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Macro (119)

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Recession Proponents Watching Yield Curve

Is our economic recovery truly as strong as charts would imply?  Are we strong enough to stand on our own at these levels, or have we overshot the boundaries thanks to quantitative easing?  Are economics in the U.S. strong enough or does recession lie ahead?

Curve watchers Anonymous has an eye on the yield curve. Here is a snapshot of year-end-closing values from 1998-12-31 through 2015-12-31.

Yield Curve Year End Closing Values 1998-2015



Unlike 1999-2000 and again 2007-2007, no portions of the yield curve are inverted today (shorter-term rates higher than longer-term rates).

Inversion is the traditional harbinger of recessions, but with the low end of the curve still very close to zero despite the first Fed hike, inversions are…

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3Q Earnings Worst Since 2009

This U.S. earnings season is on track to be the worst since 2009 as profits from oil & gas and commodity-related companies plummet leaving many to wonder, is the worst behind us or is there more to come?  Is China's growth story over or taking a 'rest'?  We've lived on ghost cities creating demand for so many years; where is the next growth story?

So far, about three-quarters of the S&P 500 have reported results, with profits down 3.1 percent on a share-weighted basis, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. This would be the biggest quarterly drop in earnings since the third quarter 2009, and the second straight quarter of profit declines. Earnings growth turned negative for the first time in six years in the second quarter this year.

The damage is the biggest in commodity-related industries, with the energy sector showing a 54 percent drop in quarterly earnings per share so far in…

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Admin

Cash Flow Out Of Emerging Markets

Worldwide money flows are of interest to a long term investor and the flight out of emerging markets has been striking.  Weren't emerging markets supposed to where our expansion was to take place?  What now?

According to the IIF, the volatile market conditions have taken a toll on capital flows to emerging markets, with net non-resident portfolio flows in August falling into negative territory for the first time in 2015, according to the Institute of International Finance’s latest EM Portfolio Flows Tracker. Outflows were estimated at $4.5 billion in August compared to inflows of $6.7 billion in July.

“Portfolio flows to emerging markets have retreated sharply in the last few weeks,” said Charles Collyns, chief…

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Admin

The New Face Of Competition For Profits

The world’s biggest corporations have been riding a three-decade wave of profit growth, market expansion, and declining costs. Yet this unprecedented run may be coming to an end. Our new McKinsey Global Institute report, Playing to win: The new global competition for corporate profits, projects that the global corporate-profit pool, which currently stands at almost 10 percent of world GDP, could shrink to less than 8 percent by 2025—undoing in a single decade nearly all of the corporate gains achieved relative to the world economy during the past 30 years (exhibit).

Exhibit

From 1980 to 2013, vast markets opened around the world…

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Admin

Over the years, it's become essential (to me) to understand monetary policy and money flows across the globe. With all of the recent 'pining' over whether the Fed will begin to raise rates this year, I felt this piece from Financial Times gave a great representation of who is worried over what, and why.  I truly recommend you give if it a read.  There's also more discussed on this article.  Enjoy.

Why is the Fed considering raising interest rates now?

America has seen its longest private sector hiring spurt on record, and unemployment has halved since its peak. The Fed thinks the hot jobs market could spur a…

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Admin

Chinas Move Won't Help U.S. Tech Firms

China’s moves to spur its slowing economy and restore investor confidence are having an important but less obvious effect on the tech sector: Strengthening Chinese companies that already were making life difficult for U.S. rivals, many of whom have staked their growth plans on the world’s second-largest market.

The government’s surprise decision in early August to devalue China’s currency, in particular, could make it harder for U.S. companies to sell into the country by making their products more expensive to local buyers.

At the same time, a cheaper yuan makes Chinese-produced goods less costly abroad—dovetailing with government policies that have been promoting foreign sales by Chinese technology vendors.

“We see the key driver [of government action] being exports,” said Handel Jones, a consultant at International Business Strategies Inc. who…

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Admin

China’s market downfall has been dramatic and painful for the investors involved. But so far there has been little immediate impact on the rest of the world, because China tightly limits foreign investment in mainland stocks.

