|By James Hookway, The Wall Street Journal, 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A look at how government handouts can backfire (on many levels)—for one, Thailand’s over-investment in farming could detract from education and manufacturing. Economist Henry Hazlitt explains this concept pretty clearly: “Other industries must lose what the X industry gains.” Winners and losers often result from governmental action, an important factor for investors to consider from legislation globally.
|By Rebecca Ballhaus, The Wall Street Journal, 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “A government shutdown would disrupt a large number of federal activities. But services deemed essential would continue, meaning a shutdown would leave much of the public unaffected.” There you have it—a shutdown affects relatively few services Americans use day-to-day. Hence, the economic impact is likely muted.
|By Robert J. Shiller, The New York Times , 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Are we heading toward another national housing bubble? Highly unlikely—rising home prices have plenty of fundamental support (including affordability). Further, we can’t just view demand in a vacuum, the tight supply of homes are also driving up prices. For more, see our 9/12/2013 cover story, “Popping Housing Bubbles’ Bubbles.”
|By Ben White, Politico, 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We’ve actually seen many signs supporting an overall healthy economy, and it’s unlikely a government shutdown will materially impact private-sector-led markets. Further, when a government shutdown either doesn’t happen or is less disastrous than many fear, investor confidence likely lifts, potentially boosting stocks higher. For more, see our 9/25/2013 cover story, “Sam, I am Green Budgets and Ham.”
|By Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate, 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: True, the eurozone isn’t out of the woods, nor necessarily calm: Greece likely needs more bailouts, Italy faces political uncertainty, and banking union details are still missing. But we’d argue concerns here are likely overstated (none are new), and they distract from considerable progress made despite headwinds—like Ireland’s return to debt markets, the eurozone’s leaving recession and healthy manufacturing numbers, to name a few.
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Taxing more to spend more is an odd choice if deficit reduction is the aim. In fact, it’s an odd choice if aiding economic growth is the aim. For investors, we’d suggest the focus on this issue and avoidance of economic reforms like those promised in Abenomics’ missing arrow #3 are likely to weigh on Japanese stocks.
|By Michael Schuman, Time, 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Shanghai’s free-trade zone may eventually be a positive for China—open-market reforms tend to encourage economic activity and foreign investment—but, like a number of the country’s recent reforms, many firms will want more information to act. Finally, such shifts are very long-term in nature—not necessarily a boon for stocks.
|By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money, 09/30/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This debt-ceiling breakdown is largely accurate, but we’d argue the implications described here if Congress doesn’t raise the limit are a tad overwrought. Current interest payments amount to only about 9% of federal tax revenue—a debt default is very improbable even if the ceiling isn’t raised, as the government likely prioritizes payments. Either way, though, it’s most likely politicians raise it as they have 107 times before.
|By Natasha Brereton-Fukui, The Wall Street Journal, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: There are indeed many reasons to love the Fed taper, in the US and globally, but in our view, they’re different from those described here. Tapering (and eventually ending) QE will allow yield curves to steepen worldwide, likely supporting faster growth (and surprising markets). For more, see today’s cover story, “Tapertagion!”
|By Justin Wolfers, Bloomberg, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: One quarter’s fall in one measure of prices does not deflation make. But it is a development worth watching—and, in our view, further evidence quantitative easing just isn’t as inflationary as feared.
|By Janet Hook and Kristina Peterson, The Wall Street Journal, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Four days before the deadline, it seems Congress is still deadlocked, and a shutdown remains possible. However, shutdowns aren’t inherently bearish—markets are well used to fiscal standoffs, and the current one has been widely discussed for some time. For more, see our 9/25/2013 cover story, “Sam, I Am Green Budgets and Ham.”
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Yes, headline CPI shot up. But excluding food and energy, prices still fell—the weak yen’s impact on energy imports is still driving the lion’s share of Japanese price increases. This is more evidence Japan’s aggressive monetary easing hasn’t yet provided a net benefit.
|By Tetsuya Ito, The Yomiuri Shimbun, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: All of Japan would benefit tremendously from a corporate tax cut, which would spur investment throughout the nation. However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hasn’t yet announced the specifics, so it isn’t clear how much this plan will help.
|By Giada Zampano, The Wall Street Journal, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Italy’s government is struggling to stay together amid the escalating tussle between the two main parties over Silvio Berlusconi’s potential expulsion. Should the coalition fall apart and new elections be called, the result would likely be a similarly fractious government—unless Italy’s byzantine electoral system is reformed (something the parties largely support), economic reforms likely remain difficult to pass. However, markets have long been aware of this, so politicking shouldn’t much impact Italy’s borrowing costs.
|By Jeremy Warner, The Telegraph, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This discussion of the UK’s current account deficit ignores a key mitigating factor: The country still creates significant wealth domestically. Economies aren’t fixed pies. Over the years, wealth created at home (along with inbound investment) have more than offset any departing funds.
|By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Yet more evidence of underappreciated US economic strength.
