Category: Members

Europe on the mend and China decelerating

Europe on the mend and China decelerating

The Euro area composite PMI rose to 54.0 from 53.1, making it unlikely that the ECB will move against deflation in May The Chinese HSBC/Markit flash manufacturing PMI was up to 48.3 from 48.0. However, this still shows contracting manufacturing and means China is still rebalancing Yesterday on Boom Bust, the finance show I produce, Marshall Auerback gave a good […]

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Secular versus cyclical factors in equity markets

Secular versus cyclical factors in equity markets

Continuing where I left off yesterday, it’s clear that the global economy is growing now. We see growth in the US, Europe, Japan, and in emerging markets. Economic growth is the norm, not the exception. And over the longer term, markets will rise to reflect that growth. That’s what I mean when I say market and economic momentum is up and to the right. Here’s the problem; there are periods of time when economies and markets fall out of bed. And sometimes the upheaval is so great, it turns into a generational divide – a depression and/or secular bear market. I believe there is a good case that we are still both in a depression and a secular bear market and I want to explain how that matters below.

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Dealing with confirmation bias in macro analysis at market turning points

Dealing with confirmation bias in macro analysis at market turning points

My macro view for most of the global economy is upbeat. My only downbeat views concern deceleration of growth in emerging markets and froth in capital markets. But in the main, market and economic momentum is up and to the right. The natural path is progress. Or at least it has been for the last couple hundred years. In that vein, I see the US in a middling upturn, Europe in an improving recovery and China in a softish landing due to loss socialization. But if you read my daily analysis, it is full of worry and in-depth coverage of downside risks. For some of you, it can be confusing. You’re saying to yourself, “I thought you were upbeat about this.”

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Risk for Greece and European periphery from Ukraine crisis escalation mounts

Risk for Greece and European periphery from Ukraine crisis escalation mounts

The big news in the markets today is the standoff in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian armed rebels and the Ukrainian military. This has European markets selling off. The potential for problems in eastern Ukraine is something we should have seen as a possibility given the motives in the Texas annexation I outlined as a comparative case. Given that analysis, I still believe the question now is more about how Ukraine responds in eastern Ukraine than how Russia, Europe, NATO, or the US respond. It looks like we will get a military response. And as such, the potential for dramatically increasing tension with Russia is high. The European periphery will be especially vulnerable because of this. In addition, Russia is already moving away from the West as a hedge. Thoughts below

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Economic and market themes: 2014-04-11 – Greece

Economic and market themes: 2014-04-11 – Greece

This week’s theme post will be exclusively about Greece because I think the Greek bond deal is emblematic of trends we see in markets and the real economy. And of course, the big news in the past few days is Greece. Its 5-year government bond deal was over six times oversubscribed, even after a 50% increase in the allotment. The […]

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Economic and market themes: 2014-03-28

Economic and market themes: 2014-03-28

The West has accepted Crimea’s annexation and will likely only increase sanctions if Russia goes further The Ukraine – IMF deal will put the Ukrainian economy through the wringer Russia’s economy is going to tank due to capital flight Brazil’s economy is in jeopardy of recession The US is doing ok but not great as data have improved The Fed’s […]

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The Chinese credit crisis gets messy

The Chinese credit crisis gets messy

No one has denied that China was overdue for a credit shakeout due to the Chinese government’s desire to stem excess credit growth as the economy rebalances. The question has always been about how much of a shakeout Chinese policy makers are willing to accept and how destabilizing the shakeout would get regarding economic growth and employment. We seem to be reaching another level in terms of jitters with bank runs and commodities sector bankruptcies. Some thoughts below

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Policy-induced market overvaluation is building, will end badly

Policy-induced market overvaluation is building, will end badly

It is now patently clear that US equity and corporate bond markets are overvalued. Much of the overvaluation has to do with low discount rates and the risk-on signal easy Fed policy has sent investors for over five years. Yet again, signs of weakness like falling profit growth are mounting. But the Fed is tightening as opposed to adding more stimulus as in prior lapses during this economic cycle. Therefore, a sharp market downturn at this cycle trough is increasingly likely.

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Economic and market themes: 2014-03-21

Economic and market themes: 2014-03-21

Sanctions because of the Crimean crisis have had less economic impact than private portfolio preference shifts. However, as Ukraine moves into the EU sphere, further actions against Ukraine could be more far-reaching. China has moved toward stimulus to avoid a hard landing Signs are abundant that risk assets are overpriced and that de-risking is in order Wage and job growth […]

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The move from QE to forward guidance has always been about normalizing policy

The move from QE to forward guidance has always been about normalizing policy

So finally we get to see what the Yellen Fed is all about. And it is not as dovish as people thought it would be.While the noises Yellen made concerning the jobs market came across as dovish, behind the scenes a more hawkish tone has developed at the Fed. The fact is the move from QE to forward guidance has always been about normalizing policy – and that is tightening. The Fed has been telling us this for a year now. But only now are people understanding it means hikes are coming sooner than later.

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Using Croatia as an analogy for Crimea

Using Croatia as an analogy for Crimea

Yesterday, I laid out what the annexation of Texas in 1845 might say about Vladimir Putin’s motives in Crimea. My conclusion, however, was that, whatever Putin’s motives, the Texas annexation tells us military confrontation was not to be discounted as an outcome of the Crimean crisis. Looking a little closer into the past, let’s look at what the disintegration of Yugoslavia can tell us. I believe the chief lesson will be that recognition of seceding republics moves the world from branches in a decision tree with limited nodes to branches with many more decision nodes, creating many opportunities for policy error.

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Using the Texas annexation of 1845 to think about Putins’s motives

Using the Texas annexation of 1845 to think about Putins’s motives

In 1845, the United States annexed the Republic of Texas, a breakaway territory from the Republic of Mexico. This annexation created great hostility between the US and Mexico, leading to the Mexican-American war in 1846. The events are 170 years ago, so they aren’t relevant from a precedent perspective. But the broader circumstances are similar enough that the Texas annexation […]

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