The earnings outlook in the U.S. is darkening, but the view from developing markets is perking up. The ratio of earnings estimates between the S&P 500 and the MSCI Emerging Markets is at the lowest since early August. Optimism of an end to the trade war is sending EM stocks and currencies toward their second monthly advance.
Now that new home sales have reached a new cycle high (in June), I’d like to update a couple of graphs in a previous post (most of this from an earlier post).
For the economy, what we should be focused on are single family starts and new home sales. As I noted in Investment and Recessions “New Home Sales appears to be an excellent leading indicator, and currently new home sales (and housing starts) are up solidly year-over-year, and this suggests there is no recession in sight.”
For the bottoms and troughs for key housing activity, here is a graph of Single family housing starts, New Home Sales, and Residential Investment (RI) as a percent of GDP.
1.3Q Earnings Preview….Energy and Tech Biggest Projected Declines.uu
Higher input and labour costs are expected to have further crimped profit margins. The average net profit margin is expected to fall to 11.3 per cent in the third quarter from 12.1 per cent in the same quarter last year, according to FT – Energy is poised for the biggest drop in earnings after a fall in US crude prices in the third quarter. The tech sector, caught up in the US-China trade war, is next with EPS projected to fall by more than one-tenth, according to FactSet. Revenues are estimated to increase an anaemic 0.3 per cent.
This week’s fund flow numbers from the Investment Company Institute showed that the long, steady rotation from equity mutual funds and exchange traded funds to fixed income funds has continued. As shown below, the spread between equity fund flows and fixed income fund flows has reached a net reading of -$165.9bn over the last three months; that’s among the largest net flow out of equities and into bonds since the data starts.
Fixed income isn’t the only place that retail has been moving allocations to. As shown in the chart below, 13 week commodity fund flows have been among the largest of the periods since the data for ETF and mutual funds combined begins.
Investors are loading up on cash. That’s not a good sign.-By Andrea Riquier
An analysis from research firm DataTrek, drawing on fund flow data from the Investment Company Institute, shows that there was $3.4 trillion in U.S. money market funds as of October 2. That’s about 14% higher than at the end of 2018, and has risen nearly every week since May.
“What’s strange about this recent influx of capital is that short-term rates have been declining all year,” DataTrek founder Nicholas Colas wrote. Money market funds “are seeing strong inflows in 2019 even as 2-year yields have been cut in half,” he added.