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Latest Research

April 22

‘Wall Of Worry’ Taller Than Trump’s Border Wall!

Compared to post-war norms, the contemporary economic expansion has been odd in many ways. Persistent sub-par economic growth, a lack of normal lending and borrowing activities, declining labor-force participation rates, a stubbornly high underemployment rate, an inflation no-show, negative yields, and bizarre economic policies (e.g., TARP, cash for clunkers, stress tests, and quantitative easing). 
 

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April 18

Cyclicality is Scarce?

Better economic reports in the U.S. and about the globe are slowly reducing imminent recession worries. For example, today’s favorable reports on U.S. retail sales, unemployment claims, and the Leading Economic Indicator reinforces the likelihood the expansion perseveres. 

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April 16

MTI: Dead Neutral

The Boom/Bust Indicator, a weekly ratio of industrial-commodity prices to initial unemployment claims, has had a near-vertical rebound to old highs in the last several weeks. This index usually peaks out many months in advance of a business cycle peak (although not in 2007, when it provided no warning of the pain to come).

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April 15

Exposed To ‘Margin’ Investments?

U.S. profit margins have widened significantly in the last couple decades. Total U.S. corporate profits as a percent of GDP averaged only about 8% in the 20 years leading up to 2000, but has since risen by almost 30%, averaging 10.5%. Similarly, the overall profit margin among S&P 500 companies has increased steadily in this recovery to record highs! 

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April 12

April Green Book Summary

In the first three months of 2019, the S&P 500 surged 13%, its best quarterly performance in nearly ten years. This is strikingly similar to the rally of 1999—which may have been the most speculative in U.S. history. 

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April 09

MTI: Momentum Keeps Gaining

If the market’s manic rebound succeeds in assuaging consumers’ recently shaken confidence, we can certainly see a scenario in which the economy and corporate profits firm up after their current slowdown… although that is not our bet.

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April 08

Embrace Your New Sugar Daddy!

Many believe the contemporary bull market has been nothing more than a Sugar High produced by massive and unprecedented monetary easing. In the last couple years, however, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates and allowed its balance sheet to run off, weaning the markets from its sugar. 
 

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April 05

MTI: Firmly Neutral

Read this week's Major Trend.

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April 02

MTI: Valuation Factors Still A Drag, But Well Below Extremes

The Intrinsic Value category remains a drag on the MTI but is well below cycle extremes seen in January 2018 and again in September. The Momentum category, however, continues to nudge the MTI higher for the third consecutive week.

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April 02

A Rally With Fundamental Foundations?

A legitimate concern facing investors is how quickly, and how much, the stock market has recovered while economic and earnings fundamentals have deteriorated. Without improving fundamentals, this rally appears overdone—based on hope—and increasingly suspect.

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March 28

Has The Yield Curve Been TRUMPed?

The U.S. yield curve has inverted (at least the 10-year Treasury yield to either the 3-month T-bill or the Fed funds rate) and captured the full attention of investors. Rightly so, since a yield curve inversion has historically been an excellent indicator of a pending recession. However, a condition that has always existed in the post-war era when the yield curve has inverted is absent today.

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March 26

MTI Remains Low-Neutral

One of our long-term momentum models improved last week, while the Dow Bond Oscillator—as good of a mechanical monetary indicator as we’ve encountered—pushed further into positive territory.

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March 25

How SWEET It Is!

Stocks do best in times of general price stability. In the post-war era, the stock market has provided investors with significantly higher returns and lower risk whenever the annual rate of consumer price inflation has been between 1% and 3%. However, when outside this “Sweet Spot”—when the porridge is either too hot or too cold—investment results are far less hospitable. 

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March 19

Economic Work Lifts MTI Into Neutral Zone

Within the Economic work, the big development was a bullish flip in our Dow Bond Oscillator (DBO), which crossed above the zero threshold by the thinnest of margins. Subjectively, however, we are troubled that government yields across the maturity spectrum have been holding near recent lows in the face of equities’ powerful rally.

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March 18

Growth & Inflation?

U.S. economic growth has recently slowed and may weaken further in coming months. Moreover, inflation still lingers—commodity prices have bounced, both core consumer and producer price inflation remain near recent highs, and wage inflation is steadily rising. Investors face two big questions.

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March 13

March Green Book Summary

Based on standard technical retracements, the best-case S&P 500 bounce “should” have been exhausted in the range of 2,700-2,750. Less than three months since a 19.8% close-to-close decline, the market has rallied to within reach of a new high, a move which would commemorate the bull market’s 10th anniversary.

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March 12

MTI: Valuations Ignoring Indications Of An Earnings Recession

Valuations seem to ignore indications that an earnings recession has begun, let alone the possibility that S&P 500 GAAP Earnings Per Share for 2018 could represent not just a short-term peak, but perhaps a cyclical peak as well.

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March 11

Bond Market Message?

The stock and commodity markets have been messaging confidence in the future of this economic recovery since the December stock swoon. The S&P 500 has surged by about 10% so far this year on strong breadth led by economically-sensitive small cap stocks and cyclical sectors, while traditional defensive equities have lagged. 

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March 07

MTI: Almost Neutral, But Not Quite

Read this week's Major Trend.

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