Is There an Opportunity in Defensive Sectors?

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What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Have Defensive Sectors Traded So Poorly and Is There an Opportunity There?
  • Chart: 10-Yr Treasury Note Futures Imply Potential Reversal Lower in Benchmark Yields

U.S. stock futures are tracking global equity markets higher this morning. As investors welcome a sizeable drop in bond yields and new stimulus plans by China.

Bloomberg reported overnight that China may issue 1T yuan in debt to be used for infrastructure projects in order to help the economy meet the government’s annual growth targets. The news is alleviating some lingering concerns about the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

There are no economic reports today which will leave the market focused on more Fed speakers: Bostic, Waller, Kashkari, and Daly, and the subsequent reaction from bond markets.

Additionally, the Treasury will hold auctions for 3 and 6-month Bills at 11:30 a.m. ET and 3-Yr Notes at 1:00 p.m. ET that could impact yields.

Bottom line, the rise in Treasury futures (implying lower yields) yesterday when bond markets were closed for Columbus Day was a major factor supporting the rally in stocks, and how yields move today as fixed income markets open for the week will likely dictate the price action in stocks.

Is There an Opportunity in Defensive Sectors?

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Economic Data Fueled the Rally

Why Economic Data Fueled the Rally: Strengthen your market knowledge with a free trial of The Sevens Report.

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Yesterday’s Economic Data Fueled the Rally
  • An Important Chart (On Page One)

Futures are slightly higher on more Chinese economic optimism as data was better than expected while Chinese officials announced more stimulus.

Chinese Retail Sales (4.6% vs. (E) 3.9%) and Industrial Production (4.5% vs. (E) 3.9%) beat expectations while authorities injected 120 billion yuan into a lending facility.

Today’s focus will be on economic data and if data is “Goldilocks” like we saw on Thursday, expect a continuation of yesterday’s rally.  Conversely, if the data shows inflation hot or growth slowing, the markets could give back most of yesterday’s rally.

Also, the important reports to watch today include:  Empire State Manufacturing Index (E: -10.0), Import and Export Prices (E: 0.3%, 0.4%), Industrial Production (E: 0.1%), and Consumer Sentiment (E: 69.2).

Finally, today is quadruple witching options expiration so don’t be surprised by big volumes and increased volatility during the final hour of trading.

Economic Data

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Why Have Markets Become Volatile?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Have Markets Become Volatile?
  • Weekly Market Preview:  Are the Three Pillars of the Rally Under Attack?
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  Key Growth and Jobs Data This Week

Futures are slightly higher following more small stimulus steps from Chinese authorities, as investors look ahead to an important week of economic data.

Chinese authorities reduced the stamp tax on stock investment, providing a small economic tailwind and boost to Chinese stock prices.

Economically, the only notable number was the EU Money Supply (M3) and the number was bad as M3 declined –0.4% vs. (E) 0.6%.

Today there are no notable economic reports so markets will focus on the tech sector to see if it can continue to stabilize after last Thursday’s ugly reversal.

What Pushes Stocks Higher from Here?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What Pushes Stocks Higher from Here?
  • Weekly Market Preview:  Earnings Take Center Stage
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  Growth Data in Focus this Week

Futures are slightly lower following mixed Chinese economic data and a potential further escalation of the Russia/Ukraine war.

Chinese economic data was mixed as GDP and Retail Sales both missed estimates, while Industrial Production beat, and the data will keep markets  wanting more stimulus.

Possibility of further escalation of the Russia/Ukraine war increased after Ukraine claimed responsibility for the destruction of a bridge linking Crimea and Russia.

Today focus will be on the first data point for July, the Empire Manufacturing Index (E: -4.3).  Markets will want to see this number be stronger than expectations and ideally turn positive, furthering the “Golidlocks” market narrative of falling inflation but stable growth.

Fed Decision Takeaways

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What the Fed Decision Means for Markets
  • FOMC Decision Takeaways
  • Oil Update – Resilient Demand Offset By Fed Policy Worries

U.S. equity futures are lower as the Fed decision continues to be digested while global economic data largely missed expectations overnight.

Economically, Chinese data was universally disappointing with Industrial Production and Retail Sales both missing estimates while EU trade data showed that imports and exports both declined by more than anticipated. China’s central bank cut rates further overnight, however, which saw risk assets in Asia recover to end with gains.

Looking into today’s session, the ECB decision will be in focus this morning (E: +25bp hike) followed by President Lagarde’s press conference. If the ECB is seen as hawkish, it will likely weigh on stocks and other risk assets as it will show central bankers are not yet satisfied with the trends in inflation and more aggressive policy is likely in the months ahead.

In the U.S., there is a slew of economic data due to be released including: Jobless Claims (E: 250K), Retail Sales (E: 0.0%), Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index (E: -13.2), Empire State Manufacturing Index (E: -15.1), Import & Export Prices (E: -0.6%, -0.5%), and Industrial Production (E: 0.1%).

And with the Fed leaving future policy plans largely “open” and dependent on economic data, the market will want to see more “Goldilocks” trends with slowing growth and a more rapid decline in price readings.


