Morning Note: Tough Times Yield Good Things, If…..

Asian equities traded mostly higher overnight, with 12 of the 16 markets we track closing in the green. Europe’s limping a bit into the U.S. session this morning, with 9 of the 19 bourses we track trading lower. U.S. stocks are (save for small caps) once again catching an early bid: Dow up 190 points (0.69%), S&P 500 up 0.51%, Nasdaq up 0.16%, Russell 2000 down -0.45%.

The VIX (SP500 implied volatility) is down -7.67%. VXN (Nasdaq vol) is down -4.38%. Now, don’t be fooled by those steep declines in the pricing of volatility, 27.48 and 36.35 respectively are very precarious levels for stocks broadly.

Oil futures are up 1.26%, gold’s up 0.32%, silver’s up 1.13%, copper futures are up 1.68% and the ag complex is up 0.51%.

The 10-year treasury, however, isn’t showing this morning’s glow; price up/yield down 1.94% (to 0.67%). The dollar’s off a titch as I type.

Our core portfolio is starting off the session green, besting a bit the broad U.S. equity market, up 0.64%, with base metals, industrial stocks, materials stocks, Eurozone and Asia-Pac stocks leading the way. Only 3 of our 18 positions find themselves in the red (barely so) thus far: They would be the yen, tech and utilities stocks.

Keeping it brief again this morning I’ll close with this from Robert Gordon’s eye-opening book The Rise and Fall of American Growth: Reminding us that really good things tend to emerge from really tough times. Well, if (big “IF” these days), that is, we allow things to play themselves out:

“…focus on the 1920s as the breakthrough decade misses the fact that the full force of the expansion of modern equipment, not just in manufacturing, but also in the rest of the economy, was centered in the years 1929–50. Economists are so distracted by the unprecedented slump in output during the depressed years of the 1930s that they forget how much innovation occurred in that decade. Alex Field is responsible for the revival of interest in 1930s innovation, and the present book provides evidence of rapid progress during that decade in many dimensions, including radio, the quality of motion pictures, and a sharp jump in the quality of motor vehicles.”

Next up our weekly macro update…

Have a great day!


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