Outlook for November 2016

We are well into the last quarter of the year and corporate earnings season is demonstrating some telling signs of the overall state of the economy. Some sectors are chugging along just as usual, but things do not look good for some sectors such as Cons Disc or Industrial. The adjusted EPS numbers continue to temper investors’ emotions and stopping them from dumping the stocks and anemic growth. Meanwhile, M&A deals have been roaring as the companies flush with cheap access to cash continue destroying shareholder value. M&A deals always increase late in the cycle as corporate boards flush with cash try to bump their falling revenues and earnings with desperate need to prop up stock prices. These moves are as predictable as they come.

On the central banks front, its business as usual. Lots of circular reasoning and lost credibility from the Broken Fed as they fail to raise rates again while passing hawkish and dovish comments every other day. In central bank world, devoid of any reason and completely disconnected from reality, everything appears normal. Current expectations remain that the Fed will raise the rates in December (based on bond market probability matrix). However, it was very interesting to note that Yellen used the words “high-pressure economy”, which is an indication that the rise in interest rates may not be as rapid as previously perceived and/or showing some doubt on even raising rates. Any increase in interest rates will bring immense turmoil into the markets as it has a cascading effect on bond markets, stock markets, currency markets and the commodity markets. All eyes will be focused on the Fed.

Other central bankers seem to be heading the other way as they are more in tune with the problems in their respective economies. The Bank of Canada, for the first time in a while gave some clear indication that the monetary policy could see further easing – potentially a rate cut from the current 0.5% in their October Policy Report.

I continue to watch from the sidelines and hoard cash waiting for the fat pitches. I am the least bit interested in staying fully invested here and make a measly 1% or 2%. I continue liquidating more of my riskier assets and purchase hard assets instead – which should provide some shelter and see benefit during the coming turmoil.

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Outlook for October 2016

The third quarter for 2016 finally comes to an end and it will be interesting to note how companies have performed. Most companies have had falling earnings for a few quarters now, but the stock buybacks have kept the stock prices buoyant, portraying a better than actual EPS number. However, the buybacks appear to have peaked and slowed down a bit according to research from FactSet. This, and when you consider that the earnings numbers put forward by companies do not even conform to standard accounting practices just stinks of an massive con in the equity markets. Income Surfer has already brought our attention to this fact last quarter, so I will point you to the post “This Quarter Has Been Adjusted” instead of repeating it all here. Whether this will translate to the fireworks we’ve been expecting now or will we have to wait a few more months? I have no idea…but I remain hopeful that the market will provide some great opportunities in the coming weeks/months.

On the central banks front, its business as usual. Lots of circular reasoning and lost credibility from the Broken Fed as they fail to raise rates again while passing hawkish and dovish comments every other day. In Yellen-Wonderland things appear to be awesome. Current expectations remain that the Fed will raise the rates in December (based on bond market probability matrix). Other central bankers are going the other way, most of them cutting interest rates as the economies are anemic. All eyes will be on the central banks to get a glimpse of future expectation.

I continue to watch from the sidelines and hoard cash waiting for the fat pitches. I am the least bit interested in staying fully invested here and make a measly 1% or 2%. I continue liquidating more of my riskier assets and purchase hard assets instead – which should provide some shelter and see benefit during the coming downturn.

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Outlook for September 2016

Its been very quiet in the markets as more data is awaited before it can decide on a direction. The Fed has sent signals that rate rises are imminent, but there have also been reports that a move is very unlikely for political reasons. The Fed will not wobble the markets just before the US elections are over….so, the bond market is pricing in a 50-50 chance of a rate hike in December. Whether the Fed will raise or not, is anyone’s guess. It will depend on how well the Fed presidents sleep the night before the announcement.

The massaged data appears half decent, but scratch under the surface and its evident that all is not well with the world. The Fed may raise rates simply to give them room lower later. Meanwhile the rhetoric for negative rates and/or helicopter money continues. The Fed has indicated that they are looking at adding a debt of $2-$4T during the next crisis!! So, the Fed thinks all is well and still wants to look at easing options? Hmm those two things do not go together and just goes to show that the Fed has lost all credibility with the markets. The market volatility will return just as day follows night to the markets.

I continue to watch from the sidelines and hoard cash waiting for the fat pitches. I am the least bit interested in staying fully invested here and continue liquidating more of my assets and purchase hard assets instead which should provide some shelter and see benefit during the coming downturn.

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Outlook for August 2016

The summer doldrums are in effect, but that doesnt mean that there isnt much going on in the finance and investing world. There are a number of macro events taking place across the world – from central banks to IMF to other geopolitical issues in the middle east, Europe, Asia etc. All these issues could spell trouble for the world and I remain in a “risk-off” mode, no matter what the S&P thinks.

The stock market seems to be trading as if nothing is wrong with the world, but look under the surface and there is nothing optimistic as it continues to trade at all time highs. Interest raise expectations have all but vanished at the Fed, helicopter money is openly discussed as if it’s a normal course of action and the world will be able to “grow” again. I remain extremely skeptical and have been moving my portfolio to protect against the coming disaster.

What does this all mean for the macro/global economy. Its hard to know…except that it brings more volatility and starts the next innings of currency wars. The US$ continues to rise against the global basket of currencies, but interesting the Japanese Yen has been rallying as well. Keeping an eye on the currency can provide a good pulse on how different markets are perceived in the overall global economy.

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Outlook for July 2016

We are halfway through 2016 already. The world is stunned by the Brexit vote, which caught almost everyone by surprise — causing some mayhem in the global markets. What this means long term remains to be seen as the referendum is a non-binding agreement. But the move to leave EU has sent shockwaves across Europe, with local political parties starting a rhetoric in nine other countries about their own referendums to leave the EU. Brexit could be the first domino to fall leading to something big.

With the vote going in that direction, the odds of interest rates rising have all but collapsed. The markets were already pricing the odds of a raise early next year, and but after this vote, there have been calls to not raise, but actually cut the interest rates! The other central bankers – ECB, BoE are expected to announce that they intend to step-in to stabilize the markets.

What does this all mean for the macro/global economy. Its hard to know…except that it brings more volatility and starts the next innings of currency wars. The US$ continues to rise against the global basket of currencies, but interesting the Japanese Yen has been rallying as well. Keeping an eye on the currency can provide a good pulse on how different markets are perceived in the overall global economy.

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