Economic Breaker Panel: July Update

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Economic Breaker Panel – July Update

Futures are trading modestly higher this morning as investors digest the mixed set of corporate earnings releases so far this week after an otherwise quiet night of macro news.

Eurozone inflation was 1.3% vs. (E) 1.2% year/year in June, but the slightly firmer than expected print was not enough to alter the outlook for ECB policy (the euro is flat).

Today, there is one economic report to watch: Housing Starts (E: 1.260M) and one Fed official scheduled to speak: George (12:30 ET).

With news-flow considerably slower today than yesterday, investor focus will remain on earnings as the reporting season continues to pick up.

Notable releases today include: BAC ($0.70), PNC ($2.83), USB ($1.07), BK ($0.94) before the open, and NFLX ($0.56), IBM ($3.06), EBAY ($0.62), AA (-$0.34), KMI ($0.23) after the close.

Inflation Update (It’s More Important Than Trade)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Inflation Update (This Is More Important Than the Trade Drama)
  • EIA Analysis and Oil Update

Futures are decidedly weaker this morning following more hawkish trade rhetoric from President Trump overnight.

At a rally in Florida Trump said China “broke” the deal and reiterated his tariff threats.  Importantly though, nothing changed as far as actual negotiations and the Chinese trade delegation still arrives today.

Economically Chinese CPI generally met expectations at 2.5% yoy vs. (E) 2.6%.

Today the market will be held hostage again by trade headlines, but beyond the trade headlines there are two notable economic reports.

First, Jobless Claims (E: 215K) have risen lately and we’ll want to see that roll back over soon, otherwise it could be a negative signal on the jobs market.  Second, PPI (E: 0.3%), while not as important as tomorrow’s CPI, could still move markets given inflation’s new-found importance. Finally, there are three Fed speakers, Powell (8:30 a.m. ET), Bostic (10:45 a.m. ET) and Evans (1:15 p.m. ET), but none of them (including Powell) are expected to move markets.

Tom Essaye Interviewed with Bloomberg’s Daybreak Asia on April 22, 2019

Tom Essaye joined Doug Krizner and David Ingles on Daybreak Asia to discuss markets, inflation, Fed and more. Click here to listen to the entire interview.

Tom Essaye Interviewed with TD Ameritrade on April 16, 2019

“If this market’s going to continue to rally, it’s going to be led by those cyclical sectors.” Tom talks about the market, the earnings season, banks and more. Watch the full video here.

Inflation Peaking?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Is Inflation Peaking Already?

Futures are flat while overseas markets were mostly lower o/n after yesterday’s huge drop in oil weighed on risk sentiment, global data was mixed, and EU political tensions continued.

Chinese FAI and Industrial Production figures for October were slightly ahead of expectations but Retail Sales notably missed which pressured Asian shares overnight.

In Europe, the German GDP flash missed which only added to ongoing angst over Brexit and the Italian budget drama in broader European markets.

Today is the busiest day of the week as far as catalysts go. First we will get the latest inflation release in the U.S. ahead of the open: CPI (E: 0.3%), then Quarles speaks shortly thereafter (9:00 a.m. ET).

There is nothing major scheduled during market hours today but focus this evening will be on CSCO earnings ($0.72) after the close and then Powell and Kaplan are speaking in Texas at 5:00 p.m. ET (with Q&A) where Powell is expected to take a more dovish tone.

Why the October Sell Off Was Different

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why The October Sell Off Was Different
  • Valuation Update (the market is fairly valued here)

Futures are moderately lower following more disappointing Chinese economic data.

Chinese auto sales plunged 12% yoy in November and annual car sales growth turned negative for the first time since the early 1990’s, further fanning fears of a Chinese economic slowdown.

Earnings results were mixed as DIS posted solid numbers while EU corporate earnings were disappointing.

Today focus will be on inflation via PPI (E: 0.2%) and it needs to remain “Goldilocks” so as to not put more downward pressure on stocks.  We also have several Fed speakers (Williams (8:30 a.m. ET), Harker (8:50 a.m. ET), Quarles (9:00 a.m. ET)) although the next big Fed event will be Fed Chair Powell speaking on Tuesday.

Another Breaker Tripped

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Sevens Report Economic Breaker Panel – October Update: A Macro Breaker Flipped

US stock futures are slightly lower this morning as EU shares are declining on renewed concerns about Italy’s budget despite mostly good economic data overnight.

The Italian Parliamentary Budget Office raised doubts about the government’s growth forecast of 1.5% in 2019 which would ultimately mean a larger budget deficit than previously expected, and that has triggered risk-off money flows this morning.

Economically speaking however, Industrial Production data across Europe was generally better than expected and revisions were mostly positive. While that is currently being overshadowed by the Italian budget drama, it is a positive for the medium term outlook for EU markets.

