Capstone Predicts Recession Risk Growing

Economists and CEOs Agree: Recession Risk Growing

20:19 15 February in Blog

Capstone Predicts Recession Risk GrowingAn increasing number of economists and corporate leaders say the risk of the U.S. dipping into a recession is rising. More than anything, they have pointed to the global growth slowdown and convulsions in financial markets.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey of economists, the average estimate of odds of a recession starting in the next twelve months jumped to 21%—double the count from a year ago and the highest since 2012. Economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch place the chances even higher at 25%.

Despite positive marks in many economic indicators, deteriorating U.S. confidence reflects concerns about slumping foreign economies.

Fed Chairwoman Testimony

In recent testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that the central bank is monitoring global financial markets, but reiterated her opinion that an economic contraction is not imminent. She emphasized that the Fed is keeping a flexible outlook on interest rate changes, but recent developments have not downwardly shifted the risk balance.

Business Concerns

The overall sag in financial markets, however, is feeding into concerns from business leaders. Despite a quarterly profit surge, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi cautioned of a “delicate” recovery. Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins said some corporate customers have started halting non-essential purchases.

Market and corporate sentiment have slid recently, and some, but not all, economic indicators have followed suit. Decreases in both oil drilling and output from utilities have prompted the decline of industrial production, and employment in the oil sector has slipped sharply. A similar decline in energy production, coupled with a strong American dollar, has put pressure on manufacturers. Factory activity decreased in January for the fourth straight month, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Positive Signs

On the contrary, household spending continues its rise, up 3.2%. While incomes have grown slowly, the dive in gas prices means incomes are outpacing inflation. Labor market barometers show healthy readings, including the 4.9% unemployment rate, down from 5.7% a year ago, and the underemployment rate which has fallen to 9.9% from 11.3%.

Economic activity has remained stable despite market turbulence, according to Ram Bhagavatula, an economist at Combinatorics Capital, a hedge fund. The evident disparity presents a conundrum for the Fed, which projects continued modest economic growth and gradual increases in interest rates and inflation. The Fed will have more to say about its growth outlook after its next policy meeting in mid-March, but it is paying attention to foreign economic developments that pose risks to U.S. growth.

By historical standards, the current economic expansion has lasted a long time. Since World War II, the average economic expansions have lasted for just under six years. The current expansion, beginning in June 2009, is now over 6.5 years old.

Capitalize on Growth with Capstone

Whether we’re simply seeing a market correction or a full-fledged recession, Capstone is here to help. We help businesses and subcontractors take advantage of opportunities for growth with diverse business funding and financing options. For qualified subcontractors, Capstone provides single invoice factoring for work performed under contract with a creditworthy general contractor. Capstone has highly experienced construction professionals on staff to facilitate the purchase of construction-related accounts receivable. For more information, read our blog, visit our Capstone Capital Group homepage, or contact us today.

Let the Games Begin!

19:00 01 May in Blog
The Federal Reserve (“Fed”) has now entered into its fourth month of reducing the impact of quantitative easing on the economy. 
The original theory behind quantitative easing was that if the Fed purchased bonds, it could sustain lower interest rates for borrowers. Therefore, more companies would borrow, which in turn, would help the economy with import finance.  Once small businesses started borrowing, they would expand their plant and equipment, hire new employees and have more profit.  However, the theory of quantitative easing did not work that way in a practical sense. 
What actually happened was the banks lent the money they could borrow from the Fed back to the Fed by depositing funds with them in return for an interest rate with no risk to their capital, unlike a small business loan. These business funding solutions were done at such high levels (i.e. tens of trillions of dollars) that the banks have been able to restore their capital base without having to pay any interest to their depositors (we don’t consider a quarter or one percent per year interest to a saver “interest”.) 
Without banks having to pay significant interest rates to their depositors, there was no driving force to encourage the underwriting of small business loans and take the risk.  The Fortune 1000 and companies of the sort that were cash rich over the last six years could borrow all they wanted from banks. However, those companies decided to go to the bond market where they could negotiate better terms. Because of this, the banks made loans to this group of companies and very few of the companies actually needed the loans and thus did not down on their credit facilities.
Because of the reduction in quantitative easing, the pundit and economists are projecting a mere 3.5% growth for the economy.  The Fed is lowering its quantitative easing by $10 billion per month (no typo here.)  The theory is that the banks will now begin to make small business loans because the Fed is no longer their biggest customer.  Interest rates will start to tick upward so the banks can price the new small business loans commensurate with the change in credit from the Fed to the mom and pop operator around the corner from your house.
But just in the nick of time, Dodd-Frank banking regulations have become effective which require the banks to do the exact opposite of what the reduction of quantitative easing should bring to the economy – growth.
Dodd-Frank is also known as the “Too Big to Fail” legislation.  This legislation was designed to reduce the impact on taxpayers when banks take risks with their depositor’s money.   Just when the Fed took a step to help the economy, Dodd-Frank will be applying the brakes again to small businesses.  For this reason, we have been trying to reach out and explain why factoring your accounts receivable with Capstone Capital Group, LLC to generate working capital is a step forward to accomplishing your business goals for 2014 and beyond

