Creative Destruction in 2018 and Beyond
(1) The year of living disruptively. (2) 2017 saw sea changes in how we shop, relax, store energy, and think of money. (3) Winds of change have buffeted sector leadership. (4) Change is the only constant, so expect more of same. (5) Next year’s game- and life-changers: AI, robotics, genetic engineering. (6) May 2018 bring tidings of comfort as innovations make life easier and joy as investment opportunities abound.
Good Morning, Vietnam
(1) Southeast Asia family vacation. (2) First stop: Hanoi. (3) Mopeds are like fireflies in this city. (4) Government determined to rev up economy. (5) Enticing foreign investors with beer. (6) Next stop: Thailand, where a gift sometimes isn’t. (7) The investment equivalent of a white elephant.
Corporate Finance 101
(1) Nonfinancial corporations have record cash flow. (2) Q3 could be third quarter of 3% growth in real GDP. (3) Depreciation expense is a great tax shelter. (4) NFCs’ effective tax rate has been around 21% for a while. (5) No dearth of capital spending. (6) Lots of bond issuance, buybacks, and dividends. (7) More taxing matters. (8) Movie review: “Darkest Hour” (+ +).
Financials Are Catching Up
(1) The first digital tulip bubble. (2) Cornering the market. (3) Bitcoin vs. the banks. (4) Financials getting inflows, deals, and less regulation. (5) Wall Street returning to the business of trading. (6) Flatter yield curve. (7) Earnings optimism. (8) The Dark Web is very dark.
Go With the Flows
(1) From global energy-led rolling recession in 2015 to recovery in 2016, and boom in 2017-2018 (?). (2) Global manufacturing PMIs are running hot. (3) China’s exports and imports are back to record highs. (4) Citigroup Economic Surprise Index is highly elevated in the US. (5) Odd downward revision in GDPNow. (6) OECD leading indicators led higher by Germany and Brazil. (7) Americans collectively have never been richer as stock prices soar and home values rebound. (8) The Buffett Ratio is back to its previous record high.
(1) Puzzling over a big divergence on corporate taxes. (2) Thanks to QE programs, Fed’s profits soared along with its balance sheet. (3) Fed’s profits included in NIPA measure of corporate taxes, not in IRS tabulation. (4) NIPA also includes corporate taxes paid to other taxing authorities besides the IRS. (5) IRS data suggest corporate federal tax rate well below 20%. (6) Work in progress. (7) S&P 500 tax data suggest big corporations aren’t free-loading on the tax system as much as widely believed.
(1) What goes up attracts more buyers. (2) Is it a meltup if earnings are rising along with prices? (3) Flow-of-funds analysis showing lots of money pouring into stocks. (4) Equity ETF inflows at record high over past 12 months through October. (5) Lots of money pouring into mutual funds and ETFs that invest globally. (6) Revenue and earnings squiggles are upbeat. (7) Two obvious risks to the good times. (8) Labor market is tight, yet wages remain subdued. (9) Movie review: “Lady Bird” (+ +).
Tech Fender Bender
(1) Odd number. (2) The day the music died. (3) Tech gets hit on tax bill, net neutrality, and attack by old guard. (4) Taxing intellectual property. (5) Tax reform could increase taxes for tech companies. (6) FCC set to vote against net neutrality. (7) Tech still delivering good earnings growth. (8) No sign of geopolitical risk in S. Korea’s Kospi. (9) S. Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan all booming along with global demand for semiconductors.
World Equities & QE
(1) They didn’t read the memo. (2) Combined assets of Fed, ECB, & BOJ flattening. (3) The Fed taking baby steps to shrink balance sheet. (4) ECB scheduled to cut monthly asset purchases in half next year. (5) BOJ’s stealth tapering underway? (6) PBOC is back in the easing game. (7) S&P 500 forward earnings remarkably strong, outpacing lots of strengthening global economic indicators. (8) Bottom line: Global economic outlook remains upbeat.
(1) Lots of GDP producing lots of profit. (2) Book profits at record high. (3) Dividends flat at record high. (4) Retained earnings recovering from energy-led profits recession. (5) Corporate cash flow at record high along with tax-based depreciation. (6) High profit margins. (7) Bottom line: Looking up. (8) Proprietor’s income is 60% the size of corporate profits.
(1) Flynn, the Flim-Flam Man. (2) Another impeachment panic attack? (3) Bad news tends to be ignored during meltups. (4) Focusing on S&P 500’s tax rate. (5) A drop from an effective tax rate of 25% to a statutory rate of 20% would add an estimated $6 a share in 2018. (6) Targeting S&P 500 to hit 2800 by mid-2018 and 3100 by end 2018. (7) S&P 500 forward revenues and earnings making new highs. (8) OECD tax data for 2016 show corporate tax burden relatively light. (9) OECD: Americans paying relatively high property taxes, low sales and social security taxes.
Taxing & Shopping Matters
(1) Theories, urban legends, opinions, fake news, and facts. (2) Is the corporate tax rate currently 35%, 21%, or 13%? (3) Corporate tax reform may be about eliminating foreign tax dodges rather than cutting taxes. (4) ‘Tis the season for retailers. (5) Thor Industries makes RVs that are selling like hotcakes, confirming strong consumer trends. (6) 2018 is coming: Another double-digit year for earnings?
(1) Full throttle, pedal to the metal, and escape velocity. (2) Truck tonnage index at record high. (3) Intramodal railcar loadings at record high. (4) Home shopping may be boosting truck traffic. (5) Animal spirits remain highly spirited. (6) Consumer optimism survey suggests jobless rate could soon fall below 4.0%! (7) Regional business surveys are upbeat. (8) Outlook for new orders looking good. (9) German business index hits a new high, which is bullish for German stocks. (10) Movie review: “Three Billboards” (+).
Electric Lights-Out Orchestra
(1) Cordless devices need cords for docking stations. (2) GE and Siemens generating less interest for their large turbines. (3) GE blames renewables. (4) Power is getting decentralized in the electric power business. (5) Less demand for coal-fired plants in China and India. (6) Emerging economies emerging into services. (7) Electric cars could juice up electricity demand, met by more solar panels. (8) Cobots are more human-friendly than robots. (9) Last one to leave the factory floor gets to shut the lights off forever.
(1) Looking for froth. (2) Breadth indicators showing broad-based advance. (3) Analysts turning even more bullish on S&P 500 revenues, and see double-digit earnings growth this year and next two years. (4) Revenues and earnings are flying for the high-flying Magnificent 10 of the S&P 500. (5) Six Republican senators are on the fence. Trump needs four of them to pass tax reform. (6) What do the six fence sitters want?
(1) Thanks to family, friends, and others. (2) Next stop for S&P 500: 4 x 666, then 5 x 666. (3) Second best bull market since 1928. (4) Raising S&P 500 target for mid-2018 to 2700-2800. (5) Tax cuts could trigger meltup. (6) Oh no! FY 2017 federal deficit was $666 billion. (7) Federal government outlays at record high, led by spending on redistributing income. (8) Tax receipts flatten despite strong payroll tax receipts. (9) Actual corporate tax receipts suggest even lower effective tax rate. (10) Leading indicators pointing higher for economy.
(1) Trick question: Who creates jobs, politicians or employers? (2) Businesses doing well despite Washington. (3) Cutting the government-imposed costs of doing business is a good thing. (4) For small business owners, government regulations are less of a problem than finding workers. (5) Small and medium companies hire more workers than large ones. (6) Just in time for the holidays: Cornucopia of good revenues and earnings. (7) Record-high forward revenues and earnings are bullish. (8) Profit margin remains at record high. (9) Q3 earnings would have been better but for the hurricanes.
Looking a Lot Like Xmas
(1) Three in a row 3% real GDP. (2) Is the New Normal morphing into the Old Normal? (3) Lots of freight getting hauled on the rails and the roads. (4) Business sales growth is just dandy. (5) Buying retailers on the bad news. (6) Consumers: Solid incomes and manageable debt. (7) Home improvement spending is very strong. (8) Old-fashioned retailers are cheap for a reason. (9) Tesla, solar panels, and batteries electrifying Australia and Puerto Rico.
Sausage for the Holidays?
(1) Senate Republicans complicate tax reform. (2) Sausage or humbug for Christmas? (3) Repatriated earnings with no strings attached? (4) The polar opposite of the fiscal cliff, or not? (5) A very recent history of tax reform. (6) What’s the difference? House and Senate plans not that far apart before Obamacare hit the fan, again. (7) SALT vs. SALT-lite. (8) Rules for policy wonks. (10) The net result with or without tax reform will be bigger federal budget deficits and more debt.
(1) In 2017, oil is up, while raw industrials are flat. (2) Oil price tends to have a lot of geopolitical noise. (3) YRI Global Growth Barometer going strong. (4) Remember the Baltic Dry Index? It is up sharply since early last year. (5) Dr. Copper is signaling that all is well. (6) Oil price up despite rebound in US output as inventories drop. (7) Relative performance: S&P 500 Materials & Energy lagging commodity prices. (8) Global industrial production at record high. (9) Emerging markets are emerging.
(1) It’s beginning to look a lot like Xmas. (2) Santa Claus meltup? (3) Will Republicans deliver honey cake or humbug for the holidays? (4) Solid earnings and global fundamentals driving stock prices up more than expectations of tax cuts. (5) The bulls are all coming home for the holidays. (6) Nothing to fear but unrealistically high LTEG. (7) As P/E goes up, PEG comes down. (8) Gift wrap up some equity ETFs with foreign exposure to give to your loved ones. (9) Movie review: “LBJ” (+ + +).
Chips & Chile
(1) No more drivers in Waymo’s cars. (2) Autos will be using more chips, less gasoline. (3) Soaring semiconductor sales and stock prices. (4) Chips are still relatively cheap! (5) Lots of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships in dynamic semiconductor industry. (6) Media industry is a fast-moving picture. (7) Chile has what self-driving electric cars need: copper and lithium. (8) Mexico may underperform until NAFTA issues with Trump administration are resolved.
(1) Lots of good explanations for secular stagnation. (2) Lots of good explanations for emerging global boom. (3) Looks like Rogoff was right, while Summers was wrong, about secular stagnation. (4) Time does heal lots of wounds. (5) Global M-PMIs strong. (6) German factory orders and Eurozone retail sales at record highs. (7) Forward revenues confirming strong global growth. (8) Global stock markets running with the bulls.
Animal Spirits Revisited
(1) The disconnect between soft and hard data is gone. (2) Boom ahead? (3) Nirvana scenario could set stage for Meltup scenario. (4) Q1-2018 could test boom hypothesis. (5) Surprise Index makes a not-so-surprising comeback. (6) More buying and less renting of homes. (7) Unemployment rates confirm tight labor market. (8) CEOs remain upbeat, and it shows in capital spending. (9) Transportation indicators are booming. (10) Business surveys are hot. (11) S&P 500 forward earnings making weekly record highs. (12) Are there too many bulls?
TGI . . . TCJA?
(1) Radical overhaul. (2) Now the hard part. (3) The losers are mostly wealthy individuals with big bills for SALT including property taxes. (4) A stealth 46% tax rate. (5) Mass migration from SALT to SALT-free states. (6) A boon for SmallCaps. (7) Budget resolution for the Byrd. (8) Trump’s tax reform mostly bullish for business and stocks. (9) Reagan’s tax reform mostly benefited individuals. (10) Movie review: “The Florida Project” (+ +).
High on Lithium & Paint
(1) Materials: The comeback sector. (2) Basic Materials industries are unimpressive. (3) It’s all chemicals and paints. (4) Lithium is no laughing matter. (5) OPEC’s surprising compliance boosts Energy sector. (6) The price is right for US frackers. (7) US motorists driving more on less gas. (8) Bitcoin makes less sense than tulip bulbs. (9) More fake news?