|By Wei Gu, The Wall Street Journal, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This nicely captures what investors should—and shouldn’t expect—from the Shanghai free-trade-zone that kicks off Sunday. As a pilot test for nationwide financial reform, its immediate economic impact will likely be incremental, but it should create new opportunities for businesses and investors over time.
|By Richard Dyson, The Telegraph, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Record-high London home prices aren’t evidence of a British housing bubble, in our view. London prices are high because supply is extraordinarily tight. Prices elsewhere in the country are far more muted (though improving from recessionary lows).
|By Yang Ziman, China Daily, 09/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence June’s liquidity crunch was temporary and intentional. This time around, China’s central bank is flooding the banking system with cash as banks scramble to meet quarter-end regulatory capital requirements.
|By Jason Zweig, The Wall Street Journal, 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A friendly reminder for investors: When using any financial service or product, neglecting to read the fine print may bring unexpected expenses—such as commissions and additional fees—as this article highlights.
|By Stephen S. Roach, Project Syndicate, 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Quantitative easing indeed isn’t helping—but not because it isn’t “trickling down.” Rather, banks aren’t lending more on the new reserves. Broad money isn’t growing anywhere near as fast as the monetary base. Hence, it isn’t blowing bubbles, either. Ending QE should simply widen net interest margins and incentivize banks to lend more, providing the private sector greater access to capital to invest.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While GDP (and all its revisions) are backward-looking, the confirmation of growth from the first half of 2013 is evidence QE’s end in the UK didn’t have disastrous effects—growth improved! Investors, take note.
|By Li Jiabao, China Daily, 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Even incrementally reduced bureaucracy is positive for China’s economy—and investors.
|By Rana Foroohar, Time Business, 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Yes, current monetary policy is making the economy worse—because it flattens the yield curve, locking up credit and, by extension, growth-oriented investment. Moreover, the “risks” described here are the same cud-like fears investors have chewed over for years, all of which carry minimal risk for stocks looking forward. That this suggests otherwise shows sentiment is still too dour.
|By Bob Tita, The Wall Street Journal , 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Another positive effect from the shale oil boom: cheaper fuel for commercial marine ships, which helps bottom lines.
|By Steven Russolillo, The Wall Street Journal, 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This asks whether investors are “too complacent” over fiscal politicking or “right not to overreact.” In our view, the latter! Last-minute deadlock might foster volatility near-term, but history overwhelmingly shows government shutdowns and delayed debt ceilings aren’t inherently bearish. For more, see our 9/25/2013 cover story, “Sam, I am Green Budgets and Ham.”
|By Patricia Kowsmann, The Wall Street Journal, 09/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Portugal’s government remains committed to reform, but its highest court feels differently since the Constitution protects public sector jobs and wages. This underscores the big tasks still facing Portugal. But provided leaders remain committed to making progress and finding middle ground with the court, the troika should remain flexible.
|By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A “default” by definition occurs when a country can’t pay back its bondholders (and nothing else)—which the US can easily do with current tax revenues, and likely will do even if we hit the ceiling. This season’s debt ceiling debate isn’t different from any of the past 107—markets likely understand that, hence their relative calm. Yes, some politicians and officials may claim otherwise, but their arguments likely focus more on politicking than facts.
|By Lorraine Woellert and Victoria Stilwell, Bloomberg, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Durable goods are typically volatile—wild swings in either direction aren’t unusual on a monthly basis, like August’s growth after July’s 8.1% drop. Further, there are plenty more data suggesting Corporate America is much healthier than largely appreciated—and budget bickering isn’t nearly the headwind for businesses this piece suggests. For more, see our 08/27/2013 commentary, “Don’t Dump on Durable Goods.”
|By Eliot Brown, The Wall Street Journal, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Rising property prices—largely a function of economic expansion—have helped reduce the total value of bad loans on record by about half in three years. Many may try to argue otherwise, but banks (and their balance sheets) simply aren’t as weak as feared.
|By Chris Isidore, CNN Money, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Yet more evidence of US housing’s comeback—and an incremental tailwind for the whole economy.
|By James R. Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though this article features only a small part of US manufacturing, it highlights more than a couple reasons why the industry has been picking up lately. Due to rising wages in the developing world, rising shipping costs and cheaper energy in the US, manufacturers see a competitive advantage in North America.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though negotiations aren’t over—trade talks can last for years—freer trade between the EU and Japan would likely benefit both economies (and markets!).
|By Edward Hadas, Reuters, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “Whatever the Census Bureau says, the median household in the United States had enough income in 2012 to consume much more, both in quantity and in quality, than in 1989. The increase is not surprising; it merely continues the two-century trend of improving lifestyles in industrial economies.” Another largely underappreciated positive for the healthy US economy.
|By Claire Jones, Financial Times, 09/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree the UK housing market isn’t threatening the economy overall—though we doubt a bubble is likely simply because prices and rates are rising. The majority of data in this article suggest UK Housing is improving due to economic recovery—rising demand amid tight supply.
