Retail sales growth (USA advance retail sales excluding autos and parts) fell sharply in December, indicating that consumer confidence is fading despite strong employment figures.
The decline in consumer confidence also shows in lower January 2019 light vehicle sales.
Trade talks make little progress
Trivium provide a useful update on US-China trade negotiations:
The latest round of trade talks with the US are finishing up as we go to press. There hasn’t been much progress (Bloomberg): “As of Friday afternoon, there had been no visible progress on efforts to narrow the gap around structural reforms to China’s economy that the U.S. has requested, according to three U.S. and Chinese officials who asked not to be identified because the talks were private……Chinese officials are angry about what they see as US efforts to undermine their state-led economy.”
These are issues that will take generations to resolve. The chance of a quick fix is highly unlikely.
The stock market continues to rally on the back of a solid earnings season.
Of the 216 issues (505 in the S&P 500 index) with full operating comparative data 154 (71.3%) beat, 51 (23.6%) missed, and 11 met their estimates; 135 of 215 (62.8%) beat on sales. (S&P Dow Jones Indices)
Index volatility remains high, however, and a 21-day Volatility trough above 1.0% would warn of a bear market. S&P 500 retreat below 2600 would reinforce the signal.
Crude prices continue to warn of a fall in global demand.
As do commodity prices.
10-Year Treasury yields are testing support at 2.50% and a Trend Index peak below zero warns of buying pressure from investors seeking safety (yields fall as prices rise).
The Nasdaq 100 shows rising Money Flow but I believe this is secondary in nature. The next correction is likely to provide a clearer picture.
My conclusion is the same as last week. This is a bear market. Recovery hinges on an unlikely resolution of the US-China ‘trade dispute’.
Concessions to adversaries only end in self reproach, and the more strictly they are avoided the greater will be the chance of security.
~ Thucydides (460 – 400 B.C.)