AC vs DC
(1) Alternating vs direct currents in DC and in earnings. (2) Jolt from DC. (3) Trick or treat? (4) Instant gratification vs phasing in tax reform. (5) Rubbing SALT: Raising taxes to cut taxes. (6) Will growth pay for tax cut? No money-back guarantee. (7) Forward revenues and earnings remain charged up. (8) Consumers are happy because jobs are plentiful and wages are rising faster than prices.
Is Everybody Happy?
(1) Remembering Ted Lewis’ catchphrases. (2) Consumer confidence highest since 2004. (3) Five Fed district business surveys pointing higher. (4) Eurozone confidence index points to faster real GDP growth. (5) Flash M-PMIs are hot. (6) Go Global beating Stay Home. (7) In perfect harmony. (8) Real hourly wage at record high. (9) Proprietors’ income is strong, and as important as corporate profits to jobs growth. (10) Comprehensive measures of standard of living have been rising to record highs for quite some time.
Everything’s Just Rosy
(1) Everything is just swell too. (2) Cyclicals confirming global boom with performance and earnings growth. (3) An earnings-led meltup isn’t a meltup. It’s a bull market. (4) Capital spending rises to record high. (5) Spending on manufacturing structures is weak, but industrial equipment spending is at a record high. (6) Spending on IT equipment and software continues to soar into record-high territory. (7) Caterpillar operating on all cylinders, while Union Pacific is chugging along, and GE is sputtering. (8) Movie review: “The Foreigner” (+ +).
(1) P&G not sure why sales are weak. (2) Bringing up fewer babies. (3) Fewer diapers and less shampoo. (4) Pulp nonfiction. (5) Abe wants Japanese to have more babies. (6) Abe also wants to beef up military. (7) Another sales tax hike is on the way. (8) Better Japanese GDP growth led by exports. (9) Inflation remains MIA. (10) In Japan, 75 is the new 65. (11) Will daycare revive Japan?
(1) Where have all the black swans gone? (2) Trump’s white swan. (3) Hurricanes depressed Q3 results. (4) Q4 earnings estimates showing double-digit growth. (5) Analysts upbeat about 2018 and 2019 revenues and earnings. (6) On the lookout for gray swans. (7) Reprise of 1987? (8) Fed regime change. (9) When all QEs terminate, will stocks fall? (10) Black swans sighted in the South China Sea.
Halloween Is Coming
(1) Gee, the year is almost over! (2) September and October haven’t been scary this year. (3) Will Republicans deliver tricks or treats? (4) Nothing to fear but nothing from the Republicans on tax reform. (5) Market says: The correct question is “What if tax reforms happens?” (6) The way is cleared for the bulls. (7) Best tax code money can buy. (8) Supply-siders offer self-financing tax cuts. (9) Ratio of federal government revenues to GDP is very procyclical in a flat trend. (10) Government spending relative to GDP is countercyclical, with an upward bias since the Great Society entitlements extravaganza. (11) Two Fed districts are really hot this month.
From Seinfeld to Sinatra
(1) The last stock market correction until the next one. (2) Seinfeld market goes from flat (nothing happening) to new highs on nothing bad happening. (3) Investors to bull: Fly us to the moon. (4) Four times more bulls than bears. (5) S&P 500 sectors: Widespread bull market momentum in 200-dmas. (6) Leading the charge this year are IT, Industrials, Financials, and Materials. (7) Fed head tossup: winning whether it’s heads or tails. (8) Republicans scrambling to get tax reform done. (9) American demographics: The Fifties are so over. (10) Movie review: “Blade Runner” (+).
Path of Least Resistance
(1) Climb every mountain. (2) Stock prices rising day after day as forward earnings rises week after week. (3) Drug prices are too d%$!m high, but CPI drug inflation rate has come down a lot. (4) Public health concern. (5) FDA approving drugs at faster pace. (6) Amazon’s Rx. (7) Government struggling to manage health care.
Yellen Sees Rational Exuberance
(1) Group of 30 gabfest. (2) Yellen says valuations are normal in New Normal. (3) Yellen channeling Greenspan on valuation question. (4) Back to the ’90s: Long-term expected earnings growth estimates going up again led by Tech. (5) Trump’s election seems to have boosted LTEG on expectations of deregulation and tax cuts. (6) Meet John Taylor, who might be next Fed chair. (7) Taylor says rules beat discretion, which is prone to chaos. (8) Rules may not rule without some discretion if Taylor rules. (9) For Fed watchers: Anybody but Taylor, please!
(1) Global monetary conditions remain bullish. (2) Forward consensus expected revenues growth rates up from a year ago. (3) China is world’s biggest debt abuser. (4) China’s “social financing” at record high, led by bank loans and supplemented with lots of shadowy money. (5) China’s M2 growing fast too. (6) Ben Bernanke has some advice for the Fed. (7) What if central banks really don’t control inflation at all? (8) Then their efforts to boost it will fail, and they will inflate asset prices trying to do so.
(1) Global economy lifting all boats. (2) Consensus earnings expectations rising around the world. (3) Another happy canary chirping in Malaysia. (4) China’s imports and exports showing solid y/y gains. (5) US retail sales and CPI lift GDPNow to 2.7% for Q3. (6) Fed officials obsessed with solving the “lowflation” puzzle. (7) Fed’s doves cooing more loudly. (8) True confession by ex-Fed governor: Inflation model is broken. (9) Bernanke calls on Fed to overshoot inflation target. (10) Brainard voices by-the-way concerns about asset price melt-ups. (11) Melissa explains central bank backed cryptocurrencies. (12) Get ready for bitdollars.
2018 Is Coming
(1) Q3 earnings cut by hurricanes and by analysts doing what comes naturally. (2) Industry analysts expecting solid revenues growth in 2018, with higher profit margins also boosting earnings. (3) Catalonians want to secede from Spain. (4) Companies ready to say adios. (5) Spanish economic indicators are muy bueno across the board. (6) Spanish stocks remain relatively cheap despite separatist issue.
Blue Skies for Blue Angels
(1) Is low unemployment bad for stock returns? (2) An eternal disclaimer. (3) Might booming labor market with low inflation remain bullish for stocks? (4) Guess what? Unemployment always bottoms before recessions and bear markets. (5) MAPE showing stocks still fairly valued. (6) Nirvana continues for now. (7) Blue Angels flying into the wild blue yonder.
On a Winning Streak
(1) Germany and South Korea chirping a happy song. (2) South Korean exports soaring. (3) German new orders at record high. (4) Five reasons why the global economy is booming. (5) German domestic orders for consumer goods confirming that mass migration is boosting growth. (6) Go Global beating Stay Home in dollars more than in local currencies. (7) Will winning streak last for Emerging Markets?
FOMO & MAMU
(1) Deep in the heart of Texas. (2) From fiscal cliff to anxiety fatigue. (3) Nothing to fear but nothing to fear. (4) Mother of All Melt-Ups if Fear Of Missing Out takes hold. (5) It’s still Nirvana now, but raising odds of Melt-Up then Meltdown scenarios. (6) Templeton’s four seasons of a bull market. (7) No corrections during fourth (euphoria) phase so far. (8) Extreme greed readings. (9) Are SmallCaps frothy?
Gushing Over Global Growth
(1) Five reasons why global growth is so good. (2) Global Growth Barometer has a sunny disposition. (3) On the margin, global oil demand is rising a bit faster than supplies. (4) Three geopolitical hot spots for oil. (5) US frackers should be ordering more rigs soon. (6) Electric cars are heading our way. (7) Lots of big gains underneath surface of this year’s bull market. (8) Aerospace & Defense flying too high?
Oct 04, 2017
Taxing Tax Reform
(1) Crib sheet for unwritten plan. (2) Campaign promises vs. White House “framework.” (3) Hit to revenues offset by implicit elimination of state & local tax deduction. (4) There’s a new fourth tax rate to keep tax reform progressive. (5) Pass-throughs should still get a big windfall. (6) Corporate tax rate: 15% has been raised to non-negotiable 20%. (7) Mnuchin says it will pay for itself. (8) Repatriation story just got more complicated. (9) Border tax is dead.
Thanks a Trillion!
(1) Several explanations for why the global economy is doing so well. (2) Central bankers remain on easing streak. (3) Benefit of lower oil prices flowing through now. (4) Immigration usually boosts growth. (5) Big positive wealth effect from global bull market in stocks. (6) Trillions here and there adding up to serious money. (7) Happy canaries in S. Korean coal mines. (8) Eurozone economic sentiment auguring better growth. (9) US M-PMI and key components all above 60.0. (10) Forward revenues and earnings rebounding smartly overseas.
Thanks a Million!
(1) While Buffett’s ratio is sounding the alarm, Buffett is sounding bullish. (2) Shorting America has been a loser’s game. (3) We can all be millionaires in 100 years. (4) CAGR is the 8th wonder of the world, though less so after inflation. (5) Adjusted for inflation, DJIA provides 3% CAGR, a bit less than S&P 500’s real earnings yield. (6) Beware the front-cover curse. (7) Trump’s tax plan revives animal spirits in the stock market, especially among SmallCaps. (8) Hard to find devils in Trump plan without any details. (9) Both fundamentals and technicals are bullish for stocks. (10) Movie review: “American Made” (+ + +).
(1) Remember risk-off/risk-on? (2) Follow the changing leaders. (3) Vertical integration creating more competition in semiconductor space. (4) Everybody wants to make designer chips. (5) GPUs for AR, VR, and AI. (6) Law of supply and demand pushing up some wages. (7) Fresh air in Beijing during mid-October. (8) China’s strong man will get five more years in office, guaranteed. (9) China’s economy continues to roll along thanks to lots of debt, which might be restructured into equities.
Keep On Trucking
(1) The Fed cops. (2) What’s the speed limit? (3) The 2% stall speed is the cruising speed. (4) Private-sector GDP cruising along at 3%. (5) Productivity and working-age population cruising at crawl speed. (6) Underwhelming potential. (7) Truck traffic is barreling down the highway. (8) West Coast ports reporting record activity. (9) Intermodel railcar loadings chugging along. (10) Railcar loadings of motor vehicles continue to weaken. (11) The eternal chancellor wins again. Now what?
Inflation Mystery Solved
(1) Janet in Wonderland. (2) There’s no Phillips curve on the other side of the looking glass. (3) BIS chief economist Claudio Borio’s speech affirms my 40 years of work on disinflation. (4) Fed’s top economist says that inflation is a mystery. (5) Borio tells central bankers to stop targeting inflation. (6) Inflation isn’t just a monetary phenomenon. (7) Real forces related to globalization, technology, and demography can drive inflation too. (8) Global slack matters. (9) Technology disrupts pricing power. (10) What if the neutral real interest rate does not exist? (11) Dog barking at a mirror. (12) Bottom line: Raise interest rates to stop borrowing binges, stock market melt-ups, and a debt trap.
Bulls Flying With Doves
(1) Hyperbole for our times. (2) A bull for all seasons. (3) Serious money. (4) Slicing and dicing valuation some more. (5) Stocks overvalued based on ratios of market cap to GNP and to sales. (6) Stocks fairly valued based on inflation-adjusted earnings yields using S&P and NIPA data. (7) Tobin’s q isn’t bearish so far. (8) Yellen’s fashion statement. (9) Yellen lets it slip: She is (probably) leaving. (10) Fed on course of gradual monetary normalization with or without Yellen. (11) Movie review: “Viceroy’s House” (+ + +).
Chips & Bricks
(1) Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. (2) Semi whisper. (3) There’s a GPU for that. (4) Nvidia is winning the games. (5) The brain behind AI. (6) The chip behind the wheel. (7) Beyond beds, baths, and toys. (7) Do you want a side of mortar with that online order?
