Blog   Tagged ‘earnings’

CEO Corner: UMBF Earnings Summary

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Earnings infographicOur recent earnings report reflected our financial performance in 2016’s fourth quarter and a snapshot of the full year. I’m pleased to share some high-level results, and call out a few important points.

Here are some key points that were particularly noteworthy for us:

  1. We had a great fourth quarter, with net income of $42.9 million, and $158.8 million for the full year. That reflects record annual net income, which increased nearly 37 percent from 2015, double-digit year-over-year loan growth, and perhaps most importantly, continued improvement in our profitability metrics.
  2. During 2016, we fully integrated our acquisition of Marquette and grew the combined customer base with average loans increasing 12.5 percent. The acquisition doubled our presence in the Arizona and Texas regions, driving a significant part of that loan growth.
  3. We continued our progress in optimizing our balance sheet by shifting earning assets into loans. The results can be seen in our improving net interest margin (NIM), which in the fourth quarter, increased 24 basis points from a year ago to 3.00 percent. This was driven by loan volumes and by a more optimal asset mix.
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Last year was certainly an interesting year for our industry, with the continued low-rate outlook turning to a more positive sentiment almost overnight following the election. While it’s too early to predict what a potentially new economic and regulatory environment could mean for UMB, some of the potential changes that have been suggested could prove beneficial.

Suffice it to say, we are listening to the discussions and different thoughts regarding what may or may not come to fruition, and we look forward to seeing what 2017 holds for the industry and the economy. That said, our path in the year ahead is to maintain focus on our key priorities.

I am very proud of the progress we made in 2016 and look forward to working with all our associates in providing our customers with another excellent year of service and partnership.

Read more in American Banker, UMB Financial profit rises on double-digit loan growth‡.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Kemper is the chairman and chief executive officer of UMB Financial Corporation and UMB Bank, n.a. He joined UMB in 1997. Mr. Kemper is active in both civic and philanthropic endeavors. One of the causes he is most passionate about is the arts. He currently serves as a trustee and executive committee member for the Denver Art Museum and is a past board member for The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.



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Third quarter 2015 earnings explained

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We released our third quarter 2015 earnings  recently, and our Chief Financial Officer is here to share the highlights.

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Mr. Walker is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer at UMB Financial Corporation. He joined UMB in 2007. He earned a Business Administration (Accounting) degree at Kansas State University and his Masters of Business Administration degree at Rockhurst University. In addition to his involvement with several community and charitable organizations, he is also the treasurer for the Big Bash Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation focused on providing financial assistance and increasing visibility for local not-for-profit organizations.



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Simply a correction or a looming bear market?

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Corrections

Stock market corrections (a decline of 10 percent) are a normal and healthy part of a bull market. We have all been concerned that we haven’t seen a correction since 2011, as the markets went virtually straight up with very little volatility. And then came August 2015.

We think this is a correction: a violent reaction to four primary factors.

  • Valuations — Currently the market trades at a slight premium, as measured by Price-to-Earnings (P/E) multiples. Prior to last week’s trading, the market traded at approximately 17 times earnings. We think the market will trade at 16 times earnings, and if you assume the S&P 500 will earn $120 in 2016, the S&P 500 should trade at 1920.
  • Earnings scare — Perhaps the market is now fairly valued; however if earnings estimates are in question, then the valuation of the market is wrong and prices may move lower.
  • Global economic slowdown–China and other emerging markets are clearly slowing. China represents 14.1 percent of global nominal GDP.
  • Lack of confidence in central bankers– Most historical bear markets have come from Federal Reserve tightening and upcoming economic recessions.
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U.S. economy

The recent economic news was surprisingly good for the United States and even for Europe, perhaps suggesting that China is not the be-all and end-all of the world economy. U.S. housing data was especially strong this week with housing starts and existing-home sales reaching post-recovery highs. Those strong numbers should have a trickle-down effect on the U.S. economy as those homes are financed, furnished and remodeled.

China

China’s economy has slowed throughout the past few years and clearly is not growing at a 7 percent rate, the country’s official GDP growth estimate. Other variables such as electricity consumption, rail car volumes and airline traffic all point to a growth rate slowdown, but not a collapse. The question is how will China’s slowdown affect the U.S. economy?