|By Cassandra Sweet, The Wall Street Journal, 09/24/2013|
MarketMinder's View: An interesting look at one unintended consequence of many states’ current energy policies—and a debate worth keeping an eye on as potential changes could impact Utilities stocks and household energy bills.
|By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Financial Times , 09/24/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This grossly overstates the probability of default if the US doesn’t raise the debt ceiling—the likelihood is practically nil. Should lawmakers delay, the Treasury likely has to prioritize some bills over others, but this isn’t default. Only missing debt service/repayments constitutes default, and incoming revenues more than cover these obligations (which take precedence over all else). For more, see our 08/28/2013 cover story, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling: Part 108.”
|By Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times, 09/24/2013|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence of the US’s underappreciated industrial competitiveness—one of many fundamentals underpinning this expansion. Sure, as this piece points out, that might not lead to a massive influx of manufacturing jobs, but the longer-term evolution from a manufacturing- to service-based economy isn’t a negative. For every new piece of production technology, there are new jobs to service said technology.
|By Ilona Billington, The Wall Street Journal, 09/24/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Since UK regulators ordered banks to meet Basel III capital requirements by year-end (five years ahead of schedule), banks have had to hoard capital and haven’t much put the wider yield spread to use. However, once capital raises are in the rear view mirror, it wouldn’t surprise to see lending improve markedly now QE is finished.
|By Kathleen Madigan, The Wall Street Journal, 09/24/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Consumer confidence surveys aren’t predictive for stocks—they’re at best a coincident indicator of how folks feel when they take the survey.
|By Chris Isidore, CNN Money, 09/24/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While the Case-Shiller index isn’t a perfect gauge, this is more evidence of the housing market’s steady recovery—a small but underappreciated economic tailwind. For more, see our 09/12/2013 cover story, “Popping Housing Bubbles’ Bubbles.”
|By Marcus Walker, The Wall Street Journal, 09/23/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though some political uncertainty remains as Chancellor Angela Merkel must negotiate a new ruling coalition, her re-election as Prime Minister largely confirms the eurozone status quo, which perhaps aids sentiment in the region.
|By Takashi Mochizuki, The Wall Street Journal, 09/23/2013|
Corporate tax cuts are likely necessary to reviving Japanese businesses and positive for markets. However, the idea the tax burden needs to be shifted from businesses to consumers seems suspect. Lower taxes across the board—including sidestepping a sales tax increase—would probably be a tailwind for economic growth, and over time, the larger tax base would likely help the government boost revenues. For more, see Emily Dunbar and Mary Holdener’s 9/4/2013 column, “Doing It Wrong.”
|By Bettina Wassener, The New York Times, 09/23/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Monthly data points like this can be volatile, but longer-term trends show continued improvement in China’s manufacturing sector, suggesting the country isn’t heading for the hard landing many feared. For more, see our 10/19/2012 cover story, “(Still) No Chinese Hard Landing.”
|By Steven Russolillo, The Wall Street Journal, 09/23/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Lower expected DJIA profit growth doesn’t signal deteriorating fundamentals. Rather, this is essentially a byproduct of the Dow’s arbitrary component selection—one of its many flaws. For more, see our 9/11/2013 cover story, “Upside Dow.”
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/23/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Positive news for the eurozone as growth in business activity beat expectations—further evidence the region is faring better than many expect. For more see our 7/3/2013 cover story, “The Good, The Basel and The Eurozone.”
|By Caroline Valetkevitch, Reuters, 09/23/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Yes, earnings probably won’t match 2010’s gangbusters growth rates—but that’s more a function of high y/y comps than a weak economy. Earnings growth typically slows as bull markets age, and slower growth isn’t inherently negative for markets.
MarketMinder's View: “Durable manufacturing, motor vehicles and parts production, and oil and gas extraction activities all increased to new record-high levels in August, and posted annual growth rates (4.1%, 8.4% and 11.4% respectively) that were above the average growth rate of 2.7% for industrial production overall. America’s booming energy and auto sectors continue to be two of the strongest engines of growth for the US economy, and remain at the forefront of the economic expansion.”
|By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money, 09/23/2013|
MarketMinder's View: First, Congress likely reaches a budget agreement in the 11th hour, or shortly thereafter, minimizing the risk of a prolonged shutdown. Second, while decreased government spending can impact GDP, the impact forecasted here seems overstated—the economy has weathered about four years of government cuts, thanks to far larger gains in business investment. For more on the debt ceiling, see our 9/18/2013 cover story, “Indebted to the Future?”
|By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: With gridlock high, neither party is pursuing extreme legislative change—just enough incremental changes as needed to reach a budget compromise. Low legislative risk is another reason to be bullish.
|By Chris Dieterich, The Wall Street Journal, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Even if it does (which isn’t at all guaranteed—these things are often overhyped), the long-term impact is likely nil. Over time, volatility evens out as markets weigh fundamentals.
