In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Americans demanded a change in the regulatory system. Since the financial sector was responsible for engineering the near collapse of the global banking system, it is Wall Street that has borne the brunt of the government’s expanding role in the markets. (more…)



Depending on whose sound bite you are listening to, government spending has gotten bigger or smaller over the last few years. Oddly enough, both sides are correct. It all depends on what statistics you are quoting.


“Executive power has been regarded as a lion which must be caged. So far from being the object of enlightened popular trust, far from being considered the natural protector of popular right, it has been dreaded, uniformly, always dreaded, as the great source of its danger.” –U.S. Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, 1834

In the heat of this year’s presidential election campaign, voters usually lose sight of one of the most important facts surrounding that office.  American presidents, for the most part, have much less power than we think. (more…)

Game Changer

This week’s announcement of a third quantitative easing program goes beyond anything the Fed has done in the past. It is open-ended, extremely positive for equities and will continue even after the economy begins to pick up its pace. The bears are dead. (more…)

Are Markets Predicting Obama as winner in November?

            Stock markets are said to discount the future. If one studies the election cycle and its impact on market performance, the stock market is telling us that there is a high probability that Barack Obama will enjoy a second term.

Readers may recall that I have been using the historical performance date of the stock market during election years since 1900 to predict the market’s direction in 2012, courtesy of Ned Davis Research.  So far, that data had accurately predicted the markets ups and downs all year.

The data shows that the Dow Jones Industrial Average gains an average of 8.6% each election year when the incumbent has won. It gains less when the challenger wins. The Dow is up 8.8% year-to-date. In only three cases over the past 112 years has the incumbent party candidate gone on to lose after being up that much by the end of August.  As such, I would say there is high probability (89.7%) that a Democrat will sit in the White House come November.

Of course, you may reject the stock market as an accurate predictor of the future. You may also choose not to base outcomes on probabilities; that is your prerogative. But as a stock market investor you may want to hope that the election year indicator is correct. Here’s why.

In last week’s column I stated that “Traditionally, stock markets are thought to do better under a Republican administration since their policies are normally more pro-business and pro-stock markets,” but that kind of thinking flies in the face of realty. Kudos to a reader from Lenox Dale, MA who supplied me with a wealth of statistics which show that stocks have historically fared much, much better under Democratic administrations. The S&P 500 Index has rallied an average 12.1% per year since 1901 when Democrats occupy the White House versus just 5.1% for the GOP.

The overall economy has done better as well with GDP increasing 4.2% annually since 1949 when a Democratic president occupied the oval office compared to 2.6% under Republicans. Our greatest stock market run occurred under Bill Clinton’s watch (1993-2000), followed by the period 1981-1992 under the presidencies of Reagan and Bush.  

But enough history, this week we made a little history of our own with all three stock market averages hitting new highs for the year. As expected, the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi outlined the latest European rescue plan. The ECB intends to buy member nations’ government bonds in exchange for further promises to accept outside oversight of their fiscal policies.

Then, on Friday the unemployment data came in weaker than expected. That immediately had gold flying in anticipation that it is all but certain that the Fed will ease next week at their September 13th FOMC meeting. And my wish came true. I said I would like to see the S&P 500 Index break out of its week’s long trading range and it did. It appears more upside awaits us.



“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” –Joseph Goebbles, Nazi Propogandist

Republicans warn of impending disaster if the Federal Government’s house is not put in order.  If we continue to do nothing about it, Romney, Ryan and the Republicans will most certainly be right. The question is whether the economy can survive the harsh medicine that these doctors prescribe. (more…)

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers”

Neil Newhouse, founder of Public Opinion Strategies and GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s pollster

Billed as a choice between two distinct and opposing futures for America, the November presidential election candidates are neck and neck. At the center of the battle are two issues: the economy and jobs. Rhetoric aside, how far apart are these men on the issues? (more…)



Summertime Blues


On Tuesday the S&P 500 Index hit a new high for the year. The index has been digesting that gain every day since. Contrary to what you might think, that is a good thing. (more…)