U.S. exports to China account for 8 percent of total exports and only 1.2 percent of GDP. Admittedly, exports to other Asian economies account for another 15 percent of exports, but the risks of a widespread Asian financial crisis resembling what happened in 1997 and 1998 are quite low.

Many have cited the Chinese stock market as an indicator of their economic outlook. The 40 percent decline in the Chinese stock market since June has nothing to do with any deterioration in the Chinese economy, just as the 58 percent surge in the first half of this year didn’t reflect a genuine improvement in economic fundamentals. It’s worth remembering that the Shanghai composite index is still up by 38 percent throughout the past 12 months.

Central bankers

The Federal Reserve (the Fed) has been clear that its decision to hike rates will be data-dependent. But is it also market dependent? We don’t think the Fed will ignore what is happening in the financial markets. The probability of liftoff in September has been reduced significantly. Most bear markets (a decline of 20 percent) come from Fed tightening and upcoming economic recessions. The Fed doesn’t want to commit a “policy mistake” and be blamed for a bear market or a recession.

Europe just initiated a quantitative easing program earlier this year. This should bolster both its economy and investor sentiment, and mitigate downside pressure on its markets.

China’s policymakers also have plenty of scope for further stimulus, both monetary and fiscal. In fact, as I write this, China has lowered interest rates.

U.S. Stock Market

The last time we saw a correction using closing prices was in 2011, when from May to August the S&P 500 declined 11.1 percent. Last year we saw a correction in October; it was slightly less than a 10 percent correction and recovered quickly. Following are current returns as of this writing:
current returns 8/26/15

Some markets, such as commodities, are in a bear market:
commodities in a bear market

There is clearly a revaluation of global growth.

Conclusion

What does this mean for equities? Based on the recent market correction, it will be difficult for the S&P 500 to reach new highs in 2015. However, the average decline of all corrections greater than 5 percent since the 1920s may indicate that we are close to the lows for this year. The average peak-to-trough decline during a 5+ percent correction is -12 percent, which implies a low of 1870 on the S&P 500 or 3 percent lower at the time of this publication. Potential positive catalysts for the market to go back to recent highs include clarity on the Fed and China.

What does this mean for interest rates? Clearly, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) might use recent turbulence as a reason to postpone initiation of liftoff for rates — the risk of being accused of making a policy mistake will likely mean there is no adjustment of rates at the September meeting. However, if we are correct that recent market turbulence has merely been a valuation reset, and longer-term economic outlooks remain reasonably stable, we expect rates to begin an upward move in the near future.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 

DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Investment Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals. UMB Financial Services, Inc.* is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Financial Corporation, and an affiliate of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2015. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

 

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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What doesn’t matter: the non-drivers of the economy

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In a world where a constant stream of economic data and commentary is the norm, it’s crucial to be able to sift through what really matters (see my post from last week for those insights) to make better-informed investment decisions. Now, let’s look at what doesn’t really matter when assessing the driving forces of the economy. We’ll assess why “Fed Talk” and high frequency economic data are oftentimes deemed important, yet have very little relevance.

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Fed Talk
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) consists of 12 members. All of them have their own opinions on the state of the economy.  As the old joke goes, if you have 12 economists in a room you will get 14 opinions.

The Fed develops forecasts like many Wall Street prognosticators, and their track record is very similar: not better, but not worse.  One would think since they hold the cards, their track record should be superior. However, you don’t need to be glued to your computer waiting for the next Fed press conference. Watch what they actually do, not what they say.

High-Frequency Economic Data
The high-frequency weekly indicators are meant to be accurate in observing economic trends in real time.  However, these data points can be misleading when observed point-to-point.

Take mortgage applications in 2015 for example; this data is released every Wednesday. Looking at one week in January, it indicates mortgage applications were up 49 percent. Then, a week in February recorded applications down 13 percent. The point is that just because you can track the data, doesn’t mean it is a helpful economic indicator.

