This Week’s Message: Recession Odds Very Low

Well, here we go. To say the least, we’ve got some interesting, exciting, what have you, times ahead. My aim herein is to not inject politics — other than their impact on financial markets — into the discussion. My aim is to report to you how the world looks within the context of markets and economies.

So, with that in mind, here are the titles of what I’ve stored so far in my January 2017 Current Trends File:

  • U.S. consumer confidence, per Conference Board, highest since 2001
  • U.S. housing prices rise most in 2 years
  • China’s economy remains in decent shape
  • Bearish options activity in treasuries
  • South Korea industrial production shows strong gains
  • Spike in consumer optimism bodes well for the market
  • France’s Manufacturing ISM in expansion territory
  • China’s factor index best in 4 years
  • Germany’s Maufacturing PMI beats estimates and tells strong story going forward
  • India has issues, but underneath the service I see a good setup
  • Excess ship capacity compromises the Baltic Dry Index as an economic indicator
  • China’s Manufacturing PMI looks good
  • Manufacturing in U.S. expanding at fastest pace in 2 years
  • Foreign money not supporting U.S. treasuries
  • Euro Zone economy looks good
  • Japan Manufacturing PMI at 12-month high
  • 2016 was record year for auto sales, December was best month since 2005
  • U.S. consumer spending number highest since May
  • The Fed is optimistic, yet in wait and see mode
  • Refinances tank, purchase apps down 2% on the week
  • U.S. construction spending up in December, across the board
  • U.S. Manufacturing PMI strong
  • U.S. Manufacturing ISM very strong, highest new orders reading of the cycle
  • A repatriation tax deal will likely lead to more share buybacks
  • Australia’s service sector surged in December
  • Rally in commodities helping Canadian market
  • U.S. Services ISM beat expectations
  • A trade war is a no-brainer if Trump makes good on import tax
  • December jobs number was okay, wage growth highest level of the expansion
  • Young people are piling into the workforce, which speaks positively of the economy going forward
  • Lower credit quality stocks outperforming
  • China’s PPI surging while CPI remains basically flat
  • France’s output growth accelerating
  • Brazil retail sales improving
  • Ironically, Trump strong-arming autos should lead to greater push to replace people with robots
  • PPI rising with rising global industrial activity
  • Companies (their execs) themselves are more optimistic than analysts going into earnings season
  • Analysts expect good earnings results from financials and energy, bad from healthcare and staples
  • S&P’s price to book ratio at 9-year high
  • India index at 2-month high and moved above 200 dma
  • India’s bank note ban was a killer for vehicle sales (-19%)… I see the ban’s hit to stocks as an opportunity to enter a really good long-term story
  • Fiscal, along with monetary, stimulus will be Modi’s answer to the bill ban
  • Big decline in South Korea unemployment
  • Europe’s economy really looking up
  • Mortgage apps starting the year off very strong
  • U.S. small businesses showing highest optimism in 12 years
  • Huge risk in bonds according to Barclays U.S. Aggregate Modified duration index
  • Advisor sentiment dropped a little last month, but still too high for comfort, historically-speaking
  • China engaged in quiet QE
  • India’s industrial production surges… and its market showing long-term technical strength
  • Industrial production in Euro Zone crushing expectations
  • Short interest on the decline
  • Big jumps in small business optimism tend to be followed by rising stock prices
  • Online retail sales continue to grow, and take their toll on brick and mortar
  • Unemployment claims remain at historically very low level
  • AAII bullish sentiment plateauing
  • Shorts covered big time in December
  • End-of-Trump-rally calls are a positive sign for the market going forward
  • Japan’s capex prospects look good
  • TPP partners will forge a trade pact with or without the U.S.
  • Labor market strong, per the JOLTS report
  • Big build in wholesale inventories.. good if demand is there, bad for production if it’s not
  • Businesses don’t see huge inflation coming
  • Import/export prices signal hope of a little inflation, although it’s still mostly about energy
  • U.S. PPI improving, but not running away with itself
  • Empire State Manufacturing Survey was decent, with real positives in the details
  • German industry is optimistic about the next 6 months
  • German institutional investors’ economic optimism higher, but missing expectations
  • Euro Zone economic optimism higher, but missing expectations
  • Euro Zone corporate credit demand softening, which doesn’t jibe with sentiment surveys
  • China opening up to foreign direct investment
  • U.S. industrial production and capacity utilization uninspiring in December
  • Mortgage purchase apps dipped .5% Jan 13 week
  • U.S. CPI on the rise, largely due to energy base effect, but housing is contributing as well
  • Home builder optimism down from last month, but still notable positive overall
  • Optimism rising in India, despite downgrades to economic outlook
  • November saw foreign capital flows into the U.S. via MBS from private sectors.. Treasuries saw big selling by governments. Equities saw net outflows
  • China was the biggest seller of U.S. treasuries in November
  • U.S. jobless claims remain phenomenally low
  • U.S. consumers most optimistic in 15 years
  • Gasoline inventories up, demand down
  • Housing starts miss for single family, however, permits jumped notably
  • Notable drop in investor sentiment the week of Jan 18
  • The Mexican Peso rallied big time on Trump’s inauguration speech, interesting!
Bottom line: based on the data we presently have at our disposal, the odds of a global recession in the near future are exceptionally low.
Have a great weekend!
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