China’s stock markets are, for the most part, a mom and pop affair—about 80% of the trading that happens in Shanghai and Shenzhen is done by Chinese individuals. They represent at most 14% of the total Chinese population.

But there’s little doubt the effects of this downturn will be felt globally—it just may take some time. After all, Chinese investors have lost more about $3.4 trillion in equity value from the markets mid-June peak until the July 7 close:

And although the government is…

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Admin

Jobs. The Winners And The Losers

It’s time for what is arguably the world’s most influential monthly economic update.  The US economy generated 280,000 new jobs in May, as the world’s largest economy continues to shake off a sluggish first quarter.

The unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.5%. We’ll be rounding up our best charts, as well as the best ones we see from around the web in the lead-up and aftermath of the 8:30 a.m. data release.

Now let's take a look at the winners and losers.  Notice the 253,000 people who previously had no job and were not looking.........that's a big shift if you ask me.  One to the bullish side.  They're up off of Mommy's couch (finally).

A look by sector breaks it down.

A big gainer? Healthcare…

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Admin

Britain Declares Deflation

According to The Economist, in May 19th official statisticians announced that Britain entered deflation in April, with consumer prices standing 0.1% lower than a year earlier. It is first time since 1960 that annual inflation has been negative. Back then, prices pepped up again quickly. The Bank of England expects a similar rebound this time, on the basis that the recent fall in the price of food and fuel will be a one-off. But for inflation to return to the bank’s 2% target, sustained growth in wages is necessary. That means the bank is keeping a close eye on inflation expectations; if Britons start accepting lower pay rises on account of stagnant prices, deflation could…

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Admin

Remain Long China. The QE Continues

I see no reason why not to stick with Shanghai at this point.  They're behind us at in terms of supporting their economy and it's not an easy ride (as Ben Bernanke will attest). 

According to BusinessInsider, a bunch of data about the state of China's economy came out Tuesday night, and altogether it told us one thing — nothing the government has been doing to save its economy from falling deeper into a slowdown is working.

Since November, China has cut benchmark interest rates three times, including once Saturday. It has also loosened mortgage policies to prop up the housing market.

But none of it's enough. Especially when you look at the data from Tuesday night.

Lets walk through the scariest…

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Admin

The Early Stages Of A Bond Bear Market

I'm crazy to do this, but it sure looks like the Great Bond Bull Market has ended and we are in the early stages of another bond bear market. 


The Great Bond Bull Market started in the fourth quarter of 1981, after the 10-yr Treasury yield hit an all-time of almost 16%, and about a year after the year-over-year change in the CPI hit a post-Depression high of almost 15%. It most likely ended 31 years later, in July 2012, when the 10-yr yield fell to 1.4% at the height of the PIIGS crisis, and three years after the CPI hit a post-Depression low of -2.1%.…

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Admin

The Four Global Forces Breaking All The Trends

In the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, one new force changed everything. Today our world is undergoing an even more dramatic transition due to the confluence of four fundamental disruptive forces—any of which would rank among the greatest changes the global economy has ever seen. Compared with the Industrial Revolution, we estimate that this change is happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact. Although we all know that these disruptions are happening, most of us fail to comprehend their full magnitude and the second- and third-order effects that will result. Much as waves can amplify one another, these trends are gaining strength, magnitude, and influence as they interact with, coincide with, and feed upon one another. Together, these four fundamental disruptive trends are producing monumental change.

1. Beyond Shanghai: The age of urbanization

The first trend…

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Admin

Time To Ring The Register

Traders dumped high fliers and the broader stock market was slammed amid worries about the first profit decline in six years and more signs of nagging weakness in the U.S. economy.