A Trillion Here, A Trillion There
(1) Dirksen’s “real money” was in billions. Now it’s trillions. (2) Policy-making trillionaires remain bullish for asset prices. (3) Less bang per buck, euro, yen, and yuan. (4) China’s monetary extravaganza. (5) US government redistributing lots of money. (6) Three central bank amigos on major liquidity binge. (7) Stocks on central bank high. (8) Bye-bye, buybacks? (9) The corporate finance buyback model favors more buybacks. (10) Bond borrowing binge continues. (11) More upside for stock valuations based on corporate bond yield.
On the Margins
(1) Contrary to the bearish script. (2) Still waiting for the first part of the boom-bust cycle. (3) S&P 500 profit margin at record high. (4) NIPA profit margin is down, but a long way from reverting to the mean. (5) The Trauma of 2008 explains a lot. (6) Containing costs remains a top priority. (7) Disruptive technologies posing existential threats. (8) Forward profit margins of S&P 500 and its 11 sectors all exceed S&P 400/600 comparable series. (9) It’s good to be big. (10). It’s good to have a global business.
Stocks Not Too Hot
(1) Valuation question hanging over the bull. (2) Taking sides with and against Goldilocks. (3) CAPE fear: Prof. Shiller alarms, while Prof. Siegel assures. (4) Rule of 20 and the Misery-Adjusted P/E. (5) The S&P 500 real earnings yield shows stocks are fairly valued. (6) Census Bureau updates its senseless measure of household income. (7) It was up a lot during 2015 and 2016, but is only just above 2000 level. (8) More nonfamily households (who earn less than families) exaggerating income stagnation and inequality. (9) Real consumption per household shows significant increase in standard of living.
What Is Real?
(1) Reality: There’s an app for that. (2) From X to AR. (3) Anemojis are coming to get you. (4) The Big Apple’s market cap. (5) Hurricanes and bond yields clobber Financials, though asset managers are still standing. (6) Temer-ity is on the loose in Brazil. (7) Brazil’s corrupt government spreads the wealth. (8) Brazil’s recession is over. (9) Mexico’s fiesta is still going on.
Another Seinfeld Episode
(1) Less panic-prone bull. (2) Seinfeld stock market happiest when nothing happens. (3) Fundamental Stock Market Indicator remains bullish. (4) S&P 500/400/600 forward revenues moving forward to new highs. (5) JOLTS reports record number of job openings, matching number of unemployed workers. (6) More job quitters confirm tight labor market. (7) So why aren’t wages rising faster? (8) Some quitters, such as Baby Boomers, may be retiring rather than moving to better-paying jobs.
Over There & Over Here
(1) While the Atlantic Ocean is getting warmer, stocks are getting hotter. (2) Venturing abroad. (3) The weak dollar has contributed greatly to outperformance of Go Global vs. Stay Home this year. (4) Boosting global growth: Lower oil prices, European immigration, Chinese bank loans. (5) Industrial production making record highs in Germany. (6) Chinese using more electricity. (7) Global revenues and earnings outlook looks upbeat to industry analysts around the world.
The Jokers Are Wild
(1) Meetings in Chicago and Toronto. (2) Shuffling the deck of cards again. (3) Upping the ante on the Three Deuces scenario. (4) The bond market draws a Joker. (5) The joke on the consensus forecast would be a late-cycle boom. (6) Contrary instincts on high alert. (7) The price of oil should be soaring along with other commodity prices as the dollar sinks, but it isn’t doing so. (8) Stocks are flying in emerging markets. (9) Putting it all together: Noninflationary global boom overseas with slow growth in the US. (10) A winning hand for stocks. (11) The wrath of J.Law and Mother Nature.
(1) Biotechs have been taking good care of investors this year. (2) More FDA approvals help. (3) Drugs are increasingly more specialized, treating fewer people at higher prices. (4) T-cells on speed to the rescue. (5) Drug companies buying drugs. (6) Altering genes. (7) Pharmas lagging Biotechs. (8) Chinese fire drill for cryptocurrencies.
(1) Push comes to shove. (2) How to deal with a pesky saber-rattling brat with nukes. (3) Cruising for a bruising. (4) Two options for getting China to solve the problem. (5) Trade war beats WWIII. (6) Geopolitical crises matter to stocks when they threaten economy. (7) Be ready for trouble. (8) ETFs can grease melt-ups and meltdowns. (9) Equity ETFs still attracting lots of money. (10) Brainard wonders why inflation is disconnected from unemployment. (11) We wonder if she has ever ordered from Amazon. (12) Fed likely to hold off on rate hike.
Back to School
(1) Good summer for stocks and bonds. (2) Explosive domestic political tensions. Boiling geopolitics. (3) US growth on steady course. (4) Capital equipment spending in record territory. (5) M-PMI remains strong despite weak auto sales. (6) Global economic warming attributable to benefits of cheaper oil. (7) Global “oil tax” cut by 50% since mid-2014. (8) Lots of happy numbers in Europe, China, and Japan. (9) Movie review: “Tulip Fever” (- – -).
(1) New age for supermarkets. (2) From King Kullen to Amazon. (3) Clash of the Titans: Sam vs Alexa. (4) Amazon is subduing inflation and frustrating Fed’s inflation target practice. (5) Google teams up with Wal-Mart. (6) Kiosks are the new fast food takeout window. (7) Amazon has the Cloud advantage. (8) India’s manufacturing takes a hit. (9) More bad loans in India. (10) Capital inflows still strong for India.
(1) Space Race. (2) Mail order rockets. (3) Li’l Kim is Rocket Boy. (4) Trump is fighting Kim’s missiles with tariff threats on China. (5) Like Starship Enterprise, S&P 500 flying into uncharted space. (6) Our Fundamental Stock Market Indicator showing plenty of solid rocket fuel. (7) Our Boom-Bust Barometer is going vertical. (8) Consumer confidence indicators justify high P/Es and suggest lower unemployment rate ahead. (9) Despite plentiful jobs, wage inflation remains subdued.
Theatre of the Absurd
(1) Godot was a junkie. (2) If life is meaningless, what’s the point of seeing a play? (3) Lucky was lucky not to have any expectations. (4) Theatre of the Absurd now playing in DC. (5) Existential crisis: Trump’s tax plan doesn’t exist. (6) Untouchables vs dynamic scoring. (7) Medicaid has turned into a big drug dealer. (8) Millennials coming out of their parents’ caves to buy their own caves. (9) Janet Yellen vs Jeff Bezos.
(1) California dreaming. (2) Tuning out Trump, and all the other noise from Washington. (3) Four Deuces scenario would be a winning hand for stocks. (4) If Republicans fail to play their Trump card on tax reform, they could lose the game. (5) The stakes exceed $1 trillion in tax expenditures. (6) Repatriated earnings would raise the ante for a melt-up. (7) Recalling the 1987 game: How a big loss can be followed by a huge win.
(1) Bears shouldn’t take comfort in small-cap underperformance ytd, which may simply reflect valuation correction after Trump bump. (2) Jackie digs deep into the Materials world. (3) Why are metals so strong? (4) Mining companies are digging up profits again.
Out West & Down South
(1) Tooling around La La Land with a Klingon at the wheel. (2) Hollywood shake-up: talent and consumers are kings and queens. (3) Off-the-charts demand for new content sends competition soaring. (4) The next-Netflix wannabes include Apple. (5) Old studio “suits” learn new trick: stream direct to consumers. (6) Netflix and Amazon stocks amply valued for heady growth prospects. (7) Mexico is on a roll, with 16 quarters of GDP growth and stocks up 30% ytd. (8) Let the NAFTA talks begin!
(1) Hemingway on life’s delusions: “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” (2) The hard-nosed bull says: “Ignore the bearish omens.” (3) The Hindenburg Omen is back. Is it bullish or bearish when it coincides with a total solar eclipse? (4) Chart watchers looking for trouble. (5) Eclipses come and go, while the sun always remains hot and bright. (6) S&P 500/400/600 forward earnings suggests Q3 earnings season will be upbeat. (7) Earnings hooks sighted during Q2. (8) Menu options for 2018 earnings depend on tax rate.
(1) Look up in the sky! It’s a total eclipse of the sun! (2) P/Es aren’t totally eclipsing Es. (3) Fed officials talking more about financial stability. (4) Yellen’s swan song? (5) Fed more worried about bubble in bonds than in stocks. (6) Fed officials ponder why Phillips Curve Model isn’t working. (7) Q2 earnings at record high. (8) Q2 profit margin at record high, refusing to revert to its mean. (9) Valuation measures back to record highs. (10) Movie review: “Wind River” (+ +).
Curbed & Unleashed Exuberance
(1) On Target. (2) Shocking carnage. (3) Same old over-stored story. (4) The 800-pound gorilla. (5) Closing for good could be good for retailing. (6) Can Amazon continue to amaze? (7) Bubbles always start tiny. (8) SPACulators: Send us money so we can invest it for you as we see fit. (9) Crypto currencies are hot because they are issued in limited supplies by no shortage of crypto companies.
(1) Consumers are earning money and spending it. (2) Real retail sales are really strong. (3) GDPNow now at 3.7%. (4) Hits & misses: Yellen’s 3%-4% wage inflation target. (5) Comparing AHE, WGT, and ECI measures. (6) Silver Tsunami of retiring Baby Boomers weighing on average wage measures. (7) Keeping track of individuals’ wages.
(1) This bull gets reenergized after it stumbles. (2) On a global basis, the P/E is 16.0, which isn’t extremely high. (3) Global sectors show widespread strength in earnings. (4) Global PMIs signal solid growth. (5) Measures of world exports and production are upbeat. (6) Lots of oompah in German business confidence and retail sales. (7) Usually led by exports, Germany and Japan showing surprising strength in domestic demand. (8) China is growing without fanfare. (9) Puzzle: US income tax receipts weak, despite strong jobs growth. (10) Spotting fewer autos on railcars.
Inflation: Ghost Stories
(1) Hurricane season. (2) More storms than usual. (3) Latest count: 57 panic attacks. (4) Stock market could have a melt-up if a nuclear meltdown is averted. (5) Calendar and numericalogical curses for stocks. (6) The Bay of a Pig Scenario. (7) Latest round of disinflation just temporary or more of the same secular trend? (8) Yellen is still waiting for Phillips to show up. (9) Sticky inflation running around 2.0%. (10) Lots of price indicators. (11) Movie review: “The Big Sick” (+).
Fast & Furious
(1) Pushing and shoving with Lil’ Kim. (2) Two wild and crazy fearless leaders. (3) No fast and furious reaction from the stock market. (4) Real world target practice for THAAD? (5) Reviewing the track record of the misery-adjusted forward P/E. (6) Americans like fixer-uppers almost as much as they like zombies. (7) Life’s sweet for homebuilders. (8) Semiconductors are looking chipper. (9) Hotels are packed, but Marriott says it’s hard to raise room rates.
Four Deuces Scenario
(1) From three deuces to four of them. (2) You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. (3) Misery Index falling along with jobless rate, leaving more room for P/E to rise and remain fairly valued. (4) The long good buy scenario. (5) Record job openings suggests economy at full employment. (6) Small business owners looking for help, but can’t find qualified people. (7) The best or the worst of times? (8) Income stagnation is a big urban legend.
(1) Revenues are looking up. (2) Mid-single-digit growth rates for revenues. (3) Slicing and dicing with and without energy. (4) Employment data suggest stronger growth than wages and salaries. (5) Why isn’t demand side of labor market paying more for workers, while the supply side isn’t demanding more for wages? (6) Global competition keeping a lid on prices, which is keeping a lid on wages. (7) Median wages rising faster than average ones. (8) Real hourly pay at record high resolves one conundrum in the labor market.
