Category Archives: US Economy - 45 posts found

US Manufacturing – More Weakness to Come

US manufacturing has slowed in recent months, and we expect more to come.  We had noted the discrepancy between the PMI and ISM surveys earlier this year as it looked like the ISM was outputting data inconsistent with our leading…


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Growing number of lower paid workers in US

The participation rate in the US has declined much less for those at lower levels of education: Source: Macrobond That the lower educated are disproportionately supporting employment growth, through lower paid jobs, may help explain why, so far, we have…


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Higher Rents in the US are a Strong Support for CPI

Despite the subdued nature of US CPI, some large components are turning up.  Owners’ equivalent rent and rent of primary residence, which together account almost of a third of the CPI basket, are turning up strongly.  A low vacancy rate…


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P/Es Waning As A Source of US Equity Returns

After some very strong years, multiple expansion in the S&P is struggling to contribute to returns in the index.  So far this year, P/E multiple expansion has only contributed 32% to S&P returns (top chart).  More reliance is being placed on top-line…


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Economic Downturn Evident in Chemical Prices

Chemical prices tend to provide a good lead on global economic conditions and the message at the moment is unambiguously negative.  Falling naphtha, polymer and Brent oil prices are indicative of very weak global economic conditions. Source: Variant Perception and…


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Pillars of Equity Rally Fall Away

Stock buybacks have been an important feature of the equity rally. Companies have used low rates and easy credit to borrow money and used it to buy their own shares back.


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US Inflation and Wages Continue to Turn Up

The key message from our leading indicators is that US inflation and wages continue to turn up. This was one of our core themes for 2014 we discussed in December last year and is bearing out. Core inflation and headline inflation are positive, while wages are turning up sharply. This has implications for profit margins. Wage increases inversely lead US corporate profits by two years. We have with very high likelihood seen the peak in profit margins, and we would expect them to fall.


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Profit Margins to Head Lower, Equities to Suffer

Profit margins in the US have hit modern-day record levels, and this has been used to help justify high equity valuations.  Consensus estimates are for profit margins to remain steady, or even increase from current levels.  We disagree for ironclad…


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Beware of small caps in the US; underperformance ahead

One of the points we have been emphasizing to clients in recent months is that US small caps are looking increasingly less attractive compared to large caps. Small caps have benefited from excess liquidity and a belief that as the US economy recovers, smaller companies, with their greater domestic focus, are the place to be. Yet price and valuations are making it more and more difficult to justify the trade.


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Excess liquidity and money growth point to weaker second half of 2014

One of the themes we have been tracking in the past 6 months is the slowdown in global money growth and excess liquidity. The focus on the second derivative is important here. The level of growth in liquidity and money growth indicators is decent but the annual growth rate is rolling over.


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