Stocks fell sharply, as the VIX [ .VIX 15.44  +1.82 (+13.36%) ] jumped more than 13 percent. The Dow [ .DJI 17718.54  -292.60 (-1.62%) ] was off 292 points at 17,718 Wednesday, and the S&P 500 [ .INX 2061.05  -30.45 (-1.46%) ] fell nearly 1.5 percent to 2061. The Nasdaq [ .IXIC 4876.52  -118.21 (-2.37%) ], affected by selling in tech and biotech, lost 2.4…

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Admin

Was Prior Growth An Anomaly

Over the past 50 years, the global economy expanded sixfold as the world’s population and per capita income each grew at unprecedented speed. The global population more than doubled while average per capita income almost tripled to about $13,000 at 2012 purchasing power parity. However, there are significant doubts that this growth bonanza will continue in the long term given that the demographic tailwinds of the past half century are now waning.  Hundreds of millions of people were lifted out of poverty.  Yet without significantly boosting the one engine the world economy still has—productivity growth—this period may prove to be a historic anomaly. 

Unless we can dramatically improve productivity, the next half century will look very different. The rapid expansion of…

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Admin

For the love of Pete.  I can only imagine what's going through the minds of investors.  First fears of energy name defaults and now China's real estate (bubble) may have it's first big default?  It'll be a fun Sunday night when futures open. 

The Chinese real-estate developer Kaisa Group Holdings had a healthy balance sheet, according to investors and observers alike. It was the top-rated residential-property-sales firm in the city of Shenzhen, in the first half of 2014. It was known for fast, reliable work.

But on Thursday, Kaisa appeared to become the first Chinese development firm to default on offshore debt,…

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Admin

Gundlach On GDP, Oil, Bonds And More

It seems not all money managers out there have the warm-n-fuzzies for equities in 2015.  Especially considering the almost two year sell-off in commodities, finally joined by crude oil in dramatic, face ripping action.  In fact, one feels that the rise in interest rates in 2015 will do what is not expected; flatten the yield curve.

If the curve flattens gradually, most traders said it probably means investors believe the Fed will keep future inflation in check with gradual rate hikes. Bond traders hate inflation because it erodes the value of their fixed-income investment.

But if the curve-flattening trend speeds up?…

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Admin

No Crude Oil Recovery In 2015

While guests on CNBS CNBC and Bloomberg are busy encouraging you to buy oil names which are down over 50%, I wouldn't expect to reap any big rewards any time soon.  In fact I believe there will be much more pain ahead, depending on the strength of the company you chose.  Iran sanctions may be giving it a boost near term but once they're lifted (or eased) their production is expected to double which is once again, bearish for this oversupplied market

While everyone is in agreement that crude oil is in a bear market, quite often one strategy is to buy the laggard and anticipate it to outperform the following year.  The trouble with crude oil however, are the…

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Admin

Dangers Of Underestimating Deflation

Deflation = Low wages + negative interest rates

Deflation will be the dominating theme of 2015. Deflation occurs when prices of production factors (wages and interest rates) fall to the extent of limiting labour and capital from drawing higher prices. The culprit to these conditions is typically an excess supply of labour and capital to the extent that wages and interest rates weaken substantially until they draw sufficient demand to the point of stabilising their price.

But as demand for labour and capital fails to fill the supply of workers and available liquidity, the spiral of excess supply takes over wages and interest rates remain weak, and even negative. Deflation hurts borrowers relative to lenders. Countries whose central banks combat deflation, or conduct reflationary policies, should see their…

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Admin

Christmas Came Early For These Sub Sectors

Who doesn't love the lame duck session?  It's that special time of year when Santa comes early to Wall Street and you too, can benefit.  As one example, outgoing Congressmen and woman who lost during mid terms, tend to throw in the towel (they won't be around next session anyway) and all types of goodies get through the Congressional pipeline which were stalled during the normal session.  This years winners if you're an investor are:

  • Banks and insurers.  Congress repealed a portion of Dodd-Frank so that derivatives will now be covered once again by FDIC Insurance, thus lowering the risk to banks and insurers like AIG.*
  • Health insurance companies get to keep their special tax breaks.
  • Tourist destinations like Las Vegas get their travel promotion subsidies.*
  • In a victory for food companies, the…

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