Free Editorial

2016 Preview Part II: $US, China and Oil

From the January 31, 2016 HRA Journal: Issue 245-246

This is the second of three parts of the 2016 preview that appeared in HRA Journal Issue 245-246.  This part deals with the outlook for the US Dollar, China and oil.  The final section, dealing with several metals, will be issued shortly.

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2016 Preview Part I; Markets

From the January 31, 2016 HRA Journal: Issue 245-246

It’s been a wild month, and a busy one.   It’s convention season in Vancouver and elsewhere.  I’m finishing this issue at conference number four for me in the past 10 days.  That will be it for a month though so things should get back on track.

This is a long double issue.  I’d recommend a pot of coffee.  I’ve laid out my thoughts on what I think several markets and commodities will do this year.  That gives me a chance to be wrong on multiple levels.

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2016 Preview Part III; Metals

From the January 31, 2016 HRA Journal: Issue 245-246

This is the third of three parts of the 2016 preview that appeared in HRA Journal Issue 245-246.  This part deals with the outlook for various metals.  The assumptions about what the economy will do (see Part I) underlie the discussions on metals though each has unique supply/demand issues. In most cases the supply demand balance looked better than expected though, obviously, market sentiment will drive markets short term.  Volatility will be high.

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Yellen Comes Down the Chimney

From the December 31, 2015 HRA Journal: Issue 244

You heard it from Janet Yellen.  “Economic expansions (and by extension bull markets) don’t die of old age.”  That’s true.   But they do die from excess, policy mistakes and Wall St Stoopid. 

Seven years of zero interest rates have created plenty of capital misallocation, mal-investment and yield chasing.  We’ve seen some minor debacles in the high yield space this month.  Nothing earth shattering but certainly disquieting. Big problems often start small and go unnoticed until the tsunami is on the horizon.  Keep an eye on bonds.  The credit market funds a large percentage of the buying underpinned the bull market.  We’ve got a problem if it stops.

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Year-End Inflection Points: Dead Ahead

From the December 2, 2015 HRA Journal: Issue 243

Over to you, Draghi and Yellen.

This month, like many other months recently it’s the intentions of central bankers that are dominating the markets.   It’s widely expected that the ECB and US Fed will drift even further apart in their basic policy stances this month.   I’m pretty sure that view will turn out to be correct though as always the devil will be in the details.

Increasing certainty about upcoming policy moves has traders increasingly certain about how different markets will move and they are placing bets accordingly.   Traders in New York are expecting Santa to deliver new all-time highs.   He may grant that wish on momentum alone but if we get many more sub-par economic readings the jolly old elf may decide to break out the coal lumps to stuff stockings with.

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Janet's Kool-Aid Stand

From the November 10, 2015 HRA Journal: Issue 242

It’s all good.  Just ask Janet Yellen or any hawkish Federal Reserve board member.  Indeed, there have been some better readings on the US economy lately but things are far from outstanding. 

Plenty of equity traders suddenly expect new highs on the major markets any day now.  The bond market is pricing in 70%+ probability of a December rate hike.  This time around markets are not jittery because the Fed has assured us offshore problems won’t touch the US.  Let’s hope they are more right about that than they were four short months ago.

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Bad News Is Good News. For Now.

From the October 21, 2015 HRA Journal: Issue 241

Since the last issue the “optimistic scenario” has been the clear winner.  Traders continue to expect the Fed to hold off.  That has been enough to keep NY trending higher though the trajectory is flattening out.  Economic readings haven’t improved.  It will take plenty of upside surprises though earning season to keep the trend alive.

The trend has been more evident in Europe, Japan and China. All released weak readings and all have traders that expect their respective central bankers to refill the punchbowl.  Let’s hope they do.

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A Fork in the Road?

From the October 4, 2015 HRA Journal: Issue 240

Oy, that Coffin!  More indecision?  ‘Fraid so.  I still see a bear market confirmed before year end as the likely scenario. But, as of a couple of days ago there is a new storyline in town.  This new one involves the Fed throwing up its hands and giving up on the idea of raising interest rates.  That’s not what Fed governors are saying but it’s what an increasing number of traders believe.

I don’t believe the new storyline yet myself and I don’t expect the Fed to admit to it if they do.  Unfortunately, the Fed now has less credibility than a Baptist preacher in a whorehouse.  They brought that on themselves by wimping out repeatedly in the past two years so I’m not sympathetic. If the trend in earnings and GDP I discussed in the main editorial comes to pass the Fed’s hand will be stayed no matter what they want. 

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Remain Calm and Move Quietly Towards the Exit

From the September 15, 2015 HRA Journal: Issue 238-239 

I did a lot of agonizing about this month’s main editorial and, truth to tell, I’m still partially on the fence about the market’s major direction.  I think the odds of a drop of bear market (20% plus) proportions is very high right now, I’m just not sure how fast it will happen.

If the US Fed really fumbles at the next meeting for instance hiking rates without clearly enunciating it won’t do it again for quite a while we could see the next down leg in days.   If the Fed stands pat and does a great job of calming nerves that may put off further drops but I think the relief will be fairly temporary.  I see no reason to think we won’t see another quarter of lower profits and perhaps lower revenues as we move through Q3 reporting next month.  Barring some sort of valuation voodoo I don’t think the market can hold up to three of those in a row.   

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A Cold Wind from the East

From the August 17, 2015 HRA Journal: Issue 237

Well, that wasn’t fun.  Gold plunged through $1140 and toyed with $1080 for three weeks before making a small comeback.  You can make a case the drop and the reaction to it being the “capitulation event” we’ve been waiting for but I’m not totally sold on that.   I still want to see that first Fed rate hike next month which  I think is more likely to mark a bottom though the longer gold holds above $1100 the stronger the case for the last plunge being “it”.

China provided the black swan with its Yuan depreciation.  How far that goes remains to be seen.  Beijing is managing the Shanghai market “well” so maybe it has the same luck with the currency. 

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