A New Risk For Bond Portfolios?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Powell’s Senate Testimony Takeaways (Not a Dovish Catalyst Near Term)
  • Did the Fed Quietly Make A Long Term Policy Change? (It Means Higher Inflation Could Be Coming)

Futures are marginally lower following the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan.  Outside of geo-politics, it was a quiet night.

Pakistan reportedly shot down two Indian fighter jets and carried out air strikes in Kashmir in the biggest uptick in tensions between the two nuclear nations in decades.

Economic data was spare as Euro Zone money supply slightly missed estimates (3.9% vs. (E) 4.0%).

Today the media headlines will focus on the Cohen testimony and the Trump/Kim summit in Vietnam, but neither event will impact markets.

So, we’ll remain focused on Powell’s House Financial Services Committee Testimony (10:00 a.m. ET) to see if there are any more clues about balance sheet reduction, and we’ll also watch Pending Home Sales (E: 0.9%) for any signs of stabilization in housing.

What a Trade Deal Means for the Rally

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What a U.S. – China Trade Deal Means for the Rally

Futures are down modestly and international shares were broadly lower overnight as the recent rally in global stocks is being digested after a mostly quiet start to the week.

The German GfK Consumer Climate report was in-line with estimates at 10.8 for the month of March which offers at least some mild hope for an EU economic rebound in Q1.

Today, investors are going to be primarily focused on Fed Chair Powell’s testimony before Congress that begins at 10:00 a.m. ET with his prepared remarks due to be released at 9:45 a.m. ET.

While Powell cannot take a much more dovish tone than he already has so far in 2019, it is important he at the very least stays as dovish, as any hawkish shifts in rhetoric could spook markets, especially given how far stocks have rallied in recent weeks.

There are a handful of economic releases that are also due out this morning that could move markets: Housing Starts (E: 1.255M), S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller HPI (E: 0.4%), FHFA House Price Index (E: 0.4%), and Consumer Confidence (E: 125.0).

Why QT Matters to This Market

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why QT Matters To This Market

Futures are flat as more reports of an impending U.S./China trade deal offset disappointing economic data.

Japanese & EU flash manufacturing PMIs both fell below 50 in February.  The Japanese PMI dropped to 48.5 while the EU reading fell to 49.2 (vs. (E) 50.4).

Multiple media outlets reported a U.S./China trade deal is almost done, but we don’t know if tariffs will be reduced.

Today focus will be on economic data as we get several potentially important reports.  They are, in order of importance:  Flash Composite PMI (E: 54.4), Philly Fed Mfg Index (E: 14.0), Durable Goods (E: 1.0%), Jobless Claims (E: 225k),  Existing Home Sales (E: 5.04M).

If the data is good, that will fuel a further rally towards 2800 in the S&P 500, although I don’t think good data today will be enough to get us through that level (it’ll take more dovish Fed commentary on the balance sheet to do that in the near term).

Valuation Update

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Valuation Update – What Will Cause a Further Rally?
  • Weekly Market Preview
  • Updated Economic Outlook

Futures are modestly lower this morning as last week’s gains are digested following a quiet holiday weekend.

There were no US-China trade developments since Friday however negotiations are set to resume in Washington this week.

Economically, the British Labour Market Report largely met expectations while the headline to the German ZEW Survey for February fell to a more than 4-year low, underscoring analysts concerns about German growth expectations.

Looking ahead to the U.S. session today, there is one Fed speaker ahead of the open: Mester (8:50 a.m. ET) and one economic report due out in the first hour of trade: Housing Market Index (E: 59.0).

The market’s main focus will continue to be U.S. – China trade negotiations as a successful deal or at the very least extension to the next tariff deadline (March 1st) has largely been priced into stocks at current levels, so any renewed tensions could hit stocks, potentially hard, in the coming sessions.

Tom Essaye quoted in CNBC

Sevens Report’s Tom Essaye quoted in CNBC on February 13, 2019.

“Markets always assumed the March 1 trade deadline was flexible, but this just confirmed it. Bottom line, the fundamentals are roughly balanced right now as there is…” Click here to read the full article.

Time to Chase Stocks? Not So Fast

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Time to Chase Stocks? Not So Fast.

Money flows were risk-on overnight thanks to continued trade-war optimism but stock futures are off the highs following more soft economic data overseas.

Trump said he would push back the March 1st tariff deadline, which was previously considered a “hard date,” if there is “good progress” towards a trade deal at that time while President Xi is now expected to attend talks on Friday. Both are incremental positives for the prospects of a successful deal.

Economic data out overnight was less optimistic however. EU Industrial Production fell –4.2% vs. (E) -3.2% Y/Y in December which is just the latest release fueling concerns about a global economic slowdown.

Today, the January CPI Report (E: 0.1%) will be watched closely ahead of the open while there are several Fed speakers before lunch: Bostic (7:15 a.m. ET), Mester (8:50 a.m. ET), Harker (12:00 p.m. ET).

The major focus of the market right now however remains the trade negotiations in Beijing and stocks will be most sensitive to any material headlines regarding the ongoing talks.

Repeat of 2015/2016?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Is this a Repeat of 2015/2016?

Futures are slightly lower as Trump’s SOTU was a non-event for markets while growth concerns continue in the wake of soft data o/n and earnings were mixed since yesterday’s close.

German Manufacturers’ Orders fell –7.0% y/y in December from –3.4% in November, the lowest reading since 2012, which is weighing modestly on EU shares in morning trade.

Looking ahead to today’s Wall Street session we are likely to see more digestion as there are limited catalysts.

There are two, second-tiered economic reports due out: International Trade (-$53.9B) and Productivity and Costs (E: 1.6%, 1.7%) while on the Fed front, Powell is scheduled to speak after the close (7:00 p.m. ET) but his remarks will be watched closely and could move markets after hours tonight.

Lastly, earnings season is winding down but there are still a few notables to watch today: GM ($1.21) and FDC ($0.37) before the open and CMG ($1.19) after the close.

Tom Essaye quoted in CNBC

Tom Essaye quoted in CNBC on February 4, 2019.

“Part of the reason that the market reacted so positively to the earnings is because expectations had fallen into this earnings season. From a sentiment perspective, it was definitely better than…” Read the full article here.

What’s Next for Markets

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why We Still Think Stocks Are in a Trading Range (And We’re Near the Top)
  • Two Indicators That Would Make Us More Bullish on Stocks (In the Currency & Bond Section)
  • Weekly Market Preview
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet

Futures are flat following a very quiet weekend of no incremental news (the weekend news flow was similar to the scoring in the first half of the super bowl).

The only notable economic report was Chinese Service PMI which met expectations at 53.6 vs. (E) 53.9.  But, the composite PMI still dropped to 50.9 vs. the previous 52.2 so there are still legitimate reasons to worry about Chinese, and global, economic growth.

Today there are no notable economic reports and the only notable earnings report comes after the close (GOOGL ($11.08)) so I’d expect a generally quiet trading day as investors digest the recent rally/news.

Tyler Richey Quoted in MarketWatch on January 25, 2019

Tyler Richey, co-editor of the Sevens Report Quoted in MarketWatch on January 25, 2019. His take on this market, natural gas, volatility and more. Read the full article here.