|By Mark Thompson, CNNMoney, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Likely, it means the status quo—the opposition Social Democrats have backed Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union on eurozone measures at every turn. Regardless of which party leads the next coalition, the will to hold the currency union together should remain intact.
|By Takashi Mochizuki, The Wall Street Journal, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Given how many influential people within Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party oppose cutting corporate tax cuts, if he sees this through, it could augur well for further third arrow reforms. However, it’s premature for investors to get too excited over Japanese stocks—previous rumored reforms haven’t really panned out since Abe took office.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This thesis assumes forward guidance was credible in the first place. But words are just words—they aren’t set in stone, and plans can change at any time. As well they should! After all, central bankers’ words are based on forecasts, which can prove wrong over time. Investors shouldn’t base decisions on any central banker’s or politician’s words alone.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A headscratching move considering India’s yield curve has been inverted for over two months. Confusing monetary policy is likely a big reason investors have seemingly lost confidence in the rupee.
|By Makiko Mitamura, Bloomberg, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A fascinating look at how humans’ emotions can potentially impact financial markets.
|By Jaime Daremblum, Real Clear World, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: An interesting look at Mexico’s ongoing reforms—just one example of the underappreciated positives in Emerging Markets.
|By Jim O’Neill, The Telegraph, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: More QE isn’t a reason to be bullish—QE is contractionary. The economy is growing despite it, not because of it. Markets will likely be happiest once QE ends.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: UK public finances are improving quite a bit (not that they looked bad in the first place—debt service is quite affordable), and with growth picking up, improvement likely continues. More evidence the twin credit rating downgrades earlier this year just didn’t reflect reality—something investors should keep in mind next time the raters strike.
|By Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg, 09/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though this is one data point for one small region, it’s yet more evidence of the US’s underappreciated economic strength.
|By Dean Baker, USA Today, 09/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: There’s much we disagree with here. In our view, ending QE would benefit the economy more than continuing it, as the Fed’s bond buying has mostly boosted idle excess bank reserves. Also, a growing and bustling private sector—not QE—is the real stimulus for economic growth. Reducing QE would make lending more profitable through higher long-term loan and bond rates, encouraging bank lending. That would likely grease the private sector’s wheels even more. For more, see today’s cover story, “Sept-Taper Caper.”
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A strong LEI figure is one of a number of reasons why we’re bullish. For more reasons, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s column, “62.5 Reasons to Be Bullish.”
|By Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan, Politico , 09/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Congress is gridlocked—a bullish feature, in our view, reducing the likelihood extreme legislation is passed. However, gridlock doesn’t mean nothing happens, and it’s overwhelmingly likely the debt ceiling rises for a 108th time, somewhere around the 11th hour. (We’ll add the debt-default rhetoric involving the debt ceiling is a bit off—the government has sufficient revenue to easily service the debt without borrowing or using “extraordinary measures.”) For more, see our 8/28/2013 cover story, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling: Part 108.”
|By Ben Bland, Financial Times, 09/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Increased airline traffic between Indonesia and Singapore is a sign of just how strong economies are around the globe: Individuals and companies can afford to fly, whether for business or pleasure.
|By Szu Ping Chan, The Telegraph, 09/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Japanese export values are up—which is what’s being reported on here. However, export volumes rose only 1.8% y/y—effectively meaning foreign demand hasn’t been boosted much by Abenomics’ weak yen policy. In addition, because of Japan’s need to import most of its energy, the same weak yen increases some costs for businesses—potentially cancelling out export benefits. Absent structural reforms, it seems to us better opportunities exist for investors. For more, see our 9/17/2013 cover story, “Abenomics’ Glowing Tofu Problem.”
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Another data point illustrating cyclical improvements in the eurozone economy: Irish GDP returned to growth in Q2 2013.
|By Eshe Nelson and Scott Hamilton, Bloomberg, 09/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A drop in food sales—which reached a two year high last month—was the primary culprit for the fall in UK retail sales this month, suggesting this August’s dip is regular month-to-month volatility rather than a fundamental game changer. Considering the myriad of other positive data such as increasing business investment and stronger manufacturing, the UK economy seems to be on a fine trajectory.
|By Victoria McGrane and Jon Hilsenrath, The Wall Street Journal, 09/18/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While we’d argue we’ve seen plenty of evidence the US economy is strong and improving, the main reason we think more QE is misguided is that it’s contractionary. QE created more money, but it’s largely sitting on the sidelines—not benefiting the economy—because QE also flattens the yield curve, which disincentivizes bank lending.
|By Peter Bofinger, Bloomberg, 09/18/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree Germany’s upcoming election likely won’t change eurozone policies much—leaders have shown ample political will to keep the euro together, which likely continues—and the eurozone isn’t out of the woods yet. But this greatly overlooks the area’s progress and signs of economic stability despite remaining issues.
