Eq: Total Market
Investors be warned, JP Morgan has just issued an ominous warning—that ten-year Treasury yields will jump to 5%. JP Morgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has long argued that yields would rise to 4%, but now says the figure might be 5%. “I think rates should be 4 percent today … You better be prepared to deal with rates 5 percent or higher - it’s a higher probability than most people think”. Dimon sees a recession on the horizon, but he does admit there may be time for the bull market to continue, saying it could “actually go for 2 or 3 more years”.
FINSUM: Ten-year yields are currently having trouble sustaining 3%, so it is hard to imagine them going to 5% any time soon. Still we thought the warning was worth sharing.
The next recession has been talked about seriously for the last year or so, and discussion of it is rising now. But what might actually trigger the next downturn? The New York Times sees three possible triggers. The first is the Fed playing the economy wrong and sending the the country into a recession by being overly aggressive with rate hikes. In this scenario, 2020 seems like the doom year. Then there is the risk of the debt bubble bursting (just like the last recession), this time in corporate debt, which has seen a huge surge in issuance since the Crisis. Finally, the looming trade war could drive the whole global economy downward, sparking a major recession.
FINSUM: The corporate debt bubble bursting is a good insight, but much less discussed than the others. It is also interesting because it would be highly linked to the Fed. Maybe that is the double whammy?
Boom looks ready to turn to bust in the real estate market. While those paying attention will already know that commercial real estate looks past its peak, and residential real estate has just started to show signs of weakness, what US investors may not realize is that the phenomenon is global, and that fact is more important than ever. Because of the rise of the global wealthy and their transient lifestyles, global real estate markets have become more correlated, and that means additional bad news for US home prices. All across the world, from London, to Sydney, to Beijing, to New York, urban home prices are weakening as inventories rise and the sector switches from a seller’s to a buyer’s market.
FINSUM: The real estate market used to be less correlated, but the huge boom in urban real estate over the last decade means that all areas will probably come down together too. To recap, US home purchases have been falling at the same time as inventories have finally begun rising. It seems like a rough period is coming.
The Trump administration is exploring a new $100 bn tax cut for Americans. The plan, which is designed to potentially bypass Congress, will try to use the Treasury Department’s own power to enact the cut. The core idea of the cut is to allow investors to account for inflation when calculating capital gains. What that effectively means is that investors could walk up their basis in shares as time progresses, minimizing the taxable portion of their gains. The cuts are far from final, as Treasury head Mnuchin says he is not even sure if the Treasury has the authority to do so. Mnuchin commented on the cuts that “We are studying that internally, and we are also studying the economic costs and the impact on growth”.
FINSUM: This cut makes logical sense to us, but there is already backlash in the media that this is a major gift only to America’s wealthy.
Bad news continues to mount in the real estate market. While commercial real estate is seeing big players move out as prices are rich and inventory plentiful, residential real estate has been healthier but is just showing the first signs of strain, with inventories rising and home sales dropping. Now, more bad news. New data shows that foreign investment in US real estate is dropping quickly. In the year ended in March, sales of US homes to international buyers dropped 21% to $121 bn, the biggest ever annual drop. The drop will mostly affect high-priced US destinations like New York, San Francisco, and Miami, where foreign buyers account for a much larger percentage of the overall market, especially at the high end.
FINSUM: The bad news is starting to pile up for real estate. One wonders how a downturn might play out. Given that lending for residential real estate has been modest compared to pre-Crisis, we don’t expect this to be a grave correction.
The whole market has been waiting on today’s GDP report for weeks, and this morning it finally hit the tape. With so much anxiety about the possible impact of a trade war, coupled with the expectation that the tax cut gave the economy a big boost, it is hard to remember a time when a GDP report was more relevant. Well, the figure is in, and it is a winner—the US economy expanded at 4.1% in the second quarter.
FINSUM: This is a great number, but the issue is that it takes very little of the most recent developments—trade tensions—into a account because it is for the second quarter only. We imagine the third quarter GDP figure will be even more important.