Eq: Total Market
The Fed has a big new worry that is not presently on the market’s radar. With all the worries about headline economic data and the trade war, very little attention has been paid to the potential shock equities and bonds may feel from climate change. The Fed, however, is very focused on the risk. The Fed says that climate change can have a jarring effect on the economy that may “affect national economic output and employment”. “As such, these events may affect economic conditions, which we take into account in our assessment of the outlook for the economy”, says Fed Chairman Powell.
FINSUM: Calculating climate risk is tough because it can have short-term effects, but also much longer and more challenging ones, such as migration and agricultural output. That said, no one is expecting a climate change-induced financial crisis.
The trade war is scaring investors and tightening up markets. Benchmark indices have had a rough time this week and new data on investor flows should add to worries. UBS group, the world’s largest wealth manager, has just put out data on the holdings of its high net worth portfolios. The info shows that the world’s wealthy have 32% of their capital sitting in cash. In the US the figure was lower, at just 23%. UBS think that investors have become too conservative.
FINSUM: This is actually quite a bullish indicator for us. The markets have managed to rise a lot this year and there is still a lot of dry powder to push them higher.
Investors are currently worried about the trade war between China and the US. Tensions have reached a new peak this week after threats from President Trump regarding hiking the tariff rate to 25%. This big development, and the trade war generally, prompted JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to weigh in this week. “The odds of something bad happening [in trade negotiations] is now double. Whatever you thought they were — 2%, 5%, 10% is probably doubled. That’s why the market is reacting to it because they’re not just afraid of the direct effect, they’re afraid if it reverses global trade, it reverses global growth and hurts trade around the world”. All that said, he sees an 80% likelihood a deal will occur because smart people on both sides will make it happen.
FINSUM: We agree with Jamie. Both sides have a lot on the line and we think everyone will eager to seal a deal, even if a modest one, and move on. Perhaps that is western-centric thinking though.
What is the biggest threat to the bull market? Is it a recession, high valuations, interest rate volatility? In reality, the biggest threat to the bull market might be rearing its ugly head now—a trade war. Trade tensions between the US and China have skyrocketed again this week and it has investors worried that there could be a global slowdown in trading which would sink the economy. In fact, that is the point that some don’t understand—it is not just about whether the US and China close a deal in the near term, it is about how the trade tensions the US and China create percolate through the global economy. Astute market watchers will have noticed new data out of China shows that exports have dropped, a sign of potential weakening.
FINSUM: We think cooler heads will prevail and the US and China will get a deal done. Our expectation is that it will not be ground-breaking in scope, but that it will be enough so that both countries can claim victory and investors can happily put these tensions in the rear view mirror.
One of the behaviors that we like to follow to see the underlying health of markets is whether investors are “buying the dip”. Such behavior tends to indicate a fundamental belief in the direction of the market. Therefore, the recent drop off in investors doing so is worrying, but not for the reason that seems obvious. The lack of buy the dip is because until this week, the market had rarely fallen this year. That has meant buying behavior has been concentrated in the hands of bulls not afraid the buy into a rich market, which left many discount-seekers looking from the outside in. Now, many top analysts, and likely investors alongside them, have turned bearish.
FINSUM: The velocity of the market’s gains this year has been very impressive, but it naturally makes a lot of people worry it could come down just as fast.
Millennials are the largest generation in the US and are primed to start entering their peak earning and spending years in the next decade. The oldest of the group is now 38, and thus entering prime home buying and spending time. Consumers usually see their spending peak in their 30s and 40s and taper in their 50s. With that in mind, here are some stocks (2 niche plays, 3 big companies) that could really gain from Millennial spending growth: Zuora (cloud based subscription payments provider), Lovesac (specialist furniture maker), Home Depot, Nike, and Farfetch (online luxury clothes retailer).
FINSUM: Boomers’ spending is fading, and Gen X is smaller, so Millennial spending is what is going to drive the consumer space.