The variety of data points we have at our fingertips today is nearly unfathomable. As investors look for more efficient ways to use the data at hand, remember to track the U.S. dollar, employment and global GDP. Take what the Fed says with a grain of salt and rather, watch what they do. And if you have high-frequency economic data in front of you, remember – just because it can be tracked, doesn’t mean it’s delivering information that should be used.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 

DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Private Wealth Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals.  UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation. Banking and trust services offered through UMB Private Wealth Management, a division within UMB Bank, n.a.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2012. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

 

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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What really matters: the drivers of today’s economy

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Every day we are bombarded with data and opinions meant to help investors manage their portfolios. Much of the data can be ignored, because unfortunately most of it is just that—data. As investors, we only want to explore the kind of data that becomes useful information. My team and I will figure out what you need to know to grasp where the market is heading by uncovering what really matters when forecasting economic activity. In a world where a constant stream of economic data and commentary is the norm, it’s crucial to be able to sift through what really matters to make better-informed investment decisions.

The important variables to monitor over the next year will be the U.S. dollar, employment and key global issues.

I visited The Streetrecently to share my insights.

Watch…

 

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The U.S. Dollar

The U.S. dollar (the dollar) has become increasingly important because of two key functions.

1) its impact on corporate earnings in the United States.

2) global economic conditions and its ability to provide insight into relative interest rates.

Let’s take a look at the short-term and long-term impact of the dollar on the economy.

Short-term:

With the recently-strengthened dollar, the fast increase is what had a meaningful impact on our economy. A strong dollar makes exported goods and services that are produced in the United States more expensive. Numerous conglomerates have cited the strong dollar as a headwind that has negatively affected corporate earnings, stating that this will be a driver putting downward pressure on earnings and stock prices due to the translation impact1 and competitive concerns2. However, small businesses which typically do not have as much international exposure will not be as negatively affected by a strong dollar. Also, the United States is a net importer; in the first quarter we exported $2.08 trillion and imported $2.63 trillion. Commodities are negatively correlated with the dollar and as it strengthens, commodity prices will fall. This will be a positive for companies that use commodities as an input variable and for the general consumer.  We expect continued strength in the dollar.

Long-term:

We see that the dollar typically strengthens when the U.S. economy is outpacing its peers. In addition, we think the United States will soon be hiking interest rates while lowering rates is popular elsewhere around the world. This would suggest more upside for the dollar. However, we think Europe will show signs of economic growth and this should cause the dollar to stabilize. It is imperative that we pay attention to the dollar. It matters more than investors realize.

To learn more about the value of the U.S. dollar, check out my video from earlier this year.

Employment
Jobs are one of the most important variables to an economy.  As jobs are created, consumer confidence increases and over time, wages increase.

Short-term:

What matters are jobs, jobs and more jobs. Job creation is the critical component in breaking the U.S. economy free from being “stuck in the mediocre-growth-mud.” In the short run, it is not critical what kinds of jobs are created, or whether they are high or low paying. Rather, it’s more important to focus on job growth and a low unemployment rate. Those variables alone will increase consumer confidence and move the markets. This year we expect that an average of 250,000 jobs will be created per month, similar to 2014.

Long-term:

The quality of jobs and wage growth remains in question. It appears there are some structural changes developing.

The U-6 is one of the ways the Bureau of Labor Statistics more critically measures long-term growth. The U-6 is calculated by adding the marginally attached workers (people who have become discouraged and stopped looking for employment) and part-time workers to the unemployment rate. This puts the U-6 at 10.8 percent, almost twice the rate of the unemployment rate (5.5 percent).

The jobs created have been in lower-paying industries, such as retail and leisure and hospitality. In addition, part-time employment due to economic reasons has not improved since 2010. This indicates a skill mismatch and a potential structural change developing.

The labor market appears to be tightening; unemployment has improved significantly since 2009, yet there appears to be limited wage pressure.  We think once the U-6 breaches 10 percent, wage inflation will appear on the horizon. Employment matters.

Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
We operate in a global economy.  What happens overseas can have a material impact on the U.S. economy.

Short-term:

All eyes are on Europe. Whether Europe can successfully manage Greece and enter a recovery phase is up in the air. Europe’s economy has been growing very slowly. Similar to the United States in 2009, lower interest rates and quantitative easing by the European Central Bank are now critical to global economic and market activity. Approximately 10 percent of our exports go to the Eurozone. The consensus GDP growth in Europe is 1.5 percent in 2015.  As monetary stimulus and green shoots of growth sprout in Europe, risk-based assets should perform well around the globe.

