In a recent episode of WealthTrack, Consuelo Mack interviewed economist and strategist Ed Yardeni, President of Yardeni Research, and asked him about the metrics he thinks are important for investors to stay tuned into.
News events are constantly barraging us, says Yardeni, adding, “part of the trick is figuring out which ones are noise and which ones are signal, which ones really matter, and which ones don’t.” He advises against allowing emotions or political news to fuel investing decisions.
According to Yardeni, staying on top of the economy is a good idea, noting corporate earnings and where we are in the business cycle as important factors. Inflation, he says, is a major focus because it plays a big role in the type of portfolio you create. He suggests, however, that inflation isn’t a purely monetary phenomenon. “Money supply has something to do with inflation, says Yardeni, but so does competition, globalization, and technology.” The innovation and disruption associated with the tech sector, he notes, is inherently disinflationary—if innovation allows a business to provide better service than a competitor at a cheaper price, they will displace their competition.
Yardeni believes that the aging population will also serve to keep consumption growth down and inflation down, a good environment for stocks. He has some concerns regarding the budget deficit, noting that although it had doubled under the Obama administration, “nothing happened because interest rates were so low.”
Regarding current share valuations, Yardeni comments, “history shows that this isn’t the greatest time to buy stocks,” but adds that if inflation stays muted, we might not be facing a bad recession for some time. When Mack asks him where he would advise investors to consider buying, Yardeni responds, “You want to invest in the global economy.”