Charlie’s Finance Articles
Current Finance Articles
Every month, Fort Pitt Capital Group’s Chief Investment Officer, Charlie Smith, curates valuable finance articles for you from the vast amount of reading that he and his Portfolio Management Team do to stay up to date on the market. We want to help you cut through the clutter and have a resource to find current financial news from relevant sources. Anyone can sign up to have Charlie’s latest financial articles sent directly to their inbox! Simply scroll to the bottom of this page and sign up for our newsletters.
Charlie’s Finance Articles May 2021
Summer is in sight! And as life starts to return to normal, we know you may have plans to see family and friends after a long absence. We hope you’ll also make some plans to check out what’s going on in the financial world and what we’re currently reading at Fort Pitt:
“The numbers tell us that airline passengers are coming back,” is our first article. This piece comes from ZeroHedge and takes a look at the Transportation Security Administration’s passenger count numbers. If the pace of passenger counts continues as is this year, by August we could surpass the numbers from 2019.
Our second piece, “What sort of business is investment banking,” comes from Economicblogs.org. Investment banks can suffer huge losses at the hands of just a single client or single employee. This is because if you boil it all down, investment banks traffic in risk.
We turn to Wolf Street for our next piece, “It’s getting serious: Dollar’s purchasing power plunges most since 2007. But it’s a lot worse than it appears.” CPI inflation has jumped 7% and is accelerating. Housing, healthcare, and insurance prices are all surging.
Next up, our vice president, Chris Chaney, is quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s, “New Apple credit card makes it easier for families to share credit. But should they?” A new credit card allows up to five people to build their credit histories together. Chaney weighs in, saying you need to treat credit with fear and loathing.
“Wall Street drops on inflation jitters, led by tech stocks,” comes from Reuters and features our head of asset allocation and equity research, Dan Eye. Inflation fears caused a tech sell-off mid-month. Eye shares his insight that if you’re valuing a high-growth company based on its earnings ten years out, those earnings into the future are worth a lot less today at higher inflation levels.
Lastly, I share my insight with the Pittsburgh Business Times in, “What’s next after PNC completes BBVA USA buy? The bank put stock repurchases and dividend increases on hold until after the deal is complete. My guess is it won’t be done until year-end as there is heavy lifting to be done with the system conversions.
Charlie’s Finance Articles April 2021
The April showers (and cold weather) are hopefully over because we are ready for those May flowers! While we wait for the season’s flowers to open and bloom, you can open the below articles now to see what we’re reading at Fort Pitt:
Our first article, “Dramatic round of regulation seen coming for cryptocurrencies,” comes from Bloomberg. The World Economic Forum’s blockchain expert says as there is more and more demand for cryptocurrency, regulators will get more engaged and involved in the space.
Wolf Street is the source of our next article, “What I see as retail landlord, one year after (and we’re still forgiving and deferring rent for our hardest-hit tenants).” Discount stores and supermarkets are thriving while dry cleaners and personal services are still struggling more than a year into the pandemic. And some retailers are looking for new deals.
We’re also reading ZeroHege’s article, “Hapag-Lloyd shelling out more than half a billion dollars for containers.” Labor shortages and surges at U.S. ports are creating a slow turnaround time for shipping containers. One ocean carrier is buying 150,000 containers to offer its customers better service during these delays.
Our head of asset allocation and equity research, Dan Eye, is featured in this Kiplinger piece, “FAANG Stocks: What challenges await these 5 mega-caps?” Clouds are forming above FAANG stocks this year as the digital economy grows and governments want their cut.
“6 tips for managing your 401(k) like a pro” comes from Barron’s and features Nathan Boxx, our director of retirement plan services. If your plan allows for you to make Roth deferrals, jump on that train. This will give you tax-free income in retirement.
Our last article this month, “What it takes to save $1 million for retirement,” is from Yahoo! Finance and features our senior vice president, Chuck Mattiucci. There is no one size fits all approach to retirement planning. Depending on lifestyle, some people will need more than $1 million and others will need less.
Charlie’s Finance Articles March 2021
We hit one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic and one year since the stock market bottomed on March 23, 2020. It’s been quite a year! Here’s what we’re reading now:
“JP Morgan is trying to offload ‘big blocks’ of corporate Manhattan real estate,” comes from ZeroHedge. The big bank is looking to sublet 800,000 square feet of office space in New York City and the CEO says the pandemic has potentially led to permanent changes in how they do in-office business.
Bloomberg is giving us our second article, “U.S. commuting at highest since last March as covid cases slow.” The average number of visits to places of work in the U.S. hit its highest level during the last week of February
Next up, a trend emerging from CNBC in “Fewer kids are going to college because they say it costs too much.” A year into the coronavirus pandemic, a survey of high school students reveals the likelihood of attending a four-year college has decreased by almost 20%. The students are putting more emphasis on career training.
