The Selloff In Oil/Oil Stocks is Buyable
Energy stock fundamentals remain appealing. Global developed market energy stocks are still trading at recessionary valuation levels with the median dividend yield of 2.5% being near the highest recorded over the last two decades.
Geopolitics Update: Trade War, Tariffs & the Coming Tech Implosion
As the Trump administration’s on-again, off-again trade war with China continues to create uncertainty for investors, we sat down with geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan to learn more about the tariff program and what it could mean for the US economy.
John Williams Takes the “Under” on Expected Rate Hikes
John Williams, one of the newest members of the Federal Open Market Committee, wrote an article titled “The Future Fortunes of R-star: Are They Really Rising?” where he summarized his views on real neutral interest rates.
Treasuries Signaling Full-On Inflationary Boom in the US
Ten-year US treasury rates broke out this week on the back of news that looks unequivocally like an inflationary boom. Earlier in the week the Atlanta wage tracker ticked back up to 3.3% year over year. Wages moving higher, check. Oil prices broke above $71/barrel. Commodity prices higher, check.
Financial Conditions are Tightening on the US Consumer
Rising oil prices, food prices and interest rates are likely to soon start taking a toll on the US consumer. Over the last year, gasoline prices are up 28%, the price of cornerstone crops like corn, soy and wheat are up between 5-16%, credit card interest rates have moved to an eight year high of 13.6% and the all important mortgage rate has risen to nearly 5%.
USD Hedging Getting More Expensive: LIBOR-OIS Spread Heading Higher
There are two basic drivers of the London Interback Offered Rate (LIBOR): 1) policy rates and 2) a variable premium. Starting with the policy rates component, in the chart below I compare the interest rate on excess reserves (IOR) and USD LIBOR.
The Unappealing Yield of US Treasuries for Foreign Buyers & US Dollar Strength
With the European Central Bank dragging its feet to begin the monetary tightening cycle, the difference between US and German rates has opened up to record levels. In the chart below, I show the yield on 10 Year US Treasury Bonds and 10 Year German Bunds.
Spotlight: The Secret of Chevron’s Permian Dominance
A recent report by The Wall Street Journal identified a new generation of supercomputers as the fuel behind Big Oil’s “digital arms race to find oil and trim costs.” Indeed, make a quick visit to the websites of most of the Supermajors – that’s BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni in oil speak...
Bitcoin Rebound Suggests US Dollar Bear to Return Soon
Bitcoin made a closing high on December 18, 2017 at $18,764 and then proceeded to fall to the closing low for the year, $6,604.48 on April 6, 2018. Since then, it has rebounded almost 50% to today’s level of $9,670, having broken back through the 50-day moving average.
Quarterly Strategy Update: Volatility Shocks & Dollar Bears
Price excesses have built up over a long bull market. Stocks are expensive, and the volatility shock wave is traveling the globe. This quarter, we discuss the risks correlated with the current volatility, potential new sources of instability, and the sectors that could be the performance beneficiaries of these trends.
The Most Important Detail From the Flash PMI Report is About Inflation
Among yesterday’s data releases was the widely followed ‘flash’ PMI report produced by Markit, which showed that the Manufacturing PMI increased to the highest level since the 4th quarter of 2014. Unlike the final report, which gets published on the first day of the month, the advanced report lacks details on specific components.
Oil Is Breaking Out, So Are Inflation Expectations
After spending the last four months consolidating gains, crude oil is breaking higher again, and it’s taking inflation expectations with it. The break higher in crude isn’t surprising given that oil fundamentals haven’t been this good in years.
Uncharted Territory for Stock Valuations
Another month and another new high in equity valuations, at least relative to sales. Indeed, the median company in our developed world index (which covers the top 85% of companies in each country) just achieved a price to sales ratio that eclipsed the 2000 peak.
New Lows YTD in Chinese Stocks & Highs in Latin America Stocks/Bonds
Last night the China Shanghai CSI 300 index fell a bit more than 1.6%, taking out February lows and setting a new YTD low for the index. This is important since the global equity markets have a very high correlation to Chinese stocks.