Long-term:

China is important to the global economy for two primary reasons:

  1. China represents the second largest economy in the world. The U.S., the largest economy, has a $16.8 trillion economy, while China’s economy is only $13.3 trillion.
  2. Even more important than size is growth rate. In 1985, China represented 3 percent of global GDP and the U.S. represented 25 percent. Today, China represents 14 percent and the U.S. has dropped to 19 percent. Even though the Chinese economy is smaller than the U.S. economy, it has been growing at a faster pace.  In 2010, China was growing at a pace of 10.5 percent.  Growth in 2014 slowed to 7.4 percent, although the data from their government has been questioned by many.

The real risk is if China’s economic activity slows to less than 6 percent growth. For a country with 1.4 billion people a slowdown would send a ripple throughout the world’s economy, as China’s imports will wane. We operate in a worldwide economy and ignoring these global variables is not an option.

Remember to check back for “What Doesn’t Matter: The non-drivers of the economy” next week!

[1] Translation is negatively impacted because sales generated outside the U.S. must be converted into dollars for financial reporting purposes. Therefore, a higher dollar = lower sales in dollars. So focus on sales ex-currency impacts.

[1] Example: Airbus, a European airline manufacturer, becomes price competitive versus Boeing, a U.S. airline manufacturer when the Euro weakens relative to the Dollar.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 

DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Private Wealth Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals.  UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation. Banking and trust services offered through UMB Private Wealth Management, a division within UMB Bank, n.a.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2012. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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Second quarter 2015 earnings explained

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We released our second quarter 2015 earnings  recently, and our Chief Financial Officer is here to share the highlights, including the much-anticipated acquisition of Marquette Financial Companies.


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Mr. Walker is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer at UMB Financial Corporation. He joined UMB in 2007. He earned a Business Administration (Accounting) degree at Kansas State University and his Masters of Business Administration degree at Rockhurst University. In addition to his involvement with several community and charitable organizations, he is also the treasurer for the Big Bash Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation focused on providing financial assistance and increasing visibility for local not-for-profit organizations.



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Top 10 Market and Economic Variables to Watch…and 3 to Ignore – Part IV

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Refresh yourself on the entire Top 10 market and economic variables you should be watching closely: part 1part 2part 3.

Now it’s time to tell you the three things we think you should ignore! While there aren’t any variables that are truly ignored, perhaps the value of these three variables isn’t worth the attention they often get.

THREE TO IGNORE

3. The Noise: Data vs. Information

This is a classic case of data versus information. Data consists of facts, which become information, as it conveys meaning to investors. For example, computers process data without any understanding of what the data represents. Similarly, investors are bombarded with headlines, facts and figures — in other words, data. Without the proper context behind the numbers and headlines being thrown at them, it just becomes noise.  When investors attempt to process all of this, it makes it hard to decipher what data is giving them the information they need to make investment decisions. Investors would be wise to focus on a few key variables (like the ones we told you about earlier), and filter out all of the other noise.

2. Headline Unemployment Rate

The headline unemployment rate, specifically, the primary measurement: U3, does not accurately reflect the employment picture. The official unemployment rate, which measures the proportion of the civilian labor force 16 years or older that are jobless but actively seeking employment, can be either overstated or understated. This could be due to discouraged workers, part-time workers and unreported legal or illegal employment. Taken together, these measurement problems suggest that the official unemployment rate is likely understated during business-cycle contractions and overstated during business-cycle expansions.

The unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in 2009 and then trended lower down to the current 6.3 percent. However, in the same period, the participation rate, a measure of the active portion of an economy’s labor force also came crashing down from 65.7 percent to an all-time low of 62.8 percent. It appears that most of the drop in the unemployment rate may be attributed to a falling participation rate—less people searching for a job rather than new jobs being created. This particular headline statistic is one that should probably be ignored.

1. What the Federal Reserve Says

Forecasting interest rates is extremely difficult. The Federal Reserve has a difficult time with it too.  In the past, the Fed has under promised and then over delivered. In 1994, 1999 and 2004, the Fed’s projection of Fed funds was not as accurate as one would expect. In each of those years listed, Fed funds were higher than the Fed had forecasted. Last year, the Fed began to taper its bond-buying activity, also known as quantitative easing. Having reduced their activity each month, we expect them to continue doing this until the program is terminated. Hiking interest rates is also being talked about, but we think that is noise in the markets. All in all, we recommend watching what they do, not what they talk about.

