Commodity weakness = Global slowdown?

My Trend Asset Allocation Model has performed well by beating a 60/40 benchmark on an out-of-sample basis in the last few years. The early version of the Trend Model relied exclusively on commodity prices for signals of global reflation and deflation. While the inputs have changed to include global equity prices, this nevertheless raises some...

Time for a mid-cycle swoon?

The S&P 500 fell as much -4% from its all-time high in Evergrande panic pullback last week. Is the recent weakness just typical seasonal weakness or something more serious? The intermediate-term breadth looks disconcerting. The percentage of S&P 500 stocks above their 200-day moving average (dma) had been at the 90% level which indicates a...

How US equity investors should trade the Evergrande panic

Global markets have taken a decided risk-off tone today. The spark is the China Evergrande implosion. Fears are rising that Evergrande is turning from a liquidity crisis in which the company doesn't have enough cash to pay its obligations, to a solvency crisis in which the company's assets are less than its liabilities if it...

What China decoupling looks like

When Trump began his trade war with China, the Street's narrative was "decoupling". It took a few years, but it's finally happened. As China's economic outlook and market deteriorated, it did not drag down the economies of Europe and North America.   To be sure, the news out of China is grim. A series of...

What you should and shouldn’t worry about

The S&P 500 took fright last Monday and skidded -1.6% after falling -0.8% the previous Friday. Talking heads attributed the decline to worries about the rising incidence of the Delta variant around the world.     Fears over the Delta variant slowing economic growth are overblown. However, there are two other key risks that equity...

China rides to the rescue?

The headlines from last week sounded dire. It began when China’s May economic activity report was disappointing, with industrial production, retail sales, and fixed-asset investment missing market expectations.      Then the Federal Reserve took an unexpected hawkish turn. The statement from the FOMC meeting acknowledged that downside risks from the pandemic were receding as vaccination...

The bond market tempts FAIT

Remember when I called for a bond market rally (see What a bond market rally could mean for your investments). The 10-year Treasury yield broke support last week and shrugged off a hot CPI print. Is the bond market tempting FAIT, or the Fed's Flexible Average Inflation Targeting framework?     Here are some of...

A pause in the reflation trade?

Recently, a growing narrative in the market is arguing for a pause in the reflation trade for the following reasons:   Both the cyclically sensitive copper/gold and base metal/gold ratios have moved sideways. The 10-year Treasury yield peaked out in March and it is now falling, which is an indication of the bond market's belief...

A “value” industry that’s about to be the “Next Best Thing”

Recently, an investor aptly characterized value investing as a portfolio of problems with a call option on good news. One sector stands out as a group of value stocks that are taking on growth characteristics. As shown by its relative performance against MSCI All-Country World Index (ACWI), this cyclical industry bottomed out on a relative...

Commodity supercycle: Bull and bear debate

Is it too late to buy into the commodity supercycle thesis? The latest BoA Global Fund Manager survey shows that respondents have moved to a crowded long position in commodities. Many analysts have also hopped on the commodity supercycle train, myself included (see How value investors can play the commodity supercycle).     As a cautionary...

No reasons to be bearish?

The nature of the market advance has been extraordinary and relentless. From a long-term perspective, the monthly MACD model flashed a buy signal last August for the broadly-based Wilshire 5000 and there are no signs of technical deterioration. This is a bull market, but sentiment has become sufficiently frothy that a reset is overdue.    ...

The Roaring 20’s scenario, and what could go wrong

Happy New Year! Investors were happy to see the tumultuous 2020 come to a close. The past year has been one with little precedent. A pandemic brought the global economy to a screeching halt. The stock market crashed, and it was followed by an unprecedented level of fiscal and monetary response from authorities around the...

Growth, interrupted?

Two weeks ago, I rhetorically asked if investors should be buying into the cyclical recovery theme (see Buy the cyclical and reflation trade?). Global green shoots of recovery were appearing, but I identified the "uncertainty of additional fiscal stimulus" as a key risk to the cyclical rebound thesis. Now that Biden appears to be winning...

Emerging tail-risk: An invasion of Taiwan

I am not in the habit of peddling conspiracy theories, but this is inadvertently becoming a Halloween tradition. Last Halloween, I wrote about how China could control Taiwan without firing a shot (see Scary Halloween story: How a weak USD could hand China a major victory). This year, a new geopolitical tail-risk is materializing for investors...

FIFO: Can China save global growth (again)?

Remember the Great Financial Crisis (GFC)? As the GFC engulfed the global economy, China stepped up with a shock-and-awe campaign of fiscal and monetary stimulus that stabilized not only the Chinese economy, but global growth. Can China save global growth again? China recently reported surprisingly strong export growth for April, but the closely watched early...