Spotlight: Rio Tinto and the World’s First “Intelligent” Mine
Later this year, Rio Tinto will seek board approval to spend $2.2B to build the world’s first “intelligent” mine, a network of robots and autonomous vehicles all working together on the site of the earth’s largest iron ore complex in Western Australia.
Mind The Gap, and Other Non-Confirmations of a Low
As political risk continues to escalate, we are, as always, keenly focused on risk management and the mitigation of potential losses. To those ends, we are monitoring indicators of market breadth for evidence that the worst of the shakeout is behind us.
Energy Stocks Are Starting to Flow
Energy stocks are looking lively today, with energy the best performing sector in the US and second best performing sector in Europe. The likely reason for the buoyant performance is a continued improvement in fundamentals. Inventory data released yesterday showed a steady decline in crude and refined product (ex-SPR) in the United States.
The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly From the Market’s Retest of the February Lowbry
As our readers ponder the implications of trade wars and the possibility for moderately higher inflation – a circular loop if we ever did see one – we thought we’d evaluate the market’s behavior to see what kind of clues it’s giving us about its health.
The Fed Has the Direction of Prices Correct, but Could be Undershooting the Magnitude
Today the Fed hiked the Fed Funds rate by .25% and also updated their policy statement and the so called dot plot, which is a compilation of the FOMC members projections’ for GDP growth, unemployment and prices.
Pairs Trade: Bullish Energy Sector & Bearish Financial Sector
As of this writing, WTI crude oil is back above $65/barrel, closing in on the recent $66.33 high on January 26. While oil and US equities have been in a “wedge” formation where, hemmed in by the January 26 high and the February 90 low, crude oil has broken out from its wedge.
Why Financial Statements Don’t Work for Highly Innovative Companies
Several weeks ago three professors from the Columbia and Dartmouth business schools recapped some of their work on accounting for intangible investment in a Harvard Business Review article. Their key finding, which builds on Professor Baruch Lev’s analysis in The End of Accounting, is that, “accounting earnings are practically irrelevant for digital companies”.
Author Q&A: Daniel Pink on the Science of Timing and How Innovative Firms are Employing His Research
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with author Daniel Pink to discuss his new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, now in its 8th week on the New York Times best-seller list.
The Employment Report Does Little to Defray the Likelihood of Higher Wage Growth
Today’s unemployment that featured above trend employment growth, a tick up in the participation rate, a flat unemployment rate and a little less wage growth compared to last month is being met with applause from the equity market.
Counter Cyclical Stocks Are Making New Relative Lows, Right on Cue
Counter cyclical stocks, those in the consumer staples, health care, real estate, telecom and utilities sectors, continue to have a tough go at things. In fact, as of two days ago this group of bond proxies made a new low compared to all developed market stocks, thereby continuing and reinforcing a trend that has been in place since the middle of 2016. Why is that?
Corrections Almost Always Test Lows Before They Are Complete
As we navigate a period of market turmoil, its important to remember that non-bear corrective phases typically last six weeks to two months and almost always include several several substantial large rallies followed by selloffs back to the range of the initial low.
Bifurcated Energy Sector Performance Presents Opportunity
Year-to-date the energy sector is the worst performing sector in the developed markets. In the tables below, I highlight statistics from our Knowledge Leaders Selection Universe (KLSU) which captures the top 85% of market cap in the developed and emerging markets.
If This Correction is Over, it Will Be Unique in Leaving Most Individual Stocks Unscathed
There are many different ways in which we can measure the severity of a market correction. The absolute peak-to-trough decline is one way. Duration of the drawdown is another. But we can also measure corrections by taking note of the performance of individual stocks, in what is akin to looking under the hood.
This Selloff Has Yielded Important Information Content
This selloff is demonstrably different than other corrections the market has endured this cycle in one important aspect: it has inflationary rather than deflationary notes to it. This is an extremely important point of context because it tells us something about market participants’ anxieties.
