14 Apr Weekly Reads: 04/10/2017
The Week’s Best Articles: Week of April 10th, 2017
Personal Finance: US Credit Card Tab Hits $1 Trillion – click here
Earlier this week outstanding credit card debt joined auto loans and student debt in crossing the $1 trillion threshold. Taken together this reflects a new love affair with household debt. Credit cards make commerce easier but also do great damage to household wealth growth if not used responsibly.
Economy: Fed, Tax Cut Reality and Donald Trump – click here
An interesting look at these major themes and how they are (and might) interact with each other going forward. These are all major catalysts we are watching for the future direction of the market.
Education: NY Makes 4-Year College Tuition Free for Middle-Class Students – click here
Recently NY lawmakers approved a plan to make attending public colleges and universities free for students from middle-class families. Middle-class families would be defined as those making less than $125,000 a year and is expected to benefit 940,000 families. The plan is forecast to cost NY $163M. It will be fascinating to watch and see if other states follow NY’s lead.
Fixed Income: Bond Bears Poised to Come Back? – click here
It should come as no surprise that many investors negative on bonds cite rising interest rates as a key tenant of their outlook. However, this article further highlights that an under-pricing of inflation may have as large an impact going forward on the price of bonds.
Employment: Job Openings Up, Where is Inflation? – click here
The most recent Job Opening and Labor Turnover survey showed an increase in the number of job openings. With unemployment trending down and a shortage of educated workers many economists are forecasting an uptick in wage growth for those with the proper skills. Unfortunately, it appears that the majority of the wage gain will be limited to these higher educated workers.
Technology: Implications of 5 Dominant Tech Companies – click here
A dive into the numbers on how the 5 largest tech companies (Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon) are increasingly dominating areas of the investing market. While not a surprise the author attempts to highlight why their competitive dominance has a profound impact on investors.
Tax Reform: Reform & Top Incomes – click here
A bit heavy to read but the author looks at the impact of tax changes in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Norway to try and understand how changes in tax rates here in the US impact the higher earning individuals (based on a percentage of income).
Technology: Silicon Valley Challenging Trump’s Net Neutrality Plan – click here
It should come as little surprise that tech companies, and specifically internet companies, want more stringent rules protecting their ability to access the pipes and transmission lines that move data around. This is likely a hot button issue for the foreseeable future.
Environment: California Overcomes 1/100 Odds to Beat Epic Drought – click here
For all of us who live in California we are intimately aware of the impact the drought from 2012 – 2015 has had. The recovery however has been just as staggering. This article highlights the extreme nature of this recovery and how unusual this winter’s storms truly were (are).