|By Christopher Matthews, Time, 09/18/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While we haven’t seen much (any) proof QE has had a positive impact on the US economy and markets—we’d argue it has probably tempered economic activity some as it disincentivizes bank lending—this sensibly addresses common misperceptions surrounding QE and fear about its eventual wind down.
|By Li Jiabao, China Daily, 09/18/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Here’s another sign the Chinese economy is likely in better shape than many fear, despite slowing growth—supporting our view a hard landing is increasingly unlikely.
|By Scott Hamilton, Bloomberg, 09/18/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Likely a sensible move, in our view. QE is contractionary, disincentivizing bank lending and, hence, economic activity—that the UK economy has seen widespread growth since ending the program supports this.
|By Maria Petrakis and Georgios Georgiou, Bloomberg, 09/18/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While these plans could change, ending capital controls would be a key step in Cyprus’s recovery—it would signal increased confidence in the banking system. Of course, capital controls are just one of a number of issues Cyprus has to address before its economy can take off.
|By Staff, BBC, 09/18/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While global market impact is probably limited, measures like this don’t address the issues causing India’s currency troubles—and, thus, likely aren’t effective long-term solutions. India would benefit more from less protectionism and more structural reforms, which would also inspire more investor confidence.
|By Simon Rabinovitch, Financial Times, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: With this change, investors have more tools to manage risk—a key step in China’s ongoing financial maturation. Continued reform likely creates a tailwind for markets. Further, reducing capital controls can create a small tailwind for growth by allowing capital to flow more freely.
|By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Like all very long-term forecasts, this one simply involves too many factors that could change any number of times over long time horizons—in other words, reality isn’t at all guaranteed to play out as described here. For now, what matters most is US debt remains very affordable by historical standards. For more, see our 8/16/2013 cover story, “Don’t Fret the Debt.”
|By Kim Tae-jong, Korea Times, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Positive news for Korea—and perhaps a small tailwind for growth—as banks will gain a revenue stream and consumers will gain access to more diversified financial products. A timely example of continued reform in Emerging Markets—a key fundamental for the category looking forward.
|By Leslie Shaffer, CNBC, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This is overwrought, in our view. Growth isn’t really a threat to the economy. Yes, growth means tapering, but tapering is an economic positive. It should steepen the yield curve, adding to already-healthy fundamentals by incentivizing banks to lend more. Yes, rates might rise, but rising rates aren’t inherently bad—there doesn’t appear to be a catalyst for them to skyrocket out of control.
|By Emma Rowley, The Telegraph, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Tight supply is a big reason UK home prices are at all-time highs, and now, homebuilders are responding. Looking ahead, rising construction output likely creates a nice tailwind for UK growth—more evidence of the UK’s post-QE reacceleration. With a steeper yield curve, banks have had a bigger incentive to lend—a key reason why mortgage approvals are riding high. For more, see our 7/8/2013 cover story, “A UK Perspective on QE.”
|By Raul Gallegos, Bloomberg, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While this plan likely creates winners and losers, it is overall more market-friendly than initial proposals—a positive for Mexican stocks and US firms doing business south of the border. For more on Mexico, see our 8/15/2013 cover story, “What to Do About Mexico’s Energy Reforms.”
|By Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: An interesting development as the US shale oil boom continues: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, emits less methane into the atmosphere than originally thought. This could augur well for future project approvals, helping the economy reap further benefits.
|By Wayne Ma, The Wall Street Journal, 09/17/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While this tariff is far less onerous than expected, it is still an incremental negative—all protectionist measures are, as they reduce the global flow of goods and services. At the same time, with trade still getting freer, on balance—and global trade still rising despite the occasional spat like this—the risk of protectionism disrupting the bull market appears slim to none. For more, see our 5/22/2013 cover story, “Solar Wars: A (Un)Renewable Hope.”
|By Schuyler Velasco, Christian Science Monitor, 09/16/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It is true retail sales didn’t meet expectations, growing a lackluster 0.2% in August. But that doesn’t necessarily hint at a slowdown in the economy. Retail sales don’t include services—the bulk of consumer spending—so this stat isn’t exactly an economic crystal ball. Seems to us the reaction to the below-estimated retail data is another sign investors underappreciate the US economy’s health—bullish for stocks. For more, see our 9/16/2013 cover story, “One Weird—and Simple—Trick to Thinking Differently About Stocks.”
|By Staff, Bloomberg News, 09/16/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It isn’t all about confidence—some is about fundamentals, like the frequency of China meddling with domestic markets, negative real rates of return on savings and no real bond market to speak of. Ultimately, it does seem China’s property market is pricey, though we’d stop short of calling it a full-fledged bubble.
|By Left Banker, Seeking Alpha, 09/16/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It is arbitrary to label specific days of the week or months as “most treacherous” for stocks. No specific time period is inherently good or bad for stocks—so we’d suggest making an effort to avoid a case of the Mondays next month is likely a fruitless exercise. For more, see our 9/2/2013 cover story, “September Is Just a Month.”