Today, we get our first of two notable inflation figures this week: PPI (E: 0.2%) as well as Wholesale Trade (E: 0.8%) and there are two Fed speakers to watch: Evans over the lunch hour (12:15 p.m. ET) and Bostic after the close (6:00 p.m. ET).

Otherwise, focus will remain on bond yields and tech shares. For stocks to continue to stabilize or turn higher this week, we will need to see the former hold steady or even pullback slightly and the latter once again outperform.

Inflation Update

What’s in Today’s Report: Inflation Update


Futures are slightly lower as strong Chinese economic data was offset by U.S./China trade worries.

Chinese August Manufacturing PMI increased and beat estimates at 51.3 vs. (E) 51.0, which will ease some concern about the Chinese economy.

Regarding inflation. EU Core HICP slightly missed estimates (1.0% vs. (E) 1.1%) as inflation remains stubbornly low.  This is important because it’s going to be hard for the dollar to really breakdown without a good euro rally – and we need higher EU inflation to fuel that EU rally, and it’s just not happening.

There was no new trade news overnight but prospects of 200 bln in new tariffs next week is a headwind on markets.  Both Bloomberg and Reuters had separate reports saying the administration intends to go forward with the tariffs shortly after the comment period ends early next week.

Today there is only one economic report, Consumer Sentiment (E: 95.5), so focus will remain on trade headlines – but assuming the news wires are quiet on that topic, it should be a typically slow, pre-long weekend Friday in the markets.

To read the full analysis Go Here

Reflation Pause- Part 2, October 11, 2017

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Reflation Update Part 2—Why This Reflation Is Different

In Wednesday’s Report, we covered why the reflation trade that started again in early September has taken a pause, and the reasons are twofold.

First, the market is unclear about who the next Fed chair will be. If it’s Kevin Warsh, that will be a “hawkish” surprise and rates could rise too quickly to keep this reflation “virtuous.”

Second, it’s unclear if upcoming central bank meetings, which means primarily the ECB but secondarily the Bank of England, will be Goldilocks. If either bank is more hawkish than the market expects it could send global rates sharply higher, causing a
pullback in the broad market.

Conversely, if either bank expresses doubts about growth or inflation, it could undercut the whole reflation idea that’s propelled stocks higher.

Point being, there are some key events that need to be resolved before the reflation trade can move higher. And, frankly, that makes this 2017 version of the reflation trade unique compared to previous economic reflations, most recently from ‘03-’06.

For simplicity, the easiest analogy to describe a normal reflation trade is a beach ball. When a recession occurs, the beach ball (the economy) deflates. But, low interest rates and government stimulus act as an air pump, and eventually the beach ball (economy) reflates.

Accelerating economic growth and rising inflation (due to easy money) are the “air” that inflates our economic beach ball. From a market standpoint, economic reflations are usually wonderful things. Markets go up in concert, and the way to outperform is to add beta and be exposed to cyclical, growth-oriented sectors. During a normal reflation (the last one was in ’03-’06) everything goes up regardless of what else is going on in the world.

However, this reflation is different.

Eight years after the end of the financial crisis, our economic beach ball is only half full. That’s because we’ve pumped in the “air” of accelerating economic growth (GDP going from negative to 2.5%ish) but we haven’t pumped any “air” of inflation in, yet.

Despite that, stocks are at all-time highs. Valuations are as stretched as any of us have seen them in decades. And, now we’re very late in the typical economic cycle.

Given that, barring some big surprise on tax cuts or infrastructure spending, it’s unlikely that we’re going to see a material acceleration of economic growth. In reality, 3.5% – 4% GDP growth is quasi impossible given demographics in this country—specifically the large demographic of baby boomers entering retirement, and them being replaced by a smaller workforce.

Getting back to our beach ball analogy, if inflation finally accelerates there will be a shorter time of euphoria—as the other half of our beach ball inflates. We got a hint of that in September.

But given valuations, stock prices and economic growth all are at or nearing reasonable ceilings, the risk is that after a short bit, the “air” from rising inflation over inflates our economic beach ball, and a bubble (or multiple bubbles) develop and we burst the ball. Practically, what I’m talking about is the Fed hiking rates and inverting the yield curve, which would be our signal that the beginning of the end of this eight-year expansion is now upon us.

From an advisor or investor standpoint, this creates a difficult set up. For now, we must continue to be invested and, potentially, allocate to the reflation sectors. Yet we also must do so knowing that unlike most revelations, we’re not going to enjoy an easy rally that lasts years.

So, the now years-long game of market musical chairs continues, albeit with a potentially reflation accelerating the pace of the music. For shorter or more tactical investors, holding “Reflation Basket” allocations makes sense as we approach and navigate these upcoming events.

For longer-term investors, we continue to await confirmation from the 10-year yield that this reflation truly is upon us. A few closes above the 2.40% level will be the signal, in our opinion, to rotate out of defensive names and into part or all of our Reflation Basket—Banks (KRE/KBE/EUFN), industrials (XLI), small caps (IWM) and inverse bond funds (TBT/TBF).