Lil’ Kim & Big THAAD
(1) Geopolitical crises tend to be buying opportunities for stock investors. (2) Next stock market crisis more likely to be internal than external. (3) Still rooting for the long good buy. (4) Worrying about a melt-up/meltdown. (5) 1987 all over again? (6) The market has chosen to tune out the swamp people. (7) Fewer negative surprises. (8) US exports set a record. (9) Frackers making America great again. (10) Wage indicators are better than wage income. (11) Taking Lil’ Kim seriously. (12) THAAD says, “Make my day!” (13) Movie review: “Detroit” (+ +).
(1) Tipping point. (2) Raving about Tesla. (3) Big frunk. (4) Tesla’s competitors getting charged up too. (5) Banning diesel. (6) Auto stocks stalling along with sales. (7) Eurozone heating up this summer. (8) Spain firing on all cylinders. (9) Tourists are flooding Iberian Peninsula. (10) Upgrading Portugal. (11) PIIGS can fly!
Call of the Wild
(1) Raising odds of the Melt-Up scenario. (2) A dog named “Buck.” (3) Klondike Gold Rush in stock market. (4) Going feral. (5) Fidelity cutting fees, while Schwab opens lots of accounts. (6) Swamped by another fiscal cliffhanger? (7) M-PMI and weak dollar are bullish for revenues. (8) Can the Fed hit a bullseye on inflation target? (9) Sticky CPI suggests that underlying inflation is higher than shown by PCED.
(1) Sleepless in New Haven. (2) Getting a majority vote. (3) Too many bulls again? (4) Equity ETFs: The new black hole? (5) No need for a sales pitch as bullish ETF investors come charging through the doors. (6) Global equity ETFs on a roll. (7) Much of US stocks’ underperformance is due to the weaker dollar. (8) Fed Vice Chair Fischer on stage with same act on real interest rates. (9) Might rapid technological innovation explain weakness in productivity and capital spending?
(1) Time to reminisce about old times. (2) On the mark. (3) Tom Hanks and Da Vinci. (4) 666: Permutations and combinations of a devilish number. (5) More on the 2-2-2 scenario. (6) Productivity and labor force trends argue for low secular growth. (7) Shooting for 2700 on S&P 500 by mid-2018. (8) Speaking of old times: Will it soon be 1987 all over again? (9) Movie Review: “Atomic Blonde” (+).
(1) Tale of two industrial companies. (2) Purchasing managers are purchasing. (3) Good vibes from the commodity pits and the forex markets for Industrials. (4) Low-octane fuel. (5) Cat is a tiger. (6) Boeing is flying high. (7) Not much drive among auto manufacturers.
(1) Earnings trump worries, including Trump. (2) Nothing to fear but nothing to fear. (3) Stock prices rising along with earnings. (4) Consumer confidence survey confirms that life is good, and the labor market has plenty of job openings. (5) Germany having Oktoberfest in July. (6) Frictional unemployment in the US. (7) Excluding retiring seniors and studying juniors, there isn’t much slack left in US labor market.
Go With the Capital Flows
(1) Dollar moved down as global economy was moving on up. (2) Dollar peaked after Trump won and before latest two Fed rate hikes. (3) Draghi and Kuroda are more dovish than Brainard and Yellen. (4) Our international capital flows proxy turned less bullish for the dollar last year. (5) International reserves holdings by central banks also a good barometer for the dollar. (6) Draghi has done whatever it takes, yet the euro is strengthening again. (7) Are emerging markets less prone to Fed tightening tantrums? (8) Oil and the dollar divergence is unusual.
(1) Porgy, Bess, and all that bullish jazz. (2) Bull to bear: “Hush up, little baby.” (3) Summertime, and the bears are still hibernating. (4) The 2-by-2-by-2 scenario is the consensus. (5) Worry list: Central banks’ balance sheets, reflation, and the swamp. (6) ECB and BOJ not rushing to normalize. (7) S&P 500 Financials stall on flatter yield curve, lack of volatility for trading desks, and lackluster loans. (8) Movie Review: “Dunkirk” (+ + +).
(1) Can you say “goodbye to cash” in Swedish? (2) “Swish,” “zelle,” or “venmo” it to pay by phone. (3) Fewer hold-ups. (4) Cybercriminals cashing in. (5) It’s gloomy in India. (6) Services rain on India’s agricultural parade. (7) India MSCI not cheap. (8) Modi’s motives are questionable. (9) Cow vigilantes. (10) Economy decelerating in India. (11) RBI under pressure to cut rates as inflation plummets.
(1) The Nirvana scenario. (2) Taleb’s birds. (3) Black Swans don’t have to be bad. (4) An industry of bird watchers. (5) Is predicting Black Swan events an oxymoron? (6) There are a few Gray Swans out there. (7) The Grayest Swan is a melt-up. (8) Healthcare reform is sinking in the swamp. (9) Are consumers retrenching or not? (10) A primer on ETFs and their potential contribution to a meltdown.
(1) Stir-frying China’s economic growth with lots of debt. (2) Don’t bet against a billion people. (3) China following Japan down the same road. (4) Chinese economy getting Botoxed as it ages and slows. (5) Premier Xi doing more of the same. (6) Social financing and bank lending at record highs. (7) A bit of good news: Shadow banking doing less of the lending, and capital outflows slowing. (8) Aging is a drag on China. (9) Improving margins.
Bulls Flying with Doves
(1) Brainard: Leading the dovish pack. (2) Melting up with the doves. (3) Dollar matters to the Fed for a change. (4) Flatter Phillips curve. (5) Still undershooting inflation target. (6) Balancing rate hikes with balance-sheet tapering. (7) Brainard and Yellen agree that neutral federal funds rate is in sight. (8) More Fed fairy dust charges up bull again. (9) Swan song. (10) Not surprisingly, Fed favors discretion over rules.
There’s an App for That
(1) Living in 3D. (2) Want to live in a pretzel? (3) Replacing construction workers with printers. (4) 3D buildings going up in Dubai, China, and Mars. (5) Build your fast-drying home in a day. (6) Pain won’t go away for retailers. (7) Pigs selling discounted lipstick. (9) Bezos and Alexa going after the Geek Squad. (10) Shorting malls is easy: There’s an ETF for that. (11) Make Brazil hot again!
Steady Does It
(1) The four seasons. (2) Industry analysts holding onto double-digit S&P 500 earnings growth for 2017 and 2018. (3) Earnings outlook more likely buoyed by improving global economy than by Trump agenda, which is still on the come. (4) Consensus forward revenues and earnings providing bullish guidance. (5) Global PMIs signaling slow, but steady growth. (6) European holiday: lots of festive indicators. (7) French are world-class shoppers. (8) Two drags on growth: labor shortages and subdued wage gains.
Outbound & Inbound
(1) Size matters. (2) Sum of US exports and imports augurs well for global economy and for US factories. (3) The West Coast’s hip ports are hopping. (4) ATA truck tonnage index rose to record in May. (5) Kudlow says Trump has Putin over a barrel. (6) Flying Transportation stocks. (7) Forward revenues and earnings bullish for Transports. (8) Net Earnings Revisions Index increasingly positive for Transports.
More of the Same
(1) No surprises in payroll employment. (2) Wage inflation remains subdued but outpacing price inflation. (3) Earned Income Proxy augurs well for consumer spending. (4) Consumers upbeat, especially about here and now. (5) Despite wild swings in CESI, real GDP growth steady around 2.0%. (6) Boom-Bust Barometer and Weekly Leading Indicator remain bullish for equities. (7) Fed’s Fischer has lots to say, but not much is new. (8) Fed remains on slow but steady normalization course. (9) Movie: “The Beguiled” (- – -).
(1) Lots of bucks per bang. (2) Wickedly awesome IPOs. (3) Biotech returns with healthy returns. (4) More Tech IPOs. (5) Not much energy in Energy. (6) Buybacks drown new issues. (7) Banks pass Fed’s stress test and reward investors with dividend hikes and buybacks. (8) Tech should rebound after some profit taking. (9) World semiconductor sales at record high.
The Third Mandate
(1) Fed officials need our attention. (2) Four rate hikes later, no tightening tantrum. (3) Stock and bond investors responding to Fed with benign neglect. (4) Bond yield, yield curve, and expected inflation all telling Fed “no mas.” (5) Fed should fear that halting rate hikes will send stocks to the moon. (6) Melt-ups are not conducive to financial stability. (7) Williams, Fischer, Yellen all weigh in on the subject. (8) The Fed’s “great unwinding” is winding down the road. (9) Furniture sales on flying carpet.
Puzzling Productivity & Profitability
(1) Oomph and Oompah in Germany. (2) Lots of reasons why productivity should be growing faster. (3) Technology goes from replacing brawn to brain. (4) Is that good or bad for productivity? (5) Amazon Web Services and UBER reducing demand for servers and autos. (6) Record-high profit margin belies productivity funk. (7) Stagnation is a myth: Real pay is growing. (8) Powerful forces keeping a lid on price inflation. (9) Nonfinancial corporations have lots of cash and are spending it on capex, not just buybacks.
A Matter of Some Interest
(1) Republicans want to eliminate interest expensing, while granting 100% capital spending deduction. (2) Tax code favors leveraged balance sheets. (3) Dividends plus buybacks eating up earnings, but plenty of cash flow left for capex. (4) Tax subsidy worth $5.90 per share for S&P 500. (5) Record bond refinancing boosted profits over the past year. (6) Dividend yield valuation model shows stocks cheap relative to bonds. (7) Japan is the poster child for a geriatric society. (8) Japan’s self-extinction by the numbers. (9) From extended families to one Carebot. (10) Basic Universal Income vs. Basic Fertility Income. (11) Make babies for fun and profit.
(1) Meet Les U. Knight, who wishes for less humankind. (2) Birth dearth is depressing labor forces around the world. (3) Fertility tends to be higher on farms than in cities. (4) Crop of kids easier and cheaper to grow outside of city limits. (5) Green Revolution on balance depressed population growth. (6) Malthus got it so wrong. (7) Chinese government’s 2-child policy may be undercut by previous 1-child policy. (8) There is still fertile soil in India and Africa. (9) US leading indicators still bullish on real GDP, which is likely to remain stuck growing around 2.0%. (10) NBx2 again. (11) Movie Review: “My Cousin Rachel” (+).
(1) Opaque oil: Hard to see higher prices. (2) S&P 500 Energy is dead last so far this year. (3) US, Libya, and Nigeria are offsetting OPEC’s production cuts. (4) Tanks and tankers filled to the brim with crude. (5) Saudis give more power to a young sheik. (6) Saudi Vision 2030 plan aims to diversify economy away from oil. (7) Oil weighs less on S&P 500. (8) Saudis selling the family’s jewel. (9) Cheers for S&P 500 Restaurants.
(1) Among the weakest economic expansions, weighed down by both consumer and business spending. (2) The Trauma of 2008 was traumatizing. (3) No boom, no bust: Only 25 months to go to make this the longest expansion. (4) Profits performance remarkably good considering weakness in nominal GDP. (5) Profit margins still aren’t reverting. (6) There is a boom in our Boom-Bust Barometer, which remains bullish for earnings. (7) Forward earnings are flying high in numerous S&P 500 industries.
(1) Dealmakers sinking in the swamp. (2) Animal spirits remain mostly aroused. (3) Back to new normal real GDP growth. (4) Cruising along at 2%. (5) Citigroup Economic Surprise Index fluctuates. (6) Housing starts depressed by fewer DIYs. (7) Not-so-bad retail sales and production indicators. (8) Looking up in NY and Philly districts. (9) Record highs for forward revenues and earnings. (10) It all adds up to our No-Boom-No-Bust scenario, which remains bullish for stocks.