|By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, 09/16/2013|
MarketMinder's View: In our view, this misses the real effect of quantitative easing: It is contractionary, so there are probably fewer jobs as a result of QE. Tapering is more likely a GOOD thing for the economy since QE flattens the yield curve, creating a disincentive to lend.
|By Mark J. Perry, AEIdeas, 09/16/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “Average food inflation over the last 4-years in the US is the lowest in more than 47 years, Americans spend a smaller share of their household budget on food (at 6.6%) than consumers in any other country in the world, and that share of total US consumer expenditures spent on food has fallen consistently over time, and is now half of what it was in the 1970s and about one-third of what it was in the 1950s.”
|By Kosaku Narioka, The Wall Street Journal, 09/16/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Japan’s last operating nuclear reactor shut down for maintenance this weekend. It is intended to be a temporary move—and that may be true. The real impact of the story is deeper: What was once a primary source of Japanese electricity is now a shell of itself, 30 months after the earthquake/tsunami. Companies broadly have had to turn to more expensive, imported power generation fuels, reducing profits—Abenomics’ cheap yen actually makes that worse, not better.
|By Jeffrey Sparshott, The Wall Street Journal, 09/16/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We’ve seen more than a handful (maybe 62 ½?) of indicators suggesting continued economic growth—August’s rebound in factory output after a flattish Q2 is just the latest. For more, see our 9/4/2013 cover story, “A Manufactured Buzz?”
|By Jeremy Warner, The Telegraph, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We largely agree financial regulations enacted since 2008 don’t do much to prevent a repeat of the crisis—but not because institutions are still “too big to fail.” Rather, it is because items like capital requirements and the division (or lack thereof) between retail and investment banking weren’t the catalysts for 2008. That was the misapplication of mark-to-market accounting to banks’ illiquid assets, and there just isn’t a panacea for preventing similar secondary regulatory changes from having unintended consequences downstream.
|By Craig Torres and Ilan Kolet, Bloomberg, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It isn’t surprising the Fed has a “communications challenge” considering the logic behind the last four years of monetary policy is flawed. For investors, here’s what matters: Quantitative easing is contractionary—it flattens the yield curve—and ending it will be good for the economy. Short-term interest rates are a separate issue, and we’d suggest investors take forward guidance on rates with a grain of salt—words and opinions aren’t set in stone.
|By Margot Patrick, The Wall Street Journal, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: To increase competition within banking, the UK tried a novel approach: Instead of forcibly breaking apart the big banks, officials removed customers’ administrative barriers to switching, giving them more choice and forcing banks to offer more competitive services and costs to keep them. An intriguing example of a market-friendly approach to regulatory change.
|By Dylan Matthews, The Washington Post, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The biases illuminated here affect investors, too. Staying disciplined—shutting off the urge to see what you want to see and act on emotional responses—is key to investors’ reaching their long-term goals.
|By Neil Irwin, The Washington Post, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “America doesn’t criminalize bad business decisions, even when they lead to business failure; if we did, Silicon Valley would be a penal colony. The fact that the collapse of financial firms can cause so much collateral damage for the economy doesn’t lower the legal bar for throwing CEOs in jail, no matter how much a basic sense of fairness makes a person wish it were so.” In other words, the US isn’t China—a key reason why our economy and capital markets have grown and thrived over time and likely keep doing so.
|By Jonathan House, The Wall Street Journal, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Monthly retail sales figures don’t necessarily predict total consumer spending—which isn’t the sole or always the biggest driver of headline GDP. So while slower-than-expected August retail sales growth isn’t great news, it also isn’t automatically a sign of weaker Q3 GDP growth.
|By He Wei and Wei Tian, China Daily, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: On the surface, that Chinese officials plan to use Shanghai’s forthcoming free trade zone to pilot market-oriented changes augurs well for further nationwide reform—a key driver of Chinese stocks. However, it is difficult to see how officials can accurately test things like currency liberalization and opening the capital account in such a small area.
|By Kana Inagaki, The Wall Street Journal, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Rather than trying to nudge investors into stocks with an über-complex capital gains tax code, Japan (and its markets!) would benefit more from removing administrative barriers to investment and growth. Higher capital gains taxes aren’t automatically bearish, but the apparent shift of focus away from Abenomics’ third arrow likely isn’t great news for Japanese stocks. For more, see our 9/10/2013 cover story, “Tracking the Third Arrow.”
|By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Sure, Italy considered leaving the euro, and Germany flirted with booting Greece. But neither happened! The political will to preserve the euro prevailed, and it remains intact today—a key reason why investors are increasingly moving on from PIIGS fears.
|By Barry Hatton, Associated Press, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: An interesting look at the challenges Portugal faces in enacting further economic reforms—a key reason leaders have requested a more flexible deficit target. Portugal’s constitution might prevent leaders from making swift changes, but in the near term, what matters more is the political will to comply with bailout terms prevails, which should help the troika remain flexible.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 09/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Price controls are never the answer—they mess with the free flow of goods and services, which markets don’t like. Price controls were a key driver of the early 1970s’ bear market, and while a cap on UK home prices might not have the same impact, it would nonetheless be a risk for capital markets.