Sevens Report Alpha: Artificial Intelligence Issue

This week’s Alpha issue focused on a very popular market topic:  Artificial Intelligence.

This issue was an update to a March 7th Alpha issue on AI, and the three ETFs we profiled in that report have risen 20%, 17%, and 14%, respectively in just three months! 

This week’s AI issue updated and expanded that research as we:

  • Reviewed and updated the research on our previous AI ETF picks.
  • Introduced two new AI-focused ETFs that are both up more than 30% YTD.
  • Included a proprietary spreadsheet of 30 AI stocks and categorized them by: Sector, Market Cap, Price/Earnings ratio, Price/Sales ratio, Revenue, and Performance.

If you’d like to start a risk-free trial subscription to Sevens Report Alpha and access the latest AI issue, and all previous Alpha issues and webinars since 2017, please email

We do ask that you pay the $330 quarterly subscription fee, but there is a 30 day money back guarantee, so you risk nothing to try the product.  

To learn more about Sevens Report Alpha, click this link. 

FOMC Preview (Watch the Dots)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • FOMC Preview (Watch the Dots)
  • Why Yesterday’s CPI Boosted the “Growth On” Trade
  • Gold Update:  Are the 2023 Highs Already In?

Futures are modestly higher following a quiet night of news as markets look ahead to the FOMC decision and expected pause in rate hikes.

Economic data was mixed overnight as UK Industrial Production missed estimates (-0.3% vs. (E) -0.1% in manufacturing) while Euro Zone IP slightly beat (1.0% vs. (E) 0.9%), but neither number is moving markets.

Today focus will be on the FOMC Decision and the consensus expectation is that the Fed will pause.  But, it’s not clear how many additional 2023 rate hikes the “dots” will show, and that will determine if the Fed decision is hawkish or dovish (more on that inside).

Away from the Fed we also get the May PPI (E: -0.1% m/m, 1.6% y/y) and Core PPI (E: 0.2% m/m, 2.9% y/y) and if this metric comes in under expectations that’ll boost the “Immaculate Disinflation” expectation and should help cyclical sectors extend the rally.

What the BOC Rate Hike Means for U.S. Interest Rates

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What the BOC Rate Hike Means for U.S. Interest Rates

Futures are little changed despite more economic stimulus from China.

The Chinese government cut bank deposit rates and encouraged lending to boost auto sales in the latest effort to stimulate the economy, although the moves were already expected so this isn’t a new, positive surprise.

Economic data was sparse overnight with Japanese and EU GDPs the only notable releases, and neither number moved markets.

Today the only notable economic report is Jobless Claims (E: 235K) and markets will want to see stability in the data (so no sudden jump higher), but more broadly markets remain in a temporary “holding pattern” with the CPI report and Fed decision now both looming less than a week away.

Four Debt Ceiling Deal Takeaways

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What the Debt Ceiling Deal Means for Markets (Four Takeaways)
  • Case-Shiller Home Price Index Comes in Hotter than Expected
  • Chart: Growth Breaks Out Over Value

Stock futures are modestly lower this morning as soft Composite PMI data in China overshadowed easing inflation numbers in Europe overnight while traders await a House vote on the new debt-limit bill.

China’s Composite PMI fell to 52.9 in May down from 54.4 in April which confirmed that the economic recovery in the world’s second largest economy is underwhelming investor expectations which were admittedly lofty coming into the year.

In Europe, French CPI dropped to 5.1% vs. (E) 5.7% y/y in May and PPI plunged to 7.0% vs. (E) 12.8% which is driving some less-hawkish money flows this morning, supporting a bid in global bond markets.

Looking into today’s session, there are two economic reports to watch: Chicago PMI (E: 47.0) and JOLTS (E: 9.35 million). Investors will want to see some moderation in the data but still not a sharp drop-off in either growth or employment as that would rekindle worries of a hard landing and weigh on risk assets.

There are also multiple Fed speakers including: Collins (8:50 a.m. ET, 12:20 p.m. ET), Harker (1:30 p.m. ET) and Jefferson (1:30 p.m. ET). And given the hawkish shift in Fed rate hike odds over the last few days, a more dovish leaning tone from any of the policy makers would be well received.

Finally, the House is set to vote on the debt limit bill today and Republican Representatives have said this morning that they have the votes to pass it. If that comes to fruition, that should remove a headwind from risk assets and open the door to a continued move higher in equity markets.

Tom Essaye Quoted in Bloomberg Quint on January 4, 2022

U.S. Stocks Start 2022 at Record; Treasuries Fall: Markets Wrap

Bottom line, the outlook is positive for stocks, but the removal of stimulus…wrote Tom Essaye, a former Merrill Lynch trader who founded “The Sevens Report” newsletter. Click here to read the full article.

Bloomberg Quint_300x250

Tom Essaye Quoted in Courthouse News Service on March 5, 2021

According to Tom Essaye of the Sevens Report, the core issue with bond yields has been economic growth. “Due to economic re-openings, stimulus, and vaccine optimism, global investors are pricing in a huge jump…” he wrote in a Thursday investor’s note. Click here to read the full article.