Wonder Men & Women
(1) Warrior women. (2) Jeff Bezos is Amazon Man. (3) A one-man inflation killer. (4) Elon Musk & Orphan Annie: The sun will come out tomorrow. (5) Frackers are freaking out OPEC. (6) Disinflation again. (7) Takeout food. (8) Oil’s slippery price slope. (9) Bonds signaling that inflation is dead in long run. (10) The Fed’s Wonder Woman. (11) Mr. Wonderful. (12) Movie Review: “Wonder Woman” (+ +).
(1) Business sales suggest solid growth for S&P 500 revenues. (2) Inflation-adjusted retail sales showing a Q2 rebound. (3) Atlanta Fed raises Q2 real GDP to 3.2%. (4) Online shopping accounts for record 29.7% of GAFO sales. (5) Health Care getting out of bed. (6) Biotech and Managed Care looking especially fit. (7) Grocery war is heating up fast. (8) Consumers win as consumer staples brands lose.
Small Is Beautiful
(1) S&P 1500 is up $16.7 trillion since start of bull run. (2) Small companies have lots of employees. (3) Might small company hiring explain weak productivity? (4) Profits driving business cycle as profitable companies continue to expand payrolls and capacity. (5) Earnings of S&P 400/600 well outpacing S&P 500 earnings. (6) May survey finds small businesses’ earnings improving on balance. (7) Finding qualified applicants for job openings is a major challenge.
Tech Now & Then
(1) The life and death of bulls. (2) Matadors and recessions. (3) An aging bull that remains frisky. (4) Charge of the bullish brigade. (5) Tech now and in 1999/2000. (6) Beware of sectors with too much market cap. (7) Tech’s valuation and LTEG aren’t excessively high. (8) There’s lots of jalapenos in the salsa dip for chips. (9) Semiconductor forward earnings flying with worldwide sales.
(1) Bullish chowder. (2) Frothy valuations. (3) Swamp sickness. (4) Betting on downsized Trump agenda. (5) Benchmark model pinpoints next recession in March 2019. (6) NBx2 scenario: No Boom, No Bust! (7) Price inflation is keeping a lid on wage inflation. (8) Are bond investors seeing less growth or less inflation or both? (9) Big Three central bank balance sheets remain ultra-easy, on balance. (10) Fed’s priority is probably to raise rates more before reducing balance sheet. (11) Update of quarterly valuation ratios shows mixed picture.
Beware of Fighting Elephants
(1) Proverbial elephants. (2) Clash of the titans: Amazon vs Walmart. (3) Food at home is over $900 billion industry. (4) Prime service for less-than-prime customers. (5) Food stamps for online groceries. (6) Playing ball with a big elephant. (7) Amazon banning CR*P products. (8) Consumer Staples: Paying up for safety. (9) Beer, cigarettes, and drugs.
(1) Running out of warm bodies? (2) Three measures of payrolls. (3) One job open for every jobless worker. (4) One-third of small businesses have jobs they can’t fill. (5) Half of small businesses say no qualified candidates for unfilled positions. (6) Wages should be up 3.0%-4.0% rather than 2.5%. (7) Vehicle miles traveled at record high. (8) Gasoline usage falling recently. (9) Has Trump’s “America First” pitch made America last for tourists?
(1) Animal spirits still mostly animated. (2) Hard data remain soft. (3) Home in the range for the S&P 500. (4) Hannibal’s FAANG elephants leading the bulls to new heights. (5) Adding sentinel animals to the zoo. (6) Go Global beating Stay Home so far this year. (7) Solid global PMIs. (8) Lots of happy canaries in Europe and Asia. (9) Global trade growth picking up. (10) Asian exports also showing signs of life. (11) Forward earnings for major overseas MSCI indexes increasingly upbeat.
(1) Hannibal and his animals. (2) Climb every mountain. (3) Annual meeting of Bahre’s often bearish strategists. (4) Air is getting thin up here. (5) Record net inflows into equity ETFs, while equity mutual funds continue to hemorrhage. (6) White-hot FAANGs. (7) Earned Income Proxy at another record high. (8) Fewer labor force dropouts, a.k.a. NILFs. (9) Baby Boomers were careerists and materialists. Millennials are lifestylists and minimalists. (10) There’s more to life than money. (11) “Get Out” (+).
United Tech, Divided Transports
(1) FAANG and headless headlines. (2) 10 Bennies for 1 Amazon. (3) Amazon is in the wrong aisle. (4) Active managers overweighting FAANG. (5) Tech accounts for a bit more than a fifth of S&P 500 earnings and market-cap shares. (6) Dow Theory remains bullish. (7) Rails are back on fast track. (8) Airlines have lots of passengers they can drag off planes. (9) Trucking industry’s freight tonnage stalled at record high. (10) Truck prices falling.
A Memorable Earnings Season
(1) Seasonal drop, but y/y growth. (2) Forward earnings at record highs. (3) Tax cuts wading through the swamp. (4) Winning streak: Profit margin remains at record high. (5) A traumatic legacy. (6) Resource utilization rate still below previous cyclical peaks. (7) NBx2 scenario: No Boom, No Bust. (8) Double-digit earnings growth for S&P 500 Financials, IT, and Materials. (9) Revenue growth rising along with other measures of economic activity. (10) Aggregate vs per-share growth.
(1) Cruising at a safe speed. (2) Real GDP growth looks nice and steady on y/y basis. (3) GDP growth is higher excluding the government. (4) Steady, Fast, and Crazy Eddies. (5) Larry Summers says he told us so. (6) Demography is weighing on working-age population and labor force growth in US. (7) Age wave analysis shows younger workers growing faster. (8) Japan’s death cross. (9) Global trade indicators showing improving economic activity.
Fueled by Apple Juice
(1) The Great Race to be the Apple of the auto industry. (2) How much metal and rubber are in the code? (3) Ford: Hackett’s job as Fields put out to pasture. (4) Andreesen Pac Man Theory of software. (5) Who will be the Nokia of the auto industry? (6) Can we get Trump to pitch for YRI? (7) The best defense is more weapons for US allies. (8) Disappointing budget for US defense spending. (9) Bitcoin’s fans and fiends.
Global Synchronized Moderate Growth
(1) Wish for better earnings has come true. (2) S&P 1500 rising in record territory. (3) S&P 500 earnings estimates for 2018 high and dry. (4) S&P 500/400/600 all had upside earnings hooks during Q1 reporting season. (5) Altogether now. (6) A world of upbeat PMIs. (7) Real GDP tracking 2% in major economies. (8) Germany’s business confidence is soaring. (9) Aging is a drag on growth. (10) Less secular growth until further notice.
(A) Few Differences This Time?
(1) Not all valuation measures are flashing red. (2) Misery Index near previous cyclical lows. (3) Misery-adjusted forward P/E around its mean. (4) Rule of 20 no longer bullish. (5) Buffett isn’t giving much weight to his ratio. (6) Price-to-sales ratio awfully high. (7) Fed Model says stocks cheap compared to bonds. (8) China’s demography remains bullish for growth. (9) China’s population growth slows. (10) But China’s rural-to-urban migration continues apace.
Where Is This Leading?
(1) The latest panic attack lasted one day. (2) Keeping a diary of anxiety attacks. (3) VIX taking regular doses of Valium to stay calm. (4) Pills for the President. (5) One monthly and two weekly LEIs all at record highs. (6) CEI benchmark model sees next recession starting March 2019. (7) CEI confirming 2% trend growth in real GDP. (8) Resource Utilization Rate and LEI/CEI ratio are bullish for profit margin. (9) Yield curve signaling neither boom nor bust. (10) NY & Philly Fed surveys showing animal spirits remain spirited.
Fall from Grace
(1) Yesterday’s fall. (2) Seeking impeachable offenses. (3) Loose Lips Donald. (4) White House busy playing whack-a-mole all day. (5) Keeping targets for S&P, but swapping 2017 & 2018 for earnings. (6) Adam & Eve & Trump. (7) The Swamp of Eden. (8) Tech has been chosen for great things. (9) Software for the cloud. (10) Chips for the cloud.
Back in the Cage?
(1) Swamps, zoos, and Washington, D.C. (2) City slicker in White House doesn’t know much about swamps. (3) Less mojo in soft data, which are mostly holding onto post-election bounces. (4) Economic Surprise Index showing weaker-than-expected hard data. (5) Key rail and truck gauges have stalled. (6) Business loans rise to record high despite slow pace of growth. (7) Plenty of good news in earnings. (8) Smooth sailing for stocks in the swamp, so far.
(1) Dipping vs. plunging offshore. (2) Go with the flows for now. (3) US fund flows can’t explain US underperformance. (4) Global investors must be bullish on global growth, and betting on it with cheaper foreign stocks. (5) Bullish on a world that can deal with gradual Fed tightening. (6) Overseas forward earnings turning up so far this year. (7) Too many eggs in Emerging Markets MSCI basket? (8) The case for actively managing an EM portfolio. (9) Fragile Five are less fragile now.
Death by Amazon
(1) Dropping anchors. (2) Piranhas like fresh water and red meat. (3) Reading the business obituaries. (4) Eating someone else’s lunch. (5) Amazon expanding C2B and moving into B2B. (6) Media man says Amazon is “ridiculously scary.” (7) Clothes on demand. (8) A deflationary cloud. (9) Death by Amazon is a spreading plague. (10) Bricks-and-mortar getting hammered in stock market. (11) Buffett, saying Amazon hurting IBM, cuts his position by 1/3. (12) Business demand for computers has been flat after AWS opened the cloud. (13) Movie review: “The Dinner” (- -).
On the Road Again
(1) Leaving home. (2) Time for fun. (3) Cruising for dollars. (4) Spending on lasting memories on the high seas. (5) More Asians with wanderlust. (6) The hotels are occupied. (7) Having magical days at the theme parks. (8) More CEOs talking about wage pressures. (9) Labor shortages. (10) Peak plastic? (11) India going from cash to mobile pay. (12) Selfie Pay: Look into my eye.
(1) Ka-ching: Equity ETF inflows at record high. (2) Double-digit gains for S&P 500/400/600 since Election Day. (3) Analysts see double-digit earnings growth in 2017 and 2018. (4) Significant upside hooks during Q1 earnings season. (5) Alpha, beta, and SmallCaps. (6) Buddy, can you spare some time (to work)? (7) Europe is hot, hot, hot. (8) Eurozone’s economic indicators are strong. (9) IMF recommends actively managing EM portfolios, and provides investment guidelines.
(1) Bulls and bears in china shop. (2) China’s credit tightening is #1 concern currently. (3) Chinese stocks mixed. (4) Chinese officials go to war against shadow banking system. (5) Are Wealth Management Products weapons of mass financial destruction? (6) Lots of yuan in grey areas. (7) Don’t trust entrusted investments. (8) Shadow banks account for almost 1/3 of “social financing.” (9) China isn’t as fragile as some fear. (10) Plenty of growth in exports and imports. (11) Capital outflows still a problem.
(1) Bond Vigilantes Model too bearish on nominal GDP. (2) Ignore q/q real GDP. Focus on stronger y/y comps. (3) Variations on a theme: Lower-for-longer growth, no-boom-no-bust, inflation is dead. (4) FOMC says Q1 slowdown was temporary. (5) Welcome to Bali Hai, with ideal weather conditions for investors. (6) Just beware of the dormant volcano. (7) Wage and price inflation remain as calm as the trade winds on a South Pacific island. (8) Earned Income Proxy is smoking. (9) Storm clouds in the commodity pits? (10) Chinese officials pumping the brakes while stepping on accelerator.
Where Credit Is Due
(1) Coffee, tea, or plastic? (2) A flight with no fights. (3) Auto and student loans leading consumer credit to new highs. Revolving credit lagging. (4) Consumer delinquencies rising back to old normal. (5) No signs of trouble in debt-servicing ratio. (6) Dearth of deadbeats. (7) Payments processing is a great business. (8) But beware of the Great Disruptor. (9) Some cracks in commercial real estate’s foundation. (10) Want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge and get a free taxi medallion?