Four Market-Based Indicators That May Help Investors Identify Stock Market Fragility
With a hint of volatility returning to the stock market this week, we though it good timing to review some of the market-based indicators we follow that help us judge the sturdiness of the market. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a few items to consider when evaluating whether pullbacks are for buying or selling.
Quarterly Strategy Update: Breaking Out & Breaking Down
Oil prices have pushed through resistance and are breaking out while the US dollar has pushed through support and is breaking down. All of the major industrial commodity prices are moving in lock step, while the global economy appears to be accelerating led by the United States.
The Stock Market is Extremely Overbought. Is That a Bad Thing or a Good Thing?
By now it’s common knowledge that the stock market is extremely overbought by nearly any measure one chooses to use. This has led many investors to infer a weaker forward return profile than usual on the logic that the normalization in the overboughtness of the market will cause a steep and lasting pullback in stocks.
Bitcoin prices have corrected severely in the last 48 hours. The newsflow suggests investors have concerns about increased regulation in China and South Korea. No doubt these headlines have spooked investors, but I think there is something else at work.
Why Higher Inflation from Oil Prices Won’t Necessarily Result in Higher Long Rates
It’s no secrete that fluctuations in oil prices can lead to dramatic swings in headline price inflation, as chart 1 below shows. After all, not only does oil fuel the vast majority of transportation needs, it’s also a critical raw material used in consumer products far and wide, and much of the price swings in oil are passed on to consumers.
Geopolitics Outlook 2018: Three Big Predictions with Extra-Regional Consequences
We recently caught up with Peter Zeihan, author of The Accidental Superpower, to ask his thoughts on the top geopolitical shifts to watch in 2018. He shared his predictions on everything from anti-trust concerns for Silicon Valley and the dire consequences for the United States if we exit NAFTA to why he expects North Korea to back down this year.
Oil Market Fundamentals Haven’t Been This Strong in Years
2018 has so far brought in the highest price of crude oil since late 2014 (chart 1), but we shouldn’t be surprised by the price action. Indeed, ignoring geopolitics for a moment, the fundamental picture for the crude markets haven’t been this favorable in years.
The Low Level of the VIX Isn’t a Mystery
The drop in the VIX to ultra-low levels in 2017 has been a point of consternation for market participants and largely misunderstood. Some market participants view the low level of the VIX as an indication of excessively positive sentiment among investors and thus a contrary indicator for the general direction of stock prices.
Bitcoin: What It Is And What It Isn’t
Bitcoin has garnered much mainstream media coverage in recent months which is the natural reaction to its meteoric ten-fold rise this year. The digital currency’s rise to about $11,000 today was met with awe, and then it quickly fell by 20% in a matter of hours, as has been widely reported.
The Fundamental Case for Japanese Stocks
We’ve been arguing for the last year that US-based investors would be well served to overweight foreign versus domestic equities. In this post we’ll dig into that topic a little deeper to try to convey a few of the company specific fundamental drivers of our foreign vs domestic call, especially as they relate to one of our favorite markets: Japan.
Knowledge Leader Spotlight: Microchip Technology Inc., a Fundamental Analysis
From time to time we illustrate our analysis of highly innovative companies in a Knowledge Leader spotlight. Today we look at Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP), a highly innovative semiconductor manufacturer that produces programmable microcontroller products used in autos, computing and lighting, among many other applications.
International Equities are En Vogue, and Could Stay That Way
Over the last decade US stocks have outperformed the global equity benchmark by about 35% and have outperformed in eight of the last ten years prior to 2017. But that may all be coming to an end.
The Consumer Staples Sector is No Place Hide
The Consumer Staples sector is often viewed as a safe haven; a sector that, because of its inherent cash flow stability, market participants can turn to as a place of refuge when things get shaky. Yet, persistent fundamental decline among North American Staples companies may well be throwing a wrench in these companies’ abilities to weather a broad market downturn.