Monthly Archives: October 2018

Macro Briefing: 31 October 2018

Eurozone GDP growth in Q3 slumped to four-year low: NY Times
US dollar rises to highest level in more than a year: Reuters
US charges Chinese military officers with theft of jet engine data: Reuters
China’s Mfg PMI for Oct points to slowest growth in over two years: CNBC
Reeling from financial stress, GE cuts its 119-year-old dividend to one cent: CNN
Annual trend for US home prices slips below 6% rise for first time in a year: S&P
Conference Board: US Consumer Confidence Index at 18-year high in Oct: CNBC
Election forecast still favors Democrats for retaking House: FiveThirtyEight

Has The Rebound In US Consumer Spending And Income Peaked?

Most economic measures continue to paint an upbeat profile for the US, but yesterday’s September report on consumer spending and income hints at the possibility that softer growth is approaching. There’s still no clear sign of rising recession risk on the immediate horizon, but it’s reasonable to wonder if the surge in economic activity following Donald Trump’s election two years ago is now in the process of reversing and giving way to a lesser rate of expansion.
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Macro Briefing: 30 October 2018

US preparing new tariffs on remaining Chinese imports if talks fail: Bloomberg
Trump expects a ‘great deal’ with China on trade: Reuters
US to send 5,200 US troops to border to stop migrant caravan: Fox
If Dems take the House, expect a lot of new investigations: NY Times
Germany’s Angela Merkel will step down as chancellor in 2021: BBC
What will follow the Merkel era in Germany? Slate
Consumer spending in US was solid in Sep; income growth was sluggish: Reuters
US PCE inflation remained tame in September: WSJ
The earth’s topical zone is expanding 30 miles per decade: Yale Environment 360
S&P 500 fell to lowest close in nearly six months on Monday: USA Today

Macro Briefing: 29 October 2018

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect due in court today: CNN
US Homeland Security Secretary: ‘This caravan is not getting in’: Politco
2nd migrant group headed for US tries to force entry into Mexico: Fox
Brazil elects right-wing former military officer as president: BBC
Another setback for Germany’s governing after state election: BBC
Germany’s Merkel to quit as head of her Christian Democratic party: Bloomberg
IBM to acquire Redhat as Big Blue focuses on cloud computing: CNBC
US economic output slowed in Q3, but still posted solid 3.5% gain: MW
Gender gap has opened up for views on American economy: NY Times
Is bear market for stocks lurking if Democrats take House? Bloomberg
US consumer sentiment eases in Oct but remains at historically high levels: CNBC

Book Bits | 27 October 2018

Money: 5,000 Years of Debt and Power
By Michel Aglietta
Summary via publisher (Verso)
As the financial crisis reached its climax in September 2008, the most important figure on the planet was Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The whole financial system was collapsing, with little to stop it. When a senator asked Bernanke what would happen if the central bank did not carry out its rescue package, he replied, “If we don’t do this, we may not have an economy on Monday.” What saved finance, and the Western economy, was fiscal and monetary stimulus – an influx of money, created ad hoc. It was a strategy that raised questions about the unexamined nature of money itself, an object suddenly revealed as something other than a neutral signifier of value. Through its grip on finance and the debt system, money confers sovereign power on the economy. If confidence in money is not maintained, crises follow. Looking over the last 5,000 years, Michel Aglietta explores the development of money and its close connection to sovereign power.
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US Growth Slowed In Q3, But Annual Pace Continued To Improve

US GDP growth beat expectations in today’s “advance” estimate of third-quarter data. Output increased by an annual 3.5% (seasonally adjusted real rate), the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported earlier today. The gain is slightly above The Capital Spectator’s 3.3% nowcast (based on several sources) from earlier this week. Although the Q3 advance marks a solid rise, today’s results reaffirm expectations that growth has decelerated following Q2’s sizzling 4.2% surge.
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Explaining The “Robot” ETF’s Bull Run With Factor Analysis

Bloomberg last week published an intriguing story about a new exchange traded fund (ETF) that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to outperform market indexes and active managers alike. The implication: a new era of AI-driven investing has dawned, putting the standard applications of indexing at a disadvantage. Yet a closer look at the so-called Robot ETF’s results via a factor-analysis lens tells a different story and one that can be explained with a mix of large-cap, small-cap and micro-cap equity betas. In turn, replicating the Robot ETF’s performance, which Bloomberg claims “leaves pros in the dust,” is a simple matter of holding a trio of plain-vanilla index funds.
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Macro Briefing: 26 October 2018

Mail bomb threat widens, including package sent to former VP Joe Biden: BBC
Florida mail facility in focus for bombmaker investigation: CNN
Trump may close southern border as migrant caravan nears: USA Today
China and Japan pledge to forge closer ties: Reuters
ECB chief says recession risk is low for Eurozone economy: NY Times
Global stocks on track for worst week in five years: Reuters
US pending home sales in September posted first gain since June: NAR
Wholesale inventories in August up more than initially estimated: Reuters
US jobless claims rose slightly last week but remain near 45yr low: MW
Trade deficit in US widened for fourth straight month in Sep: CNBC
US durable goods orders rebounded in September: CNBC