(1) Jerry & George pitch a sitcom about nothing. (2) The Trauma of 2008 may be finally wearing off. (3) Counting anxiety attacks. (4) Fully invested bears are less panic prone. (5) Other than earnings rising, nothing much is happening for stock investors to get excited about one way or the other. (6) In case you missed them: Recent commotions in Greece, China, and Washington were largely ignored. (7) Breadth remains bullish. (8) Are the rich paying their fair share of taxes?
Rolling Recessions & Recoveries
(1) The long good buy. (2) The oil industry’s rolling recession has come and gone. (3) Texas and North Dakota are not the only oil-producing states. (4) Warehouse clubs, super-stores, and online retailers killing department stores. (5) The auto industry may be next on the disassembly line. (6) Another happy hook for another earnings season. (7) Broad-based earnings recovery. (8) Q1 consumer spending disappointing, but household formation is looking better. (9) Increase in households led by owner-occupiers rather than renters. (10) Record-high standard of living for average American household.
(1) Definitive definitions of meltdown and melt-up. (2) The numbers game. (3) Trump’s YUGE tax-cut plan cut from 3½ pages to 1 page. (4) Statutory vs effective corporate rates. (5) In my dreams: 15% tax rate on sole proprietorships. (6) Nervous about sky-high valuations, but even more nervous about missing more gains. (7) Equity ETF bubble continues to inflate. (8) Animal spirits a bit less spirited, but still high given softness in hard data. (9) Stocks’ pep rally led by spirited actual and expected earnings. (10) Movie review: “The Lost City of Z” (- -).
Earnings Boosting Stocks
(1) Nasdaq titans breach 6000. (2) Yet Industrials and Materials are leading April run in S&P 500 so far. (3) Beating expectations and raising guidance. (4) Finding more traction in the slippery oil patch. (5) CAT purring with Asian tigers. (6) Solstice: One of Honeywell’s sweet spots. (7) Are Millennials childish or adultish? (8) The basement suburban legend. (9) Education matters. Having children not so much.
(1) Turing Test. (2) Tech’s latest Great Disruption: From brawn to brain. (3) Robots are easy-going, but will AI make them cranky? (4) AI at YRI. (5) Head in the Cloud. (6) The sinister goal of knowledge workers. (7) IT+R&D spending up from 26% to 44% of capital spending since 1981. (8) Consumers are spending more than business on computers, really. (9) Swamp vs Valley people. (10) The Great Disruptors want to read your mind with a quantum computer, while you are cruising in an electric flying car. (11) When taxing robots, beware of the one called “Spartacus.”
(1) Millennials are different than Baby Boomers. (2) Not rushing to get married. (3) Baby dearth. (4) Turn-ons and turn-offs. (5) Still renting. (6) Our in-house Millennial. (7) Cool experiences. (8) Lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous is so yesterday. (9) Cars are just cars. (10) Habitats for Hobbits. (11) An alternative way to be an adult.
(1) Team tours abroad. (2) Voyager now on Google Earth. (3) France: The more things change, the more they stay the same. (4) Commodity prices still trending higher. (5) High PMIs. (6) French and German shoppers are shopping. (7) Inflation disinflating again? (8) Overseas revenues and earnings growth rates rising. (9) Asian exports data showing widespread strength. (10) IMF raising rather than lowering growth outlook, for a change. (11) Bette Davis assesses the global economy.
Financials: Out of Favor Again?
(1) Bronx cheer. (2) C&I loans and flatter yield curve are turn-offs. (3) Net interest margins expanding. (4) Capital markets issuance boom may explain weakness in business loan demand. (5) No alarms about credit quality, even in auto loans, on bank conference calls. (6) Goldman was an outlier with a miss for a change. (7) S&P 500/400/600 forward revenues and earnings continue to rise in record territory.
Go With the Flows
(1) Fed provides lots of data about capital market flows. (2) Looking at US-based equity mutual funds and ETFs that invest in the US or around the world, we see big inflows to domestic ETFs since election. (3) World equity mutual funds and ETFs (based in US) were less popular last year. (4) Production is yet another weak indicator in auto industry’s soft patch. (5) Truck freight and sales stalled. (6) Economic Surprise Index is down. (7) Washington may have to respond sooner with fiscal stimulus, while the Fed can wait on next rate hike. (8) Chinese economy remains too dependent on government and debt.
The Trump Doctrine
(1) Eye on the prize. (2) Alternative leadership styles. (3) Obama vs. Trump Doctrines. (4) Geopolitics hasn’t shocked this bull market so far. (5) Might stocks stall if Trump puts Foreign Policy First, ahead of America First? (6) Mixing it up in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and North Korea. (7) Running out of strategic patience. (8) Trump has a few kind words for Yellen. (9) Auto industry is main soft patch in US economy. (10) China’s economy is doing a wheely, really.
(1) The headline stories that aren’t on front pages are important too. (2) Now that Fed is tightening, bull market in stocks feeds on earnings. (3) Thursdays are when we contemplate creative destruction throughout the US economy. (4) US economy continues to create more jobs than it destroys. (5) JOLTS and NFIB survey showing lots of unfilled job openings. (6) Apple is disrupting chip industry as it turns to making its own hardware. (7) Google’s TPU is another example of a software company making its own hardware. (8) Will Tesla clobber auto dealers the way Amazon is clobbering malls? (9) Spring is in the air for home prices as demand exceeds supply.
Back to the Future?
(1) Chauncey Gardner’s favorite season. (2) S&P 500 revenues and earnings are growing again. (3) Green shoots. (4) Forward revenues and earnings at record highs for S&P 500/400/600. (5) Industry analysts may be boosting 2018 estimates to reflect impact of Trumponomics. (6) A few downbeat hard-data indicators. (7) Back to slower, but longer growth? (8) Demography and technology did not change on Election Day. (9) The CBO’s estimate for potential real GDP growth at odds with Trump’s MAGA ambitions for economy. (10) Hard to Make America Young Again. (11) Both labor force and productivity growth weighing on economic growth. (12) Earnings remain on growth track for stock market.
DIY Fed Policy
(1) The old normal vs. the new abnormal for Fed policymaking. (2) Monetarism’s brief day in the sun. (3) Normalization now involves reducing an abnormally large balance sheet. (4) Learning-by-doing at the Fed. (5) Dudley and Yellen gang up on Taylor. (6) Taylor worked for Greenspan, then devised a linear equation to replace him. (7) Inflation and output gaps. (8) Atlanta Fed has an app for running monetary policy.
Over There & Over Here
(1) Getting around London town. (2) Fairly relaxed about both Brexit and Trump. (3) Not so relaxed about US stock valuation multiples. (4) Frexit would face a bigger constitutional challenge than did Brexit. (5) EMU looks cheaper than US MSCI now that forward earnings are improving in Eurozone. (6) A sector perspective shows that EMU may not be as cheap as it looks relative to US. (7) Employment still among strongest hard data, except for big job losses among retail stores. (8) Is Trump bringing back factory jobs already? (9) Fed getting ready to unwind balance sheet as securities purchased under QE mature. (10) Another reason to expect gradual rate hikes. (11) Movie Review: “Cézanne et Moi” (+).
The Shark & the Octopus
(1) Tesla worth more than Ford? (2) Elon’s stormy-weather tweet. (3) Tesla cruising along. (4) The auto mechanic will make house calls for electric cars. (5) Low P/Es for clunkers. (6) Amazon recruiting consumer staples companies to sell door to door. (7) Online sales almost 30% of GAFO. (8) Can Amazon improve on home-improvement retailers?
Across the Pond
(1) Worrying about US C&I loans in London. (2) Two significant soft patches in US economy. (3) Toxic fumes from subprime auto loans. (4) Used car prices falling, and so are new car sales. (5) M-PMI is soft data, but it’s upbeat. (6) Fed officials mostly predict two more rate hikes this year, with a couple seeing three. (7) One-and-done may be back on the table for 2017. (8) Fixed-income markets aren’t buying Fed’s hawkish talk.
Europe: Good Fundamentals, Bad Politics
(1) Brexit overdose in London. (2) UK is between the Rock and a hard place. (3) Brexit negotiations will be nasty. (4) Fundamentally, Europe is looking upbeat, according to PMI and ESI. (5) Forward revenues and earnings are also improving. (6) Investors seem to believe that populism is a passing fad in Europe. (7) Dutch treat. (8) French fried. (9) Will there be a Frexit referendum after presidential election? (10) Germans preferring the status quo voted for Mini-Merkel. (11) Italy is still Italy politically, but Italian banking crisis may be getting worse.
The Third Mandate
(1) More fuel for the melt-up. (2) Financial stability is the third mandate. (3) Putting odds on Nirvana, melt-up, or meltdown. (4) The S&P 500’s Price/Sales (a weekly version of Buffett Ratio) is in outer space. (5) Nose-bleed valuations unless Trump can boost earnings. (6) The melt-up mechanism may be in gear. (7) Stock buybacks plus equity ETF inflows are boosting stock prices. (8) Passive is the new active. (9) Valuation-dependent: Fed officials saying market is “a little rich” and “a little frothy.” (10) Dudley wants to add more fruit juice to the punch bowl. (11) Keep drinking for now; even fruit punch can cause a sugar high. (12) Movie Review: “The Zookeeper’s Wife” (+ +).
Jeff Bezos, The Terminator
(1) Jeff Bezos and Sigourney Weaver both have powerful exoskeletons. (2) Amazon is killing its competitors and inflation. (3) A short history of the plot to murder inflation. (4) From the Walmart price to the China price to the Amazon price. (5) Killing more and more categories. (6) Nearly one-third of GAFO online now. (7) More jobs at risk in retailing than manufacturing. (8) The hole in the mall. (9) Will theaters die along with anchor stores? (10) Autos getting weighed down by debt. (11) Used car prices falling.
Many Happy Revenues
(1) The recession is over. (2) Low oil prices are now stimulative on balance for the global economy. (3) Revenues are recovering with manufacturing & trade sales. (4) M-PMI is bullish for revenues, and so are regional business surveys. (5) Lots of sectors showing record-high forward revenues. (6) Belushi & Trump: “Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!” (7) Giddy measure of consumer optimism. (8) Older consumers turned especially upbeat after Election Day. (9) Jobs are plentiful.
Bumps & Slumps
(1) Will failed ACA-R&R be followed by delayed and diminished (D&D) tax reform? (2) Plenty of time left for Trump to get it right, or wrong. (3) No harm, no foul for Trump on ACA. (4) Dollar remains strong despite recent slump. (5) End of energy recession early last year more bullish than Trump’s election, so far. (6) Low oil prices might finally be stimulating rather than depressing global economy. (7) Bond yields and stock prices may be slumping on lower oil prices. (8) Financials and Industrials clearly enjoyed Trump bumps, and now paying with slumps. (9) US stocks could slump for a short while relative to foreign ones.
(1) Dead in the swamp already? (2) Trump is learning on the job. (3) Melissa’s good call. (4) Pelosi still takes ownership of Obamacare. (5) Trump’s Plan B is to let Obamacare implode and move forward on tax reform. (6) Markey Maypo, Uncle Ralph, and the stock market. (7) On to tax reform. (8) No cuts in ACA taxes on tap. (9) Tax reform might be tougher to reconcile than Mnuchin says. (10) US and regional business surveys available for March looking strong. (11) Eurozone PMIs very robust in March. (12) Q1 earnings season starting with forward earnings in high spirits.
(1) If Trump lifts regs as promised, many companies will benefit big time. (2) Jackie recaps which industries stand to gain the most. (3) Financials, freed from Dodd-Frank shackles, would be a huge winner. (4) Other potential jackpot-hitters include autos, energy, homebuilders, and maybe even pharma. (5) Analysts project big earnings growth in 2017. (6) Joe gives us the lowdown on projected growth by sector.