With all of the data investors could consume on any given day, at any given hour, this top 10 list of market and economic indicators and 3 to ignore, is a guide to cutting the clutter to get to the information needed to best understand today’s economic environment.

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DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Private Wealth Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals.  UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation. Banking and trust services offered through UMB Private Wealth Management, a division within UMB Bank, n.a.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2012. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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Top 10 Market and Economic Variables to Watch…and 3 to Ignore – Part III

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Here are the last four of our Top 10 list. Look back on part 1 and part 2 if you missed them! But check back in a couple weeks for the three things we think you should ignore!

4. Government Spending

Government spending is approximately 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) formula. Remember the potential fiscal cliff that was scheduled to become effective on December 31, 2012? If that combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board government spending cuts had been executed, the economy would have been pushed into a recession.  Sequestration, a result of the fiscal cliff, only lasted a year. In January 2014, a new $1.1 trillion budget was signed and sequestration essentially evaporated.

Federal spending is on the rebound and state and local governments are, on a relative basis, in better financial shape than we have seen in many years.  Governments are now spending money and we anticipate that they will make a positive contribution to GDP growth.

3. Housing Momentum

Housing is an important variable in the economy because housing starts mean more jobs. For every housing start, we estimate that there are three direct jobs created (carpenters, roofers, etc.) and another three indirect jobs (carpet manufactures, appliance manufacturing, etc.). We think homebuilder surveys tend to lead to housing permits and starts. Right now, homebuilder surveys are robust and support our forecast of 1 million new home starts in 2014.

Rising mortgage rates and home prices, along with weaker household formation growth, may slow housing activity, but it will not turn negative.

2. Confidence

Consumers and business owners gain confidence in the economy as uncertainty wanes. An increase in confidence is an encouraging signal that consumption and economic activity will be on the rise. The University of Michigan Survey of Consumer Confidence and the National Federation of Independent Businesses Small Business Optimism Index measure the consumer and business owner’s confidence levels. Both indices trended lower long before the Great Recession and the equity market peak in October of 2007. In addition, the indices turned to a positive trend early in 2009, long before the market bottom and the end of the recession.

Confidence data is at a five-year high due to the rising stock market, a strong labor market and all-time high household net worth. With consumers feeling good, we anticipate that consumption will continue.

1. Consumption

Consumption drives GDP and consumption is 68 percent of the GDP formula. If consumption growth is robust and increasing, we think GDP will follow that path.

Personal consumption expenditures have been disappointingly flat. Although spending has increased, it’s nowhere near the level required to advance economic growth to more than 3 percent. Advance retail sales also show positive growth, but only supporting mediocre GDP growth.

 

Of all the noise out there, these are the top 10 market and economic variables to watch closely. But what isn’t often discussed are the three that should be ignored. We’ll bring you those soon!

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Private Wealth Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals.  UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation. Banking and trust services offered through UMB Private Wealth Management, a division within UMB Bank, n.a.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2012. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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Top 10 Market and Economic Variables to Watch…and 3 to Ignore – Part II

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A couple weeks ago we told you the first of 10 variables to look for in the economy – Earnings Momentum and High Yield Spread. Here are the next four variables.

8. The Bond Market

The bond market, specifically, the 10-year Treasury note, may offer clues on the direction of the economy. Since the U.S. bond market is the largest and most liquid market in the world, the 10-year Treasury has often been used as a “fear” trade. When global uncertainty looms, investors seek a safe harbor against uncertainty and move into the U.S. bond market. As prices increase and yields move lower, this move has been an indicator that economic growth is in question.

The most recent trading range of the 10-year Treasury note has been between 2.4 and 3.0 percent, suggesting we will see moderate economic growth for the remainder of the year. Due to improving economic activity, a stable employment horizon and a hint of inflation, we think the 10-year Treasury will close the year around 3 percent.

7. Help Wanted Signs

Inflation can come in many forms, such as commodity inflation, wage inflation, and so on. The Federal Reserve (Fed) focuses on an inflation index called the “core personal consumption expenditures”(PCE), which excludes food and energy. Historically, food and energy inflation have been very volatile, and therefore are excluded in this index. We think wage inflation is the sustainable inflation. U.S. average hourly earnings have grown less than 2.5 percent each year for the last five years.  However, as the labor market tightens, we would expect some wage inflation. Job openings peaked in 2007 prior to the Great Recession.