|By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money, 09/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A nice breakdown of how truly political the debt ceiling debate is. After much political posturing and grandstanding, we expect Congress to raise the debt ceiling for a 108th time, either right near the deadline or even a little past it. For more, see our 8/28/2013 cover story, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling: Part 108.”
|By Michael Casey, The Wall Street Journal, 09/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: There are a number of big issues with ratings agencies: They’re backward-looking (Standard & Poor’s just downgraded Argentina, which has been troublesome for years); their opinions frequently hinge on ambiguous things like “contentious politicians”; lack of competition; and, as alluded to here, potential conflicts of interest exist. The solutions mentioned here, like adding additional government supervision or a government-run rater, don’t correct this shortcoming. Finally, if investors can freely assess stocks and other instruments that do not receive regulation-enshrined ratings, why exactly it is impossible for bonds to face the same is a bit beyond us. For more on rating agencies, see our 7/22/2013 cover story, “Rating Agencies: Late as Usual.”
|By Dina ElBoghdady, The Washington Post, 09/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: For as much attention “technology” has gotten recently for creating stock market issues, did you know paperwork has actually caused the most US stock market closures since 1912? Whether it’s a computer glitch or a “fat finger trade,” long-term investors shouldn’t fret the occasional stock market disruption. For more, see our 8/29/2013 cover story, “Squirrelly Computers?”
|By Staff, BBC News, 09/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Events here bear watching—political gamesmanship in Eastern Europe is spilling over into trade relations. We’ve seen trade spats earlier this year between Europe and China over solar panels—though they ultimately proved rather toothless and limited. While this latest dispute is restricted to the Continent, it’s a story worth following.
|By Jeffrey Frankel, Project Syndicate, 09/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Delaying or spacing out legislation implementation gives markets time to assess and price in the impact beforehand—a better alternative to sudden, unforeseen lawmaking. However, we think the argument here misses the point—whether Japan implements its proposed sales tax hike all at once or in increments isn’t the game changer holding Japanese growth in the balance. Rather, meaningful structural reforms (the third arrow of Abenomics) are what Japan needs the most—but there are few signs the third arrow’s about to be fired. For more, see our 9/10/2013 cover story, “Tracking the Third Arrow.”
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Both US and UK retail sales are high and rising—consumer spending is healthy. Besides, unless the money that isn’t spent is buried in the backyard, it is likely being used in some form or fashion (invested, lent, spent, etc.). Focusing solely on spending can be a bit misleading.
|By John W. Schoen, CNBC, 09/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This forecast is just, well, a forecast and one group’s opinion—it isn’t set in stone. Plus, it fails to account for a few key variables—like quantitative easing being a drag on growth for the past few years. Once the Fed stops flattening the yield curve, growth could very well accelerate well beyond these predictions.
|By Jamil Anderlini, Financial Times, 09/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Structural reforms to open up the economy, like those laid out by Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday, would do wonders to help China achieve sustainable growth and become more of a global market force. The apparent political will to implement change is heartening, but we’d take it with a grain of salt—when and how these reforms would be implemented remains to be seen.
|By Annie Lowrey, The New York Times, 09/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We don’t doubt there is some concentration of income in the US, but we struggle to see how these statistics accurately depict income strata. The figures employed are pre-tax and include capital gains—they don’t reflect true take-home income. Moreover, we’d suggest there isn’t much (if any) real evidence this is an economic problem—it’s more political. Whatever the top 1% or 10% earn doesn’t really detract from overall national income/wealth/growth, because the economy isn’t a fixed pie—the important consideration for stock investors.
|By Scott Hamilton, Bloomberg, 09/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Bizarrely, in the name of “forward guidance,” BOE members are now seemingly talking down the UK’s economic recovery in an effort to convince markets rates will stay low for at least three years. But markets are smart—they probably know the BOE’s 7% unemployment target is rather arbitrary and policymakers will tighten when they deem appropriate, likely regardless of employment figures.
|By Carol Matlack, Bloomberg Businessweek, 09/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Anti-euro politicians and parties have been around for a while, and it’s largely unsurprising their popularity may increase (and their politicking may heat up more) near election time. But we’re skeptical a party with just 4% or even 5% support likely derails Germany (or the rest of the eurozone) from its pro-euro stance. For more, see our 08/22/2013 commentary, “Brewing German Elections.”
|By Dan Hyde, The Telegraph, 09/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: To us, this policy seems a solution in search of a problem: "Given the fact that the APR is of little help to borrowers in establishing the best deal for them based on the current interest rates, it's unlikely that an APR based on a worst-case rate scenario based on historic rates will be of much use." Once this proposal takes effect (given overwhelming support, most consider the final vote a formality), mortgage companies, banks and borrowers may see some unintended consequences.
|By Staff, EU Business, 09/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This likely won’t radically shift Portugal’s course—the troika has been quite flexible with the periphery’s debt targets, and the request seems logical given the constitutional roadblocks to key financial reforms (a longer-term issue for Portugal). For markets, what probably matters more is Portugal’s slow and steady journey back from its 2011 bailout continues.
|By Neil Irwin, The Washington Post, 09/10/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree the Dow Jones isn’t a reliable representation of US markets—it is price-weighted, which skews each company’s impact on the index, and it includes only 30 companies. That 10% of its stocks were replaced due to their price alone doesn’t mean much for investors.