(1) Another age-old adage. (2) Baron Rothschild’s secret. (3) The Bull/Bear Ratio may be too high. (4) Streets covered in blood vs. paved with gold. (5) Seinfeld market. (6) From tapering to tightening tantrums. (7) Emerging Markets growing faster despite Fed headwinds. (8) Bond funds still seeing net inflows. (9) Corporate bond liquidity crisis still a no-show. (10) Timeout for Trump rally? (11) Nothing to fear but profit-taking.
What Is Normal?
(1) Old timers. (2) The DJIA is up 20-fold since my first day on the Street. (3) Lots of adages. (4) Let the trend be your friend. Don’t fight the Fed. Taking away the punch bowl. Three strikes. (5) Bull markets start when Fed starts to ease, and continue when it starts to tighten. (6) Fed’s tightening usually ends badly. (7) If the real neutral federal funds rate is zero, the nominal rate should equal the inflation rate (2% currently). (8) Yellen’s swan song: Leave on a neutral note.
Lots of Strong Soft Data
(1) Yellen waiting to see if strong soft data turn into hard data. (2) Fed officials say business people more optimistic, but have a wait-and-see attitude. (3) “Gradual” remains in fashion at the Fed. (4) Less focus on “fiscal.” (5) Markets loved Yellen’s latest dovish cooing. She remains the Fairy Godmother of the Bull Market! (6) CEOs are bullish, which is good for capital spending. (7) Republicans are happy, while Democrats are sad. A net negative for spending? (8) Homebuilders seeing more traffic. (9) Lots of quitters. (10) NY & Philly business surveys remained exuberant in March. (11) The Fed plays with words and dots. (12) From one-and-done to three-a-piece.
(1) Tech leads ytd performance derby among S&P 500 sectors. (2) Kudos to Health Care for coming in second despite Obamacare R&R commotion. (3) Homebuilders help to put Consumer Discretionary in third place despite retailers’ troubles. (4) The race to tech out cars pits Detroit against Silicon Valley. (5) But don’t expect Detroit’s economics to shift into higher margin & growth gears enjoyed by tech titans. (6) As tech firms make inroads into auto markets, Big Brother will be watching and driving.
Animal Spirits Showing Up in Earnings
(1) Happy eighth birthday. Now take a nap. (2) Trump wins whether ACA-R&R passes or fails. (3) The swamp thickens. (4) Breitbart wants to sink Ryan. (5) Small business owners think now is a good time to expand. (6) Old problems for SBOs were regulations and taxes. New one is shortage of workers. (7) Boom-Bust Barometer still boomingly bullish for earnings and stocks. (8) Forward revenues and earnings at record highs. (9) It’s not all about Trump: Global economy seems to be improving.
Go With the Flows
(1) The Fed’s world of credit. (2) Supply of equities continues to shrink, while debt continues to expand. (3) Lots of cash flow for nonfinancial corporations. (4) Move from active to passive clear in record purchases by equity ETFs. (5) Big buyers of equities not as valuation-oriented as traditional investors. (6) Treasury borrowing exceeds official deficit numbers. (7) Foreigners are biggest buyers of US corporate bonds. (8) China’s social financing blows away credit expansion in US. (9) Draghi’s policies have yet to boost Eurozone credit expansion.
Run, Bull, Run
(1) Bubba, Forrest, and the bull market. (2) Sprinting may not be healthy for aging bulls. (3) Among the best bull markets. (4) Bull market for job seekers. (5) Both soft and hard data confirming strength in labor market. (6) Another record high in full-time employment. (7) Earned Income Proxy also still rising in record-high territory. (8) Frackers have learned how to keep gushing at lower oil prices. (9) 27 Club. (10) Movie Review: “Kong: Skull Island” (- -).
Guns & Butter
(1) Entrepreneurial vs. crony capitalism. (2) Capitalism vs. corruption. (3) Adam Smith’s huge marketing mistake. (4) Are capitalists selfish or just insecure? (5) The customer is always right. (6) The butcher, the brewer, and the baker all faced cut-throat competition, until they joined a trade association. (7) Small business owners create jobs, not Washington’s politicians. (8) ADP data tell all. (9) Republican plans on spending and taxes add up to guns-and-butter. (10) Jackie discusses defense with Rick Whittington.
(1) An untimely death of a poet. (2) Will Trump light a fire under corporate earnings? (3) Remarkable Zen-like calm of most stock investors. (4) Low VIX and bearishness agitating contrarians. (5) Behind Door #1: Nirvana. (6) Behind Door #2: Melt-up. (7) Behind Door #3: Meltdown. (8) Lowering bullish probability a notch from 90% to 80%. (9) Inflationary pressures are blowing in the wind. (10) No sign of clear and present danger of higher wage inflation.
Is Active Style Passé?
(1) A blatantly biased defense of active investing. (2) Is the deluge of passive money a contrary indicator? (3) Buffett’s last will and testament. (4) A passive melt-up. (5) Passive investors prefer low fees over cheap stocks. (6) Active managers did fine during previous two bull markets. (7) The choice is picking a passive index or actively picking the winners and losers in the index. (8) Stay Home investment strategy has beaten a passive global index. (9) Passive investing can feed on itself and distort capital allocation. (10) Passive investing is an active choice.
When Bulls Fly
(1) Everyone is happy and worried. (2) DC-PTSD. (3) Swamp’s lobbyists raking it in. (4) New odds: 10/30/60 now is 20/40/40 meltdown/meltup/normal bull. (5) Not all about Trump. (6) Bad stuff that didn’t happen can be bullish. (7) Our Boom-Bust Barometer and Weekly Leading Index are confirming vertical ascent of S&P 500. (8) Less fairy dust from Fairy Godmother. (9) But enough to keep bull flying. (10) Yellen should have been tougher on Friday.
(1) Happy anniversary to an aging, but still hard-charging bull! (2) Group hug time? (3) Great call by BAM eight years ago. (4) Forward earnings up more than 100% since start of bull market. (5) Blue Angels show bulls can fly. (6) A kinder, gentler Trump is even more bullish than the bully Trump. (7) M-PMI soars, while public construction sags. (8) Lots of bulls to dance with. (9) Chuck Prince’s curse. (10) BAT is a full employment act for swamp dwellers. (11) BAT is bad for some, good for others. (12) Final Republican plan likely to be guns-and-butter rather than revenue-neutral.
Populism Popping Up in Europe Too
(1) A bunch of small countries. (2) US election widened yield spreads in Eurozone. (3) Madame Frexit is likely to win first round, but second round maybe not. (4) Lots of fake news in Europe too. (5) Old news: Italy may be a bigger problem than France. (6) Blonde Geert is Netherlands’ Orange Don. (7) Robots taking over Rotterdam. (8) Signs of life in Eurozone economy. (9) EMU MSCI is relatively cheap, but populist politics may be more troublesome in Eurozone than in US.
Buffett’s Rules & Ratios
(1) On the cheap side. (2) Buffett betting on and against Trump. (3) The Oracle sees diluted tax reform and no BAT. (4) The President’s speech. (5) Guns and butter? (6) Buffett Ratio suggests stocks aren’t so cheap. (7) Forward P/E and P/S ratios are also awfully high, unless Trump delivers earnings-boosting corporate tax cuts. (8) A protectionist-triggered recession is possible, but not likely. (9) More likely is that the economy will run very hot, or not so hot. (10) Dallas Fed survey shows regional energy recession is over. (11) Animal spirits roaming throughout the land.
Timing Isn’t Everything
(1) On the verge of civil, trade, and cyber wars? (2) The curse of Cain on Little Kim. (3) Stocks staying focused on setting record highs. (4) Saber-rattling at the FOMC. (5) Bond yield remains in our 2.00%-2.50% range. (6) S&P 500 revenues rise to record high during Q4-2016. (7) More evidence that the earnings recession is over. (8) Margins remain at record levels, frustrating reverting-to-the-mean bears. (9) CEO of Dow Chemical says Trump administration is the most pro-business ever. (10) Bull market may remain resilient even if Trump’s bullish agenda falls behind schedule. (11) Movie Review: “Bitter Harvest” (- -).
(1) Declaration of reconciliation. (2) No gabbing aloud allowed. (3) With or without dynamic scoring, “revenue-neutral” tax reform plans look like tax cut plans. (4) Trump plan omits revenue gained from border adjustment and revenues lost from ACA repeal. (5) Hard to estimate impact of deregulation and infrastructure spending in budget projections. (6) Guns and butter, again? (7) Why are analysts so bullish on profit margins? (8) Jackie explains the ins and outs of Pentagon spending. (9) Increasing defense outlays in three steps could trip sequestration. (10) Europe will have to spend more on weapons, which is why the stocks of defense companies are flying high.
Hard To Reconcile
(1) Easy to believe Trump reviving animal spirits in US. (2) Hard to imagine he is doing that overseas. (3) The recovery from the Energy recession explains some of the recent global upturn. (4) China still addicted to credit, which soared $2.7 trillion over past 12 months through January. (5) Flash PMIs are flashing green. (6) Retail sales strong in Europe. (7) Two-step: Reconcile Trump-Cohen and Ryan-Brady bills then get merged one fast-tracked through Congress with reconciliation process. (8) A couple of hurdles such as border adjustment tax and R&R of ACA. (9) Bismarck’s sausage warning.
Rules for Paranoids
(1) Historic times, maybe. (2) Paranoids vs. paranoids out to get one another. (3) Alinsky’s rule book for middle-class revolutionary youths. (4) Hillary’s 1969 senior thesis now available online. (5) OFA organizing to keep Obama’s status quo. (6) Historian Hofstadter wrote the book on “paranoid style” in American politics. (7) Rahm tells Trump to cut taxes post haste. (8) More animal spirits in the zoo. (9) Blanchard says secular stagnation wasn’t so secular after all.
Game of Thrones
(1) Trump trip. (2) Bullish plans vs. bearish bluster. (3) Declarations of war lead to wars. (4) Obama’s throne in DC and his supporters around the country. (5) OFA all the way? (6) The first casualty. (7) The shoe is on the other foot. (8) Time to fast-track tax and regulation reform. (9) Catch-22: Too much of a good thing. (10) Tech is leading the pack. (11) Jackie explains the media industry’s Game of Thrones.
(1) Small Business Optimism Index goes vertical. (2) Reagan, Volcker, and now Trump. (3) Small business owners don’t like big government. (4) Business owners saying jobs are hard to fill, while workers are saying jobs are plentiful. (5) Let’s see how far China’s rooster can fly in the new year. (6) China’s trade data, PPI, and stock prices all are upbeat. (7) Yellen is pleased and signaling more rate hikes coming. (8) No more talk about hysteresis.
(1) Sonny and Michael Corleone. (2) Improv. (3) Knowing when to walk out. (4) Is this the melt-up? (5) Sell on the tax news, or just go away in May? (6) Consensus 2018 earnings estimates are steady and bullish. (7) Going vertical: Stock prices, our Boom-Bust Barometer, and YRI Weekly Leading Index. (8) From “The economy, stupid!” to “Populism, stupid! (9) Bond spreads widening in Europe. (10) What if Brexit is a success? (11) Le Pen will bring crowbar to Frexit door. (12) ECB getting bada-chinged.
(1) Dictionary definitions. (2) Chump change, chunk of change, and Trump change. (3) QE was terminated in late 2014, yet equity bull continues to charge ahead. (4) No Great Rotation so far, but maybe the start of a Good Rotation. (5) Piling into savings deposits. (6) December was a good month for equity funds. (7) China’s rooster starts the new year with a loud crow. (8) UK factories booming. (9) No sign of zerosumitis. (10) Movie Review: “A Dog’s Purpose” (+ +).