“A Las Vegas mall became nearly worthless in six months. It’s probably not the last,” is from Business of Fashion. One mall lost 95% of its value in just six months and a hedge fund principal shares data about why mall liquidations will continue.
Our head of asset allocation and equity research, Dan Eye, is included in this next piece from Barron’s, “Companies are feeling the inflation pinch. What to watch next.” If companies pass on rising costs to customers, that would make inflation more widespread and could have serious implications for stocks.
“What are assets?” is an explainer from Forbes Advisor that features our financial advisor, Katharine Perry. Practically everybody owns assets and there are a few different types and ways to determine the value of your assets.
Charlie’s Finance Articles February 2021
Spring is in sight! During this snowy February, we had quite a bit of time to read interesting articles that caught our attention. Here’s a look at what we’re reading and what we hope you enjoy too:
The first article that caught our eye is, “Largest U.S. mall landlord Simon Property Group sent jingle mail to Deutsche Bank which foreclosed on mall, but got no bids,” from Wolf Street. Simon Property Group is shedding some of its malls by walking away from the mortgages and leaving the lenders to run the properties.
Our own head of asset allocation and equity research, Dan Eye, appeared on Yahoo! Finance for this next piece, “Market recap: Friday, February 19.” Dan joined the hosts and another industry expert to discuss inflation. The fixed income market is looking at a higher growth environment for 2021 and high budget deficits from 2020 needs to be financed.
“‘Inside the industry, we’re all pretty panicked’: Global semi shortage continues to slam auto industry,” is our next article and comes from ZeroHedge. The current semiconductor shortage plaguing the auto industry is expected to drag on for at least six months. With this timeline, hundreds of thousands of vehicles will most likely be put on hold.
ZeroHedge is also the source of our next article, “Inflation phases: From deflation repair to inflation despair.” Investors should keep their eye on three distinct inflation phases; 1. Rising inflation expectations due to fading deflation risk, 2. Early inflation overshoot and risk of rate shocks, and 3. Larger inflation surprises drive higher risk premia across assets.
“PNC shares skyrocket to new heights,” comes from the Pittsburgh Business Times. Charlie Smith himself was consulted for this piece as PNC Financial Services Group’s stock hit a new all-time high in February. Financials rallied on the sharply steeping yield curve and a booming economy will boost loan volumes.
Charlie’s Finance Articles January 2021
Welcome to 2021! Here’s a look at the articles we’re paying attention to in this new year at Fort Pitt Capital Group:
“Pensions swamped in a sea of negative real rates,” comes from Financial Advisor. As the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates at record low levels, pension shortfalls will likely increase to double-digit percentages in the next two years.
Bloomberg gives us our second article, “How did we end up with this chip shortage?” A supply and demand imbalance is occurring between automakers and semiconductor chip makers as companies miscalculated when traditional car production would cease.
And Wolf Street supplies our final articles, “The Amazon empire beefs up its logistics juggernaut,” is first up. Amazon is no longer just leasing airplanes, it now owns planes and is launching its own cargo airline.
“Historic mania in SPACs, IPOs. Huge fees for Wall Street banks. Mega paydays for insiders. Disdain for valuations. Blind faith that ‘this time it’s different’,” is our next Wolf Street article. In the first three weeks of 2021, SPACs (special-purpose acquisition companies) raised more money than all of 2019.
Charlie’s Finance Articles December 2020
We’ve made it through 2020! And whether you’re reflecting on this uncertain year or looking ahead to 2021, be sure to take a look at the finance articles that have caught our eye right now at Fort Pitt Capital Group:
We’ll kick it off with the ZeroHedge article, “Biden will preserve Trump’s China tariffs & trade deal as ‘rapid reset’ of relations looks unlikely.” President-elect, Joe Biden, has told reporters he will not immediately make moves to remove tariffs on China that were imposed by President Trump, nor will he scrap the “Phase 1” trade deal with the country.
Bloomberg serves up our next article, “Rich states uncover tax windfall, undercutting push for aid.” Thanks to the booming stock market this year, some states received tax revenue far beyond what they were expecting.
And Wolf Street gives us, “California ‘Techsodus’: Tech companies, billionaires, millionaires, tech employees flee San Francisco & Silicon Valley,” As more and more tech companies adopt a “work from anywhere” mentality, their executives and employees are quickly leaving California for locations that don’t levy state income taxes.
“How many renters face eviction when the eviction bans end? How much worse is it, compared to the good times,” is our last article and also comes from Wolf Street. Looking at the month of November to compare this year to last year, in 2020, 6.4% of renters were behind one month on their rent, up from 4.8% of renters who were behind in November 2019.