Bottom line, at this point in the economic cycle, for stocks to move materially higher we need inflation to accelerate and cause that reflation trade, but weneed to realize that brings us one step closer to the ultimate “bursting” of the recovery. This market remains more dangerous over the medium/longer term than the low VIX would imply.

Cut through the noise and understand what’s truly driving markets, as this new political and economic reality evolves. The Sevens Report is the daily market cheat sheet our subscribers use to keep up on markets, seize opportunities, avoid risks and get more assets. Sign up for your free two-week trial today and see the difference 7 minutes can make. 

Reflation Pause, October 20, 2017

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Why Is the Reflation Rebound Pausing? Because It Should. Here’s Why…

After surging basically from Sept. 11 through Friday’s jobs report, the reflation rebound has taken a pause for the last few days, and I wanted to provide a comprehensive update of:

1) Where we are in the reflation process and specifically the key catalysts that are looming in the near future and that are causing this pause, and

2) Explain why this reflation trade is different from others, and requires A) A more tactical allocation to get the outperformance we all want, and B) Greater patience on the part of longer-term investors before abandoning what’s worked so well in 2017 and allocating to more reflation-oriented sectors.

Due to space constraints, I’m going to break this up into two parts covered today and tomorrow.

Reflation Update Part 1: Where Are We, and What Will Decide Whether It’s Going to Continue?

We’ve been saying since the July Fed meeting that inflation was now the most important economic statistic, and that markets needed inflation to start to rise to help fuel a “reflation rebound.”

Well, during the week between Sept. 11 and Sept. 15, Chinese, British and US CPIs beat expectations, and combined with an uptick in global economic activity, caused tactical investors to rotate into tactical sectors (banks, energy, industrials, small caps, inverse bond funds).

And, we were early on identifying that switch, and our “Reflation Basket” has outperformed the markets since we re-iterated it for short- and medium-term investors in the Sept. 21 Report.

However, also in that Report we cautioned longer-term and less-agile investors to wait for clear confirmation that the reflation rebound had started, and we identified two keys. The first was the KBW Bank Index closing above 100. This occurred both Monday and Tuesday. The second was the 10-year yield breaking above 2.40%.This has yet to happened.

So, while much of the mainstream financial press is now pumping the reflation trade (a month after it started) we’re acknowledging that it’s paused. Practically, that means we’re holding (not adding to) our “Reflation Basket” of KRE/KBE/IWM/EUFN/XLI/TBT/TBF, and think shorter-term/tactical investors should too.

I say that because I believe the first stage of this reflation trade is now complete, and in the next three weeks we will see two key events that will decide whether this reflation extends into November, pauses longer or potentially back tracks.

Near-Term Reflation Catalyst #1: ECB Meeting. Thursday, Oct. 26. Why it’s Important: As we’ve covered, markets have enjoyed a “virtuous” reflation recently because 1) Economic data has been good, but 2) Not so good that it’s causing global central banks to hike rates faster than expected.

Markets have a general expectation of what ECB tapering of QE will look like (somewhere around 20B per month) but we’ll get the details at this October ECB meeting.

If the ECB is more hawkish than expected, that could potentially send yields too high, too fast, and kill the
“virtuous” reflation. If that happened, banks and inverse bond ETFs would rally, but everything else would fall.

Conversely, if the ECB is too dovish, then markets might lose confidence in the reflation itself, and that would become a headwind.

Bottom line, the ECB needs to release a taper schedule that implies confidence in the economy and inflation, but that also isn’t so aggressive it kills the “virtuous” reflation rally.

Near-Term Reflation Catalyst #2: Fed Chair Decision.
The fact that President Trump will name a potentially new Fed chair in the next two weeks has been somewhat lost amidst the never-ending (and seemingly everescalating) Washington drama.

Right now, it’s widely believed there are three front runners: Kevin Warsh, Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen.

If Yellen is reappointed (and that’s seeming increasingly unlikely) then clearly that won’t cause any ripples in the reflation trade, and we can go back to watching inflation and yields. However, if one of the other two are appointed, things get interesting.

Warsh is considered the biggest “hawk” of the group,and if he becomes Fed chair we may see yields rise sharply, potentially endangering the “virtuous” reflation.

Powell is viewed as in the middle of the other two—not as dovish as Yellen, but not as hawkish as Warsh. But, it’s reasonable to assume that a Powell appointment would put at least some mild upward pressure on Treasury yields. It likely wouldn’t be enough to spur a killing of the “virtuous” reflation, but it would be cause for a pause in the move.

Cut through the noise and understand what’s truly driving markets, as this new political and economic reality evolves. The Sevens Report is the daily market cheat sheet our subscribers use to keep up on markets, seize opportunities, avoid risks and get more assets. Sign up for your free two-week trial today and see the difference 7 minutes can make.