Eq: Total Market

(New York)

For many years after the Crisis, the main theme around consumer debt was the idea that Americans were deleveraging. However, steadily, consumer debt has risen back to alarming levels. In the first quarter of this year, consumer debt hit $14 tn, surpassing the $13 tn of leverage pre-Crisis. Student debt has been a major area of credit expansion. Even when comparing debt to the population, the debt per person is a little higher than in 2008.


FINSUM: So obviously inflation needs to be accounted for here, but the picture is still worrying. It is yet another sign that we may be nearing the end of this run.

(New York)

There is a lot riding on the results of the Fed’s meeting this week. Every big bank is weighing in and the consensus is that the markets have gotten too dovish in their projections and that the Fed won’t cut now, or as quickly as investors expect, all of which will lead to a decline in stocks. Both UBS and Goldman think that the pace of rate cuts forecasted by markets would only make sense in a recession, which seems unlikely. Morgan Stanley says stocks are very vulnerable to a decline if the Fed doesn’t cut as it will shift expectations and lead to tighter conditions. JP Morgan thinks equities will decline even if the Fed does cut.


FINSUM: We think the Fed will stay on hold for now but signal cuts in the Fall. We expect this will have a neutral to mildly negative effect on share prices.

(New York)

Bank of America has just published an important piece of data. The bank has put out the results of its sentiment survey of investors and has found that US investors are the most bearish they have been since the Financial Crisis. The survey was of fund managers, so is an indication of institutional investment sentiment. Allocations to equities among those polled hit their lowest level since March 2009, the month the stock market bottomed. “FMS investors have not been this bearish since the global financial crisis, with pessimism driven by trade war and recession concerns”, said BAML’s chief investment strategist.


FINSUM: It is hard to know how seriously to take this. It is certainly a pertinent piece of information, but is it a bearish indicator or a bullish contrarian indicator?

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