Charlie’s Finance Articles November 2020
The holiday season is here but this one will be unlike what we’ve seen in the past. Here are the finance articles we’re reading during this time at Fort Pitt Capital Group:
“The US government seized $1 billion in bitcoin from dark web marketplace Silk Road,” is our first article and comes from The Verge. An unnamed hacker helped the U.S. Department of Justice empty the digital wallet of the now-shuttered dark web drug marketplace Silk Road. The taking of roughly 70,000 bitcoins was part of a civil forfeiture case.
Bloomberg supplies our second article, “Money-fund rules in crosshairs again as Boston Fed takes aim.” The 2016 regulatory overhaul of U.S. money-market funds aimed to prevent another 2008-like damaging run on these funds. But the coronavirus-related exodus of cash this year showed risk remains.
Next up, we’ve got “Why Simon Property Group & Brookfield Property, #1 & #2 mall landlords, bought J.C. Penney and other collapsed retailers out of bankruptcy,” from WolfStreet. In an effort to keep stores open and paying rent, mall REITs are buying retailers out of bankruptcy court.
“2021: Fastest earnings recovery ever?” from ZeroHedge rounds out our list. Analysts are projecting 2021 will be a record year for S&P 500 profitability and that earnings growth in the year should come from more cyclical sectors like industrials, consumer discretionary, and materials.
Charlie’s Finance Articles October 2020
Here are the latest finance articles grabbing our attention this month at Fort Pitt Capital Group:
“Wall Street versus Main Street: Why the disconnect?” comes from McKinsey & Company. The basis of valuations, the market’s composition, and investors’ expectations are keeping the U.S. stock market standing in the face of real economic turmoil.
For our second article, we look to Yahoo! Finance for, “Biden’s plan to overhaul 401(k) tax breaks could force some companies to cut retirement benefits.” The former vice president wants to level the playing field of tax deferral in traditional retirement accounts. His proposal would benefit people in the lowest two tax brackets, but millions of people could lose plans as a result.
Our next article, “Companies are changing the language in their quarterly reports to appeal to algos,” comes from ZeroHedge. Public companies are figuring out how to talk when a machine is listening. They are changing how they communicate their financial filings and quarterly reports to appeal to artificial intelligence.
And we’ll wrap it up with Wolf Street’s, “Synchrony Financial disclosed radical work-from-home plan, layoffs, and ‘office footprint’ reduction.” Another major company has announced plans for all employees to work from home and even require some employees to work from home permanently.
Charlie’s Finance Articles September 2020
Hello, fall! Here are Fort Pitt Capital Group’s latest finance articles as we welcome some cooler temps:
“Demand is Insane”: NYC movers turn people away, suburban & rural housing snagged up, as big city COVID – exodus accelerates comes from ZeroHedge. Americans are getting out of more expensive real estate meccas like New York and heading to suburbs and rural areas like Vermont.
Our second article, “The wild ride of the FANGMANTIS stocks v. rest of market” comes from Wolf Street. If you look at the Wilshire 5000 index and take out the 10 giant tech stocks, it essentially hasn’t done anything of note for three years.
ZeroHedge also supplies our next article, “Down-to-Earth- aspects of the U.S. economy in near-real-time.” Seated diners are down 49% through September from last year, the air passenger count entering U.S. airport security is down more than 68%, and office occupancy is down 75.4%.
We’re finishing up with an article from Bloomberg, “U.S.-China investment slumps as ties sour, report says. Two-way investment between the U.S. and China reached its lowest level in about nine years during the first six months of 2020.
Charlie’s Finance Articles August 2020
As summer starts to wind down, we’re sharing Fort Pitt Capital Group’s latest finance articles for the month:
Our first article, “Work-from-home unleashes nightmares for office landlords & surrounding businesses. Global Banks at the forefront,” comes from Wolf Street. Global banks are among the first to make changes for their workforce and shift to a long-term work-from-home model. While this transition is for the safety of those who can work from home, commercial property owners may face occupancy difficulties as a result.
“Why Trump is likely to win again” is our next article from The Journal Blog. Swing voters will be key for the winner of the 2020 election. The “New Democratic” party doesn’t appeal to the working class, which could be the difference-maker in November.
Wolf Street supplies our third article, “No payment, no problem: Bizarre new world of consumer debt,” which highlights the unusual occurrence of loan deferral or forbearance. Due to the unprecedented times we’re facing, lenders are allowing borrowers to ask for a deferral or forbearance, and it won’t count as delinquent if consumers can’t make payments on time.
“Manhattan apartment rents plunge 10% in pandemic-field exodus” is our next article from Bloomberg.com, detailing the weakness in Manhattan’s rental market as city-dwellers flee to the suburbs and other boroughs. Data shows that rents declined while vacancies increased significantly over the last few months.
Finally, Wolf Street’s “Foot traffic to ‘place of commerce,’ office occupancy hit by Covid reassurance, persistent work-from-home: Real-time data,” completes this month’s list. Real-time data trackers showcase average daily visits to “points of interest” to understand foot traffic patterns in large metros. This reveals that we are below levels of “normal” compared to January’s data.