Since 2009 job openings have been on the rise.  As the labor market gets tighter, we think it will lead to a continued increase in core inflation.

6. Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Lending Standards

Banks and credit are the lifeblood of the economy. When credit is readily available, business owners are more willing to expand their business and hire workers. Lending standards lead payroll growth by approximately nine months. In the middle of the recessions in 2001 and 2008, lending standards improved, and it was a clear signal that job growth was right around the corner.

The Fed’s Senior Loan Officer Surveys measure the tightening or loosening of loan standards, and there has been a dramatic improvement since 2010. C&I loan growth is up over 10 percent so far this year and we have seen an average of 215,000 jobs created each month in 2014, substantially better than last year.

5. The Slope of the Yield Curve

The shape of the yield curve (the difference between short and long rates) gives insight to economic growth. A very steep yield curve would indicate strong economic growth prospects, and an inverted yield curve (short rates higher than long rates) has an impressive track record of predicting an oncoming recession. The yield curve inverted a year prior to the recessions in 1980, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2008. In fact, in the past half century, the yield curve has inverted prior to each recession.

Even though we saw the economy contract in the first quarter of 2014, we are confident that this is an anomaly since the yield curve is so steeply sloped.

Later this month, we’ll bring you the rest of the Top 10 variables to watch.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Private Wealth Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals.  UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation. Banking and trust services offered through UMB Private Wealth Management, a division within UMB Bank, n.a.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2012. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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Top 10 Market and Economic Variables to Watch…and 3 to Ignore – Part I

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At its core, investment management involves researching thousands of variables and data points. Careful analysis is required of all of these variables and data points to create a “mosaic of information” in order to draw a conclusion on market and economic directions. With the 24/7 news cycle, investors have more data, surveys and reports in front of them than ever before.

In the spirit of a classic David Letterman Top Ten, we’ve put together our own list, but with a twist at the end. KC visited The Street and The Hays Advantage on Bloomberg Radio to share his insights.

Watch…

ListenKC Mathews on the Hays Advantage

Below are the first two market and economic variables to watch in order to make sound decisions. In the next parts of this series, we’ll bring you more variables and three that perhaps, should be ignored. Let us worry about the rest of the noise.

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10. Earnings Momentum

We are fundamental investors and believe that the primary driver of equity prices is earnings. Regardless of short-term noise that may move markets, sooner or later earnings and earnings momentum will determine market direction.

There is a 77 percent positive correlation between earnings and equity prices. Occasionally you will see equity prices deviate from earnings growth due to various reasons. Since 1955, however, earnings have grown 6.5 percent annually, and the S&P 500 has increased about the same, growing 7 percent on average. In 2014, earnings were up 5 percent and valuations increased by 25 percent, resulting in the S&P 500 posting a 32 percent return.

We expect earnings growth to be in the 4 to 6 percent range this year and continue to expect positive returns in equities. We would not be surprised, though, if we experience a meaningful correction to get earnings and market performance back in line.


9. High Yield Spreads

High yield spreads will usually precede or confirm a material correction in the equity market.  We define a material correction as a decrease of 10 percent or more and haven’t seen this type of a correction since June 2012. Market corrections are a normal and healthy part of a secular bull market. As the domestic equity markets continue to increase, the probability of a meaningful correction also increases. Historically, changes in high yield spreads have either signaled or confirmed a correction in the equity market. For example, in early 1998, high yield spreads widened 65 basis points suggesting an oncoming correction. As expected, a 15 percent mid-year correction followed.  Again, spreads widened by 90 basis points in the summer of 2007, right before the peak of the S&P 500.

In the past two years we have seen smaller corrections ranging from 4 to 7 percent with virtually no widening of high yield spreads. This tells us the meaningful correction has not yet occurred, nor is a correction on the near-term horizon.

Remember to check back for the rest of the variables to watch (and ignore) next month!

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Private Wealth Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals.  UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation. Banking and trust services offered through UMB Private Wealth Management, a division within UMB Bank, n.a.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2012. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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