“Helicopter money” – reality bites

Commentary by Mr Claudio Borio, Head of the Monetary and Economic Department of the Bank for International Settlements, and Mr Piti Disyatat, Executive Director of the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, Bank of Thailand, in Nikkei Asian Review, published on 4 September 2016. Since the Great Financial Crisis, central banks in the major economies have…

Read More

The post “Helicopter money” – reality bites appeared first on The Big Picture.

Davos Chief Schwab: Trump & WEF’s Relevance

World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab discusses U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the organization’s business model during an interview with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker in advance of the forum’s 47th annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. Davos Chief Schwab Weighs In on Trump and WEF’s Relevance Source: Bloomberg

The post Davos Chief Schwab: Trump & WEF’s Relevance appeared first on The Big Picture.

Main Street bulls vs. Washington bears

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 Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. Past trading of the trading model has shown turnover rates of about 200% per month.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Risk-on*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers will also receive email notices of any changes in my trading portfolio.


Bifurcated opinions
Opinions are starting to split badly on the market and the economy. Main Street has become more upbeat on the economic outlook. The NFIB small business survey showed that optimism surged in December, though Renaissance Macro pointed out that optimism has not translated yet into a significant upswing in sales growth.


The preliminary January report of UMich consumer confidence shows that it is elevated, though opinions are reportedly split along political lines:
The post-election surge in optimism was accompanied by an unprecedented degree of both positive and negative concerns about the incoming administration spontaneously mentioned when asked about economic news. The importance of government policies and partisanship has sharply risen over the past half century. From 1960 to 2000, the combined average of positive and negative references to government policies was just 6%; during the past six years, this proportion averaged 20%, and rose to new peaks in early January, with positive and negative references totaling 44%.
Chart via Calculated Risk:


By contrast, I am seeing signs of doubt from political circles that Trump will be successful with his pro-growth agenda, even among Republicans. Traditional approaches to sentiment analysis states that the public tends to be slow. When the public finally latches onto an economic theme, it is indicative of a contrarian top (or bottom). On the other hand, the improvement in business and consumer confidence can be signals of broad based economic strength.

So who is right? Main Street, or Washington?


The stakes are high
Here is what's at stake for equity investors. As we enter earnings season, Factset shows that forward EPS continues to rise, which is indicative of Street expectations of broad based cyclical strength.



However, broad based cyclical upturn can only get you so far. This Factset chart also shows that forward P/E ratio is elevated and expensive compared to its own history. Current forward P/E is based on bottom-up derived earnings based only analyst expectations of economic conditions without the Trump fiscal plan. That's because you can't make estimates when you don't have the details of the proposals. A top-down analysis suggests that the Trump tax cuts could add roughly 10% to forward earnings, which would bring down the forward P/E ratio to more reasonable levels (annotations are mine).


To rephrase my previous question: Who is right about the expectations for the Trump tax cuts? Main Street or Washington?

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Good news, bad news from December Jobs Report

I had been meaning to write about the December Jobs Report, which was released last Friday, but I hadn't gotten around to it. The report had elements of both good news and bad news.

The good news is the December report showed a solid market. True, the headline Non-Farm Payroll figure missed market expectations, but November was revised upwards, and the positive revision in November was bigger than the December miss.



In conjunction with the December Jobs Report, the Council of Economic Advisers released a report indicating that the American economy had added more jobs than other advanced economies in the last eight years (via Business Insider).


Notwithstanding the political victory lap nature of the CEA`s report, the December Jobs Report should keep the Fed on track with its expectations of three rate hikes in 2017.

Here is the bad news. There are worrisome signs that the economy is starting to overheat. The combination of Fed actions on interest rates and wage pressures on operating margins are likely to be unfriendly to the stock market. Unless the Trump administration comes through on their promised tax cuts in the near future, upside for equity prices will be limited in 2017.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

How Trump/Navarro could spark a market crash

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 Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"

My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. Past trading of the trading model has shown turnover rates of about 200% per month.


The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Risk-on*
  • Trading model: Bearish (downgrade)*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers will also receive email notices of any changes in my trading portfolio.


How the market could crash
At the end of 2016, WSJ reporter Greg Zuckerman made a tweet with ominous implications. Hmm...what happened in 1929?


Here is how a market crash can happen. Donald Trump's appointment of Peter Navarro, the author of Death by China, represents the biggest source of policy tail-risk for the capital markets. Bashing China may be satisfying for Trump supporters, but the Chinese economy is increasingly fragile (see How much 'runway' does China have left?). Impose tariffs on Chinese goods, and you risk a Chinese economic slowdown that drags the world into a synchronized global recession.

While a crash is most definitely not my base case, the scenario of collapsing trade flows from a Chinese hard landing would first tank the Asian economies, followed by Europe, whose banking system are still over-levered and have not fully recovered from the Great Financial Crisis. Under such circumstances, an equity bear market would be a 100% certainty, and a market crash would be within the realm of possibility.

It's hard to estimate the actual probability of a US induced China hard landing scenario. However, we should get better clarity as the Trump team moves into the West Wing of the White House in the coming weeks. In addition, President-Elect Trump may give us some clues on trade when he holds his press conference on Wednesday.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

The puzzle of real median household income

The graph above shows two often-reported series that look at a measure of income adjusted for inflation and population: real median household income and real per capital GDP. They should be similar, but there are quite a few differences. For example, median household income has stagnated for about two decades while per capita GDP has…

Read More

The post The puzzle of real median household income appeared first on The Big Picture.

1 2 3 220