It’s the Economy, Stupid?

19:47 23 January in Blog

Everyday, depending on what consumers or employers are doing, the economy is either growing or contracting.  There are a few Economic Indicators or news announcements that you might be interested in following to come to your own conclusions: 
  1. The decision by the Federal Reserve (“Fed”) to either increase or decrease the Quantitative Easing (“QE”).
  2. Whether or not Congress or the President plans on not enforcing certain aspects of Dodd Frank,
  3. How your local Business Climate is reacting to the changing economic conditions in your region or area of operations.
The decision by the Fed to ease further or decrease their QE program is important because the program has had unintended consequences.  The original strategy behind QE was to increase the money supply to stimulate the economy.  Put simply, if banks had more money they would lend it to you, the small business owner. In turn these business funding solutions you to hire new employees and increase sales through which the economy would grow.  grow.  The reason why small business funding may have worked in the past (i.e. the early 1990’s) is because banks did not receive interest on funds deposited at the Fed.  Under the QE banks will receive interest on their deposits.  This has translated to no lending to the Small Business Community because lending to the Federal Governmentcomes without the chance of a default.  Small Businesses who take risks often default and are not as good credit risks as the Federal Government.
The “To Big to Fail Banks” are now lending to their guarantor and not to you.  These banks have been able to recover from the financial crisis without taking any risks.  During the same period of time in the early 1990’s the Prime Rate was 8% (per annum) and the Fed Funds Rate was approximately 3%.  Parking money at the Fed yielded negative 3% and lending to a good credit yielded 5%.  The banks made loans and the economy recovered all they way until 2001.  As a result of the stimulus the private sectorrecovery led to robust economic growth with limited (if any) budget deficits by the time President Bill Clinton left office.
Because the banks are lending to the Federal Government there is no inflation risk since all the excess liquidityis in the bank being borrowed by the Fed.  That’s good for a business owner and homeowner but not good for people planning to retire because more likely than not, they’ll have to go back to work to increase their nest egg or just cover living expenses.  This is why temp agencies have so many qualified candidates to hire to support the growth of your business.
When reviewing Dodd Frank headlines what you should focus on is the reserve requirements of the banks.  If it appears that the law will be amended to reduce the reserve requirements for small business loans then you could consider going back to the bank for financing.  However, you will still need audited financial statements and three years of profitable operations, personal guarantees and the rest.  You have to weigh the cost to you personally versus going to a finance company or Factor where the cost of capital may seem more expensive but the cost to you personally as the business owner is far less and there is less risk to your personal assets than at the bank.
Finally, how is the local economy doing?  Connecticut is considering developing a Port Authority,  Florida is creating a for-profit railway system, New York is building at least three new bridges,  the City of New York is in fear of being washed into New York Harbor and has initiated a $20 billion flood control plan.  I am sure if you read your local paper everyday you will find that there are significant opportunities available to you or your business.  Take a minute to cut out the article and call the reporter to ask them questions.  Who doesn’t like to talk about their work?  Contact whoever is in charge of the project; find out how you can help. 
The worst case scenario is that you prepare a presentation and you don’t get to participate in the original project it was intended for however the presentation can be utilized for a variety of other opportunities so another opportunity can be gained from poking around.  This could actually lead to multiple jobs.  Although the opportunities identified above all seem like construction projects, they need Supplies, Office Supplies, office space, etc. and they last several years.  You might not be able to change the direction of the economy, but you are able to change the direction of your company.  Set yourself up for success by working towards completing your business goals and use spot factoring to make progress by any means necessary.

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