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Economic Headwinds a 'Very Big Deal' to Virtus Strategist
Date:4/27/2010

Var3=s.prop5;s.prop15='92184439';s.tl(this,'o','ExternalLink');" target='_blank' href="http://www.virtus.com/vSiteManager/Upload/Docs/1Q10_SCM_MarketCommentary.pdf">commentary.  "The financial crisis, deficits as far as the eye can see and a general distrust of Washington are leading the social mood to take a turn for the worse.

It will take bolstered consumer confidence, above all else, for a true economic revival, Bublitz says.  Given the lingering weakness in home prices and the expected hike in taxes, a stronger labor market becomes all the more important.

He cites the incremental improvements in the U.S. jobs data, such as the drop in the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent in February from 10.1 percent in October, as a promising sign of restoration.  However, since the number of employed has just returned to levels of 11 years ago, "the best you can say about the labor market is that firings are stabilizing, while hiring remains anemic."

Despite reports of continued low and falling consumer inflation, wage gains have been growing at an even slower rate, and Bublitz maintains that "disinflation remains the fact, while inflation remains the fear."

"The inner cogs of the financial system have been so distorted by government intervention that it has become increasingly difficult to grasp the full meaning of such things as negative T-bill rates and negative swap spreads."  Having set the expectation that the Treasury yield curve will be higher and flatter in a year's time, it may need to become steeper first, "if only to create a 'pain-trade' and a little more market balance," say Bublitz, who shares his commentary on the bond market in his regular

SOURCE Virtus Investment Partners, Inc.
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