trading floors. On election day the S&P (Standard & Poor) 500 was 2139. By December 20, elated by coming stimulus, tax cuts an...
By Lou Barnes | Monday, February 6, 2017
Does healthy economic growth lie ahead?

Does healthy economic growth lie ahead?

The temptation to get into the Trump mud-wallow is overwhelming, hence all the more reason to back away and look at the whole market/economic picture, and over time ......
By Lou Barnes | Monday, January 30, 2017
What we can learn about leaders from their speeches

What we can learn about leaders from their speeches

Sometimes inaugural speeches are a droning bore, sometimes inspiring, once in a long while sad, and sometimes reveal a bit of the speaker’s character. Friday’s made the last category ......
By Lou Barnes | Monday, January 23, 2017
What confirmation hearings and other rumblings mean for rates

What confirmation hearings and other rumblings mean for rates

We must now keep track of two universes: the actual financial one and the Trump one. These are alternate universes, not parallel (which would imply straight lines), but are in frequent contact. A pair of charts below shows how disparate the two are ....
By Lou Barnes | Monday, January 16, 2017
Post-election financial fever has cooled — but it will return

Post-election financial fever has cooled — but it will return

The post-election financial fever has cooled for the moment, rates sliding slightly. Trading in markets since the election cannot be traced to changes in the economy; all have been reactions to prospective changes in policy ......
By Lou Barnes | Friday, January 6, 2017
What global economics (and politics) foretell for rate changes

What global economics (and politics) foretell for rate changes

On the last business day of 2016, I couldn't help looking toward the strangest new year ahead of any in memory, every day marking some new and lurching change in outlook. So, instead of an attempt to forecast outcomes, assess the priorities of forces...
By Lou Barnes | Tuesday, January 3, 2017
A female accountant crunching numbers Predicting the 2017 economy by following the money

Predicting the 2017 economy by following the money

In today’s accepted wisdom, Donald Trump as president means that 2017 can’t be predicted. At all. Endured, possibly enjoyed, but it will be a complete mystery ......
By Lou Barnes | Tuesday, January 3, 2017
A woman lacing up her hiking boots for the trail A two-step plan for personal recovery from 2016

A two-step plan for personal recovery from 2016

On one of the shortest days of 2016, the year seems even longer than it has been. Anxiety is widespread. To shorten your 2016 recovery period, start with two things: talk with an older person, and speak English ......
By Lou Barnes | Wednesday, December 28, 2016