Investors seem to have every reason to worry about bonds. Prices are high, yields are low, and low quality companies are accessing easy financing even in the face of an uncertain economic future. With all that said, there might not be any reason to worry at all. Central banks are still gaming the system. From the Fed being really conservative with rates, to the ECB and BOJ doing massive QE, the whole central bank mechanism is conspiring to prop up bond prices in a major way.
FINSUM: As long as that pre-condition of huge central bank support is in place, it is hard to see bonds taking much of a hit.
If you are hoping a middle of the road Democrat wins the party’s bid, then yesterday’s poll is an alarming one. In a new CNN poll, Bernie Sanders completed a 9-point swing to overtake Joe Biden by 3% in polls of Democratic voters. He rose a full 7 points to 27% support versus Biden’s fall of 2% to 24% overall. The first votes for the candidacy start on February 3rd in Iowa and February 11th in New Hampshire.
FINSUM: Purely looking at this from a political perspective, we think it is hard to say which candidate has the best odds of beating Trump. On the one hand, Biden can certainly capture more of the centrist voters, but on the other, Bernie is a much more realistic embodiment of the current Democrat party and could galvanize its identity to voters.
The stock market is a tough game right now. Valuations are sky high and earnings are trending the wrong way, which makes picking any stock difficult. Even buying popular high-priced stocks isn’t a good plan when earnings are falling, which makes it seem as though there are few good options. With that in mind, consider buying cash cows like Facebook, Google, and Ford. With such good earnings prowess and free cash flow, these kinds of companies have the money to keep buying back shares, which should drive their valuations over time.
FINSUM: Cash cows can feed their own market pricing even in really rich markets, so this seems like a smart call.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has just published a new survey of institutional money managers and found an interesting sentiment among those managing a hulking mass of American money. That finding is that money managers are much more worried about the election than they are about the trade war. Institutional investors think election worries will have a much greater effect on markets than the trade war will. The chief US economist at Goldman Sachs summarizes the situation this way, saying “While there are no obvious signs of election-related effects on economic activity so far in this election cycle, there is some concern that . . . uncertainty could have a more noticeable effect on sentiment and activity as the election approaches”.
FINSUM: We absolutely agree. The trade war seems to be cooling as both sides appear as though they want to hash out the issues. The election is an event with potentially hugely variant outcomes and it is highly difficult to predict. This all means it is hard to price, and that uncertainty can weigh on companies and markets.
Trump’s legal team put out a bold proclamation today. In a 171-page briefing that preceded the launch of his impeachment trial in the Senate, Trump’s lawyers argue that he cannot be removed from office for abusing power. They contend that since he did not break any laws, he cannot be removed from office. The team summarized their view, “House Democrats’ novel theory of ‘abuse of power’ improperly supplants the standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’ with a made-up theory that would permanently weaken the presidency by effectively permitting impeachments based merely on policy disagreements”.
FINSUM: This is a very interesting argument as the legal team seems to have changed tactics. Rather than arguing the underlying facts in the case, they are now trying to say that even if all the facts are true, Trump still cannot be removed from office.