Don’t let the cooling of the trade war between the US and China fool you, the markets are not in a good position, at least that is the position of Bank of America. The bank thinks there won’t be a deal between Washington and Beijing until the US market feels real pain. They think the looming Q3 correction will be the stimulus that gets a deal done because Trump operates under a “no pain, no deal” paradigm. “The markets are likely to view the summit as a modest positive in the short run. But stepping back, we see several reasons for concern”, says Bank of America.
FINSUM: The “no pain, no deal” concept makes a lot of sense to us. The bigger question, though, is what would cause the pain because markets certainly aren’t hurting from the threat of a trade war. Maybe a big earnings miss? (See below)
One of the biggest banks in the country has just offered a very bullish view. BAML says the US will avoid a recession. The comments come from the bank’s CEO, Brian Moynihan, who believes that growth will slow, but then flatten out and not go into a recession. “Everything we see in our customer base is consistent with a slowdown to 2% and a flattening out from there”, he says.
FINSUM: We found these comments to be genuinely interesting because BAML has a view on the economy that few do. Not only are they the largest consumer bank, but also the biggest mortgage lender. That means they can watch the pace of deposit growth and borrowing in a very direct way, and thus can take the economy’s pulse.
Investors probably won’t see it coming, but big losses are likely on the way for FANG stocks. The bank says that the group of companies is about to be “smacked down” by regulators. Savita Subramanian, Head of US equity strategy at BAML, says that the risk for investors is heavily skewed to the downside. “These companies are about to be smacked down from a regulatory perspective … Look at the fact that Mark Zuckerberg was testifying before Congress a year ago. That’s exactly what all the financial CEOs were doing 10 years ago”. Subramanian likens the coming losses to what happened to financial stocks in 2008-2009.
FINSUM: We doubt any forthcoming losses will be Financial Crisis-like but the regulatory risk is surely a big one. Will new regulations be related to anti-trust or data protection? Or both?
The market has hit a rough patch the last couple of days, falling almost 1% yesterday. Investors have once again grown anxious about slowing growth and trade tensions between the US and Mexico. Despite this renewed anxiety, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is encouraging investors to buy the dip. The bank has frustration about the “stubbornly flat” yield curve, but says that “The correct strategy in 2018 was ‘sell-the-rip’; Positioning, Policy, Profits and Populism argue the correct early 2019 trading strategy is to ‘buy-the-dip”.
FINSUM: The market has bounced back a long way from Xmas eve. In some ways it feels too much too fast, but then again, valuations are more sensible and the Fed has backed off.
BAML has put out a report chronicling a new outlook for stocks, and it isn’t pretty. The report shows that investors have the worst views on the markets in a decade. Investors are pessimistic about global growth and corporate profits, the combination of which makes them expect a weak equity market. Here is a summary of Bank of America’s report: “A poll of asset managers showed a net 60 per cent of those questioned think growth in gross domestic product will weaken over the next 12 months, the worst outlook on the global economy since July 2008 and below the trough in January 2001”.
FINSUM: So it is important to note that these are asset manager opinions, not individual investors. Accordingly, it may not be as much of a contrarian indicator as usual.