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...

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...

Don’t count on a V-shaped recovery

The covid-19 coronavirus outbreak is a human tragedy, just like Ebola, MERS, and SARS. For investors, it has an economic impact. Even before the outbreak, world merchandise trade volume had been falling. New data is likely to show that the outbreak disrupted global supply chains sufficiently to further depress global trade. The market consensus initially...

The guerrilla war against the PBOC

The enemy advances, we retreat In the wake of the news of the coronavirus infection, the Chinese leadership went into overdrive and made it a Draghi-like "whatever it takes" moment to prevent panic and stabilize markets. When the stock markets opened after the Lunar New Year break, the authorities prohibited short sales, directed large shareholders...

Is the melt-up back?

What should investors make of the market's recent air pocket and subsequent recovery? John Autthers, writing at Bloomberg, proposed an analytical framework where investors view the coronavirus outbreak mainly as a China problem. The MSCI World with China exposure (blue line) has been far more volatile than the MSCI World Index (white line). The companies...

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

Mid-week market update: Bloomberg reported that BAML strategist Michael Harnett wrote a report back on December 12 forecasting a melt-up. He believed the market's gains would be front loaded in 2020. and he projected an S&P 500 target of 3,333 by March 3. The index reached that level intra-day today, and it's still January. Are...

A 2020 commodity review

Preface: Explaining our market timing models We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade. The...

China, paper tiger

Preface: Explaining our market timing models We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade. The...