Treasury yields continue to fall, with the 10-Year testing long-term lows at 1.50%. A sign that investors are growing increasingly risk averse.
Crude oil prices remain weak; a bearish signal for the global economy. Breach of support at $50/$51 per barrel would warn of a decline to $40.
Volatility (21-Day) above 1.0% on the S&P 500 is flashing an amber warning. Breakout above 2940 is likely and would signal another test of 3000. But expect stubborn resistance at our 3000 target level.
Bearish divergence (13-Trend Index) on the Nasdaq 100 warns of secondary selling pressure. Breach of 7400 would warn of a test of primary support at 7000.
Robert Shiller maintains that Donald Trump is unlikely to survive a recession:
“So far, with his flashy lifestyle, the US president has been a resounding inspiration to many consumers and investors. But his personal narrative is unlikely to survive an economic downturn….the end of confidence in Trump’s narrative is likely to be associated with a recession.
During a recession, people pull back and reassess their views. Consumers spend less, avoiding purchases that can be postponed: a new car, home renovations, and expensive vacations. Businesses spend less on new factories and equipment, and put off hiring. They don’t have to explain their ultimate reasons for doing this. Their gut feelings and emotions can be enough.”
I would go further and argue that Trump’s management style is likely to cause a recession.
Some of the aims the President is attempting, like addressing China’s unfair trade practices, are vitally important to long-term US interests and he should be given credit for tackling them. But his constant hyperbole, erratic behavior, with a constant mix of bouquets and brickbats, and on-again-off-again tactics, has elevated global uncertainty. Consumers are likely to increase savings and cut back on expenditure, while corporations may cut back on hiring and new investment, which could tip the economy into recession.
GDP growth contracted to 2.3% in the second quarter, while growth in hours worked contracted to 0.92% for the year ended July 2019, pointing to further falls in GDP growth for the third quarter.
August employment figures are due for release next week and will either confirm or allay our fears.
We maintain our bearish outlook and have reduced equity exposure for international stocks to 40% of portfolio value.