Monthly Archives: December 2018

Macro Briefing: 31 December 2018

Global stocks rise on Monday amid signs of progress in US-China trade talks: WSJ
China Mfg PMI: sector contracts in Dec, marking first slide in 2 years: CNBC
Economists weigh potential damage of partial gov’t shutdown for US: USA Today
The allure of anti-bubbles in markets — the mirror image of bubbles: NY Times
10 geopolitical risks to monitor for 2019: Foreign Policy
Commodities weathered another tough year in 2018: Bloomberg
US farmers warily eye a major Pacific trade deal set to start without US: CNBC
US wholesale inventories rose 0.8% in October: MW
Chicago PMI reflects strong regional economic conditions in Dec: MarketWatch
US pending home sales continued to fall in November: CNBC

Best of Book Bits 2018 (Part II)

Last week I posted the first batch of noteworthy titles that appeared in The Capital Spectator’s weekly Book Bits column in 2018. Here’s the second half of the year-end recap of books that deserve another look.

● Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It
By Chris Clearfield and Andras Tilcsik
Excerpt via Big Think
We can’t turn back the clock and return to a simpler world. Airlines shouldn’t switch back to paper tickets and traders shouldn’t abandon computers. Instead, we need to figure out how to manage these new systems. Fortunately, an emerging body of research reveals how we can overcome these challenges.
The first step is to recognize that the world has changed. But that’s a surprisingly hard thing to do, even in an era where businesses seem to celebrate new technologies like blockchain and AI. When we interviewed the former CEO of Knight Capital years after the firm’s technological meltdown, he said, “We weren’t a technology company—we were a broker that used technology.” Thinking of technology as a support function, rather than the core of a company, has worked for years. But it doesn’t anymore.
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The Capital Spectator & The Milwaukee Company

Several years ago I had the good fortune to cross paths with The Milwaukee Co. (TWC), a wealth management firm in Thiensville, Wisconsin, located a few miles north of Milwaukee. What began as an ad-hoc consulting relationship on research projects for portfolio design, backtesting and risk analytics has slowly expanded into a regular, formal routine for yours truly. As of this month, think of me as TMC’s in-house consultant on research, analytics and related matters for portfolio management.
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Macro Briefing: 28 December 2018

Congress adjourns with no end in sight for partial gov’t shutdown: CNN
Initial data suggest China’s economy slowed for 7th month in Dec: Bloomberg
New survey: More Americans blame Trump for gov’t shutdown: Reuters
Trump’s economic adviser: Fed Chair and Treasury Secretary jobs are safe: CNBC
Is Wall Street’s rebound a bear trap? MW
US jobless claims dip, signaling ongoing strength in labor market: Reuters
Consumer Confidence Index for US slips to 5-month low in Dec: MW

Deep-Value ETF Report: End-Of-Year Review

US stock market volatility has soared in recent months, but the surge for this measure of risk hasn’t knocked American equities from their perch as the best performer for the major asset classes for the trailing five-year return, a proxy for estimating the state of value pricing. At the opposite extreme, broadly defined commodities continue to post the deepest shade of red ink for the major asset classes.
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Macro Briefing: 27 December 2018

Trump, visiting troops in Iraq, defends US withdrawal from Syria: Fox
US delegation will travel to Beijing in Jan for trade talks: SCMP
Trump holds firm on demanding funding for border wall: The Hill
World stocks bounce from 22-month lower after powerful rally on Wall St: Reuters
Day 6 for gov’t shutdown, with no end in sight: Bloomberg
Will a long gov’t shutdown rattle markets and business sentiment? WSJ
US home price growth continued to slow in Oct: HousingWire
Richmond Fed mfg index fell sharply in Dec: Bond Buyer
10yr-2yr Treasury yield spread edges up to Dec high — 20 basis points:

Macro Briefing: 26 December 2018

US-led military coalition announces Syria strikes launched last week: The Hill
Asian stocks continue to fall on Wednesday: Reuters
Trump’s frustation rising with Mnuchin after botched effort to calm markets: CNN
US holiday sales post strongest gain in six years: WSJ
Oil prices rebound after falling to lowest level in 1-1/2 years: CNBC
A bear market for US stocks appears to be growling: Bloomberg
3mo Nat’l Activity Index ticks down in Nov to still-healthy +0.12: Chicago Fed