Here Come the Jetsons
(1) Correction time yet? (2) Bulls dwarf bears—but sell signals were never the Bull/Bear Ratio’s forte. (3) Investors putting trust in earnings and Trump’s bullish plans for now, while ignoring his bearish ones. (4) We’d prefer to see fewer bulls and less bullying. (5) Jackie goes for a drive in the auto industry. (6) Subprime is making a comeback in auto loans. (7) Autonomous cars may change almost everything. (8) Uber drones. (9) S&P 500 Automobile Manufacturers’ single-digit P/E reflects concerns more so than promise at this point.
(1) Practical issues with a wall on US border with Mexico. (2) Maybe it needs to be south of Mexico rather than south of the US. (3) Believe it or not: Chinese believe in free markets! (4) Not when it comes to capital flows, as they slap controls to stem outflows. (5) China’s international reserves fall to $3 trillion. (6) Railway freight traffic improving. (7) A billionaire disappears. (8) The Silk Route project is rolling down the tracks.
A Winning Scenario
(1) Second place is for losers. (2) Might “America First” be a winning strategy for the world? (3) America’s gift to the world: $700bn trade deficit. (4) Group hug overseas? (5) Time for emerging economies to emerge. (6) Remarkable recovery for commodity prices. (7) Emerging market currencies stable over past year despite Fed’s rate hikes. (8) EM stock prices rallying. (9) Global PMIs were solid in January. (10) Is owning gold a bet for or against Trump?
Entrepreneurial vs. Crony Capitalists
(1) Trump takes credit for latest strong jobs report. (2) Does anyone in Washington really “create” jobs? (3) Keynes vs. Bastiat on buried bottles and broken windows. (4) Small and medium-sized companies do most of the hiring as they grow. (5) Crony capitalists tend to run big companies that want to protect what they’ve got. (6) Are Trump’s billionaires populists or cronies? (7) Goldman doing God’s work again. (8) Demographic impediments to Trump’s goal of 25 million new jobs. (9) Can the Phillips Curve be saved? (10) The Fed is lying low. (11) Movie review: “Fences” (+ +).
Panning for Gold
(1) Looking for good buys. (2) Looking for earnings outperformers. (3) A simple screen. (4) Industrials benefitting from end of energy recession. (5) Railroads hauling more fracking sand, again, and even coal. (6) Lots of Financials making the grade. (7) Some Tech industries stand out. (8) Specialty Chemicals are special. (9) Surprising finds among consumer-related industries. (10) Mexicans who lose their factory jobs will be shovel-ready. (11) We reckon there are only 900,000 jobs to bring back from Mexico.
Now the Hard Part
(1) Trump hits the (muddy) ground running. (2) Mud is key feature of Washington’s terrain. (3) Hill Republicans want 200 days to implement Trump’s 100-day agenda. (4) Running out of momentum, for now. (5) Earnings picture remains bright. (6) Impressive rebound in commodity prices. (7) European economies looking better. (8) Consumer Optimism Index holds post-election gain in January. (9) The best and the brightest wheeler-dealers. (10) Let’s make a deal!
(1) Politics is a blood sport. (2) Aneurin Bevan and Ivanka Trump say so. (3) The cradle of civilization is no longer so civilized. (4) Mexico is Trump’s piñata. (5) Noise-to-signal ratio rising. (6) Bond Vigilantes Model says bond yield should be 3.50%, not 2.50%. (7) Despite upturn, bond yields remain near zero in Germany and Japan. (8) Record highs for S&P 500 forward revenues and earnings, as well as for our Boom Bust Barometer and Weekly Leading Index. (9) Spirited animals.
New Normal World Order
(1) Back to the future on trade? (2) Trump’s World Order: From multilateral back to bilateral. (3) Trump channeling FDR’s Reciprocal Trade Agreements and Reagan’s voluntary export restraints. (4) Ross Perot’s giant sucking sound. (5) Can Globalization be saved? (6) Excluding soybean exports, real GDP rose 2.5% during Q3 & Q4. (7) Manufacturing capacity, flat since 2001, may be heading higher soon. (8) Leading indicators all pointing higher. (9) Movie review: “Moonlight” (- -).
(1) Another nice round number. (2) Is popularity overrated? (3) Love him, or hate him. (4) Lots of happy surveys of consumer confidence, purchasing managers, regional business activity, and investor sentiment. (5) Silicon Valley may change the future more than Washington will. (6) Jackie explains why there might be more upside in both Semiconductors and Homebuilding.
(1) Pay no attention to the clowns behind the curtain. (2) From Ringling Brothers to Cirque du Trump. (3) S&P 500 revenues and earnings recovering to new record highs from Energy-led recession. (4) Q4 earning season likely to deliver 6% gain. (5) Analysts are raising their 2018 earnings estimates. (6) Energy, Financials, & IT showing best earnings revisions and forward earnings momentum. (7) Managing companies well despite Washington. (8) Some signs of life in overseas forward earnings. (9) Plenty of life in flash M-PMIs for US, Eurozone, and Japan.
The First 100 Hours
(1) Andrew Jackson’s song. (2) Power to the forgotten people. (3) Trump is channeling Jackson, FDR, JFK, and Perot. (4) Jury still out on extent of Trump’s protectionism. (5) DJT is no JFK on world stage. (6) Isolationism vs interventionism. (7) Foxconn pays the entry price. (8) Merkel seeks compromises with Trump. (9) China’s sore point. (10) Mexico getting stomped by 800lb gorilla north of the border. (11) NAFTA will be renegotiated one way or another.
Too Hot for Goldilocks?
(1) Back to the Old Normal business cycle with a boom followed by a bust? (2) Our “benchmark model” sees the next recession starting in March 2019. (3) Bill, Larry, Janet, and Ronnie. (4) Fed’s Goldilocks now worrying that the economy might run too hot. (5) Obama’s jobless rate followed same track as Reagan’s! (6) The hottest market in America. (7) Buddy, can you spare a worker? (8) Auto industry running out of capacity, especially for light trucks. (9) Lots of tonnage to truck. (10) Driving to and from, and for, work. (11) Trump is the New Abnormal. (12) Movie review: “The Founder” (+ + +).
Rising & Setting Suns
(1) Banner Q4 for big banks and brokers. (2) Financials fundamentals may be just starting to shine. (3) Room for improvement in IPOs, in M&As, and asset management. (4) Financials playing catch-up after lagging for so long. (5) No bullseye for Abe’s “three arrows.” (6) 2020 Olympics could boost Japan a bit for a little while. (7) Not much CPI and export bang from the depreciating yen. (8) Aging is a big drag in Japan, as population shrinks. (9) Abe was first foreign leader to visit Trump. (10) A couple of signs of life.
Method to His Madness?
(1) A matter of style. (2) The Great Disruptor. (3) Polonius, Hamlet, and Trump. (4) Queen Victoria needed a Twitter account. (5) Who is madder? (6) CEOs kissing Trump’s ring. (7) Trump says border tax too complicated. (8) Trump’s Rules for Wheeler Dealers: Negotiate from your strength, and find their weakness. (9) IMF also drinking the Kool-Aid. (10) S&P 500 revenues and earnings indicators are mostly upbeat. (11) Fed’s talking heads are talking about more rate hikes.
(1) Harry, Dwight, and Donald. (2) The Donald and the Fonz. (3) Happy days in Bull-Bear Ratio and P/Es. (4) Will investors soon be dazed and confused? (5) Trump’s tax plan is very similar to Ryan’s “A Better Way.” (6) Corporations won’t be able to deduct interest expense under Ryan plan, and will have a choice in Trump plan. (7) Both plans would allow for current expensing of equipment. (8) Border tax is confusing and controversial. (9) Ross/Navarro have a plan to attract VCs and private-sector players to invest in infrastructure. (10) Trump is a one-man good-cop/bad-cop. (11) Trump’s “team of rivals” agree more with one another than with Trump. (12) Melissa compares Reaganomics and Trumponomics. (13) Movie review: “Lion” (+ + +).
Blockchain & Border Taxes
(1) Comforting Financials. (2) Rays of sunshine. (3) Lots of Financial industries basking in the sun. (4) Timely split from REITs. (5) Blockchain: The future is now, and so are the cost savings. (6) Bitcoin: Blockchain’s evil offspring? (7) Jackie interviews Jim Lucier, Capital Alpha’s tax wizard, on border tax. (8) Border tax proposal is an onion. (9) Kind of like a VAT. (10) The end of dodging taxes? (11) How corporate tax reform could boost dollar and lower interest rates.
(1) Trump and animal spirits. (2) More than 2 million Google links. (3) Government vs. business experience. (4) Keynes was a zoologist too. (5) Small business owners (SBOs) are going wild. (6) SBOs matter because they do lots of hiring. (7) New problem for SBOs: Shortage of workers. (8) Earnings season should confirm recovery that started during Q3. (9) Why small stocks are beautiful. (10) US frackers sending thank-you notes to Saudis.
Let’s Get Fiscal
(1) BeeGees, Olivia Newton-John, and Janet Yellen. (2) Counting words: “Fiscal” and “dollar” pop up often in FOMC minutes. (3) Trump may fill the wishes of Fed officials for more fiscal stimulus. (4) Fed officials hoping that fiscal policy can lift R*. (5) Mixed with confusion. (6) Dollar strength reflecting divergence between Fed and other major central banks. (7) Foreigners scrambling to repay dollar-denominated debts that financed carry trades. (8) Constructing an implied capital flows proxy for the world ex-US. (9) Our proxy explains strength of the dollar. (10) So does the drop in non-gold international reserves.
Labor’s Turn & Turnover
(1) What do you get when you play country songs backwards? (2) Johnny Paycheck would have voted for Trump. (3) Tighter labor market reflected in higher wages and quits, which are boosting consumer confidence. (4) Earned Income Proxy at record high. (5) Retiring Baby Boomers boosting NILF count. (6) Is the yuan done going down yet? (7) PBOC desperate to hold onto 7.0 yuan/$ and $3.0 trillion reserves. (8) China’s capital controls are latest desperate measures. (9) Trump’s pick of US ambassador to China is BFF of Xi. (10) Movie: “Hidden Figures” (+ +).
Leading from Behind
(1) Stay home, go global, or emerge? (2) Trump favors “Stay Home” investment strategy. (3) Commodity prices seem to matter more for emerging markets than does the Fed or the dollar. (4) Asian economies doing well now, but facing Trump tweets on trade. (5) Profits rising in China. (6) South Korea has a political crisis, while India has a currency crisis. (7) Taiwan’s M-PMI confirming upturn in tech business. (8) Brazil remains in deep recession, while Mexico may be starting to stumble on troubles north of the border. (9) Jackie explains Health Care’s wounded performance. (10) Is a shortage of new drugs pushing up prices of old drugs? (11) Drug distributors getting squeezed.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
(1) He will huff and puff, but will he blow the house down? (2) Time for lots of little piggies to shape up? (3) Wish list full of wishful thinking? (4) Lil’ Kim and the Supremes. (5) Impressive, but not unprecedented, rally in stocks since T-Day. (6) Investors are front-running Trump’s tax cuts. (7) Reaganomics faced completely different economy than Trumponomics. (8) Lots of upbeat M-PMIs. (9) Boom-Bust Barometer booming, which is bullish for S&P 500 forward earnings and stock index. (10) China’s M-PMI price index confirms upturn in PPI inflation rate.
(1) Prequels and sequels. (2) Going rogue on 2017 earnings outlook. (3) Does it matter whether tax cuts start in 2017 or 2018? (4) S&P 500 forward revenues and earnings rising to record highs. (5) Energy industry’s recession is over, and it didn’t spill over to the broader economy. (6) Consumer optimism booming since Election Day. (7) Trump’s “America First” inspired by Lord Palmerston. (8) Radical regime change: From community organizers to dealmakers. (9) Two kinds of rogues. (10) May the force be with us. (11) “Rogue One” (-).