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/10/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though monthly data are volatile, that China’s economy seems to be stabilizing suggests hard-landing fears are overwrought.
|By Aaron Back, The Wall Street Journal, 09/10/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While this rather overstates the fundamental support for Japan’s nascent economic recovery, its larger thesis is spot-on: Whether policymakers can implement politically difficult structural reforms is key for Japan’s economy and markets in the long run. For more, see today’s cover story, “Tracking the Third Arrow.”
|By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money, 09/10/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Renewed debt ceiling fears are overwrought, in our view. Congress has raised this arbitrary limit 107 times and they’ll likely do it again—mitigating the chances of events outlined here. That’s true even if they compromise at the eleventh hour or a few days after they hit the limit. For more, see our 8/28/2013 cover story, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling: Part 108.”
|By Staff, Bloomberg, 09/10/2013|
MarketMinder's View: QE tapering doesn’t mean the Fed is taking its foot off the gas—they’re taking their foot off the brake! QE is contractionary—it flattens the yield curve, creating a disincentive to lend, which slows down business investment and overall commerce. Ending it should help growth accelerate.
|By Jeff Macke, Yahoo! Finance, 09/10/2013|
MarketMinder's View: To suggest rising stocks mean investors are ignoring taper talk is to assume the taper is an automatic negative—it isn’t. People think it is, and the markets have seemingly discounted this backward perception in recent months. Looking ahead, reality should exceed these dour expectations, giving stocks a powerful lift.
|By Nektaria Stamouli, The Wall Street Journal, 09/10/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While Greece is by no means out of the woods yet, that it is closer to reaching an operating budget surplus probably boosts investor sentiment on the eurozone.
|By Daniel Yergin, CNN Money, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree: “This revolution is not just about energy production; it’s about the economy story along several dimensions, whether measured in consumers’ pocketbooks, jobs, US manufacturing output, or America’s increased competitiveness in the world economy.”
|By Justin Lahart, The Wall Street Journal, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Why are we only looking at computer products for signs of innovation? What about energy innovations? Or 3D printing? Or biotechnology involving medicine and genetic science? Or consumer goods (like LCD/Plasma televisions) where the exact phenomenon cited here—falling prices—is occurring left and right? Suffice it to say, this theory is flawed, in our view.
|By Dhara Ranasinghe, CNBC, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Globally speaking, elections’ ending hasn’t been a tailwind for stocks. That’s particularly true when a pro-business candidate wins and his campaign rhetoric proves, well, rhetorical. Campaigning politicians are unlikely to pass sweeping legislation—a factor that outweighs uncertainty over whom the leader is. (Especially in Australia, because it’s been a virtual certainty Labor would lose for months. For more, see our 07/17/2013 cover story, “Carbon Dating Politics.”)
|By Eric Reguly, , The Globe and Mail, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It is true extreme weather and natural disasters can negatively impact economies in the very short-term, but that’s been true since the beginning of time and economies have grown regardless. For more, see our 7/20/2012 cover story, “Gotta Have My Pops!”
|By Staff, The Telegraph, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Evidence the UK economy is faring better than many may expect. For more charts on the global economy, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s 9/6/2013 column, “Chart Fest 2013.”
|By Diana Olick, CNBC, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This is an interesting look at various factors being weighed in the debate over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In our view, reducing government involvement in the housing industry wouldn’t necessarily cripple it. Similarly, not having guaranteed mortgage-backed securities (MBS) likely wouldn’t eliminate them, either. When left to market forces and no guarantee to compete with, investors will weigh risks and rewards, and some will likely see MBS as a viable investment vehicle. For more, see our 8/8/2013 cover story, “So Long, Fannie and Freddie?”
|By Staff, BBC News, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This is a plus for Japan’s economy, to be sure, but unless Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fires his much-discussed, much-less-seen third arrow of economic reforms, we doubt Japanese stocks and economy benefit much longer term.
|By Staff, Bloomberg, 09/09/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Maybe. But it’s a bit backwards and bizarre to claim Japan can “afford” a higher sales tax because its inflation rate is below 1%, leaving “room for even more quantitate easing.” Japan has tried quantitative easing on more than one occasion, to little real, positive effect. In our view, Japanese stocks and the economy would benefit more from structural reforms. For more, see Emily Dunbar and Mary Holdener’s 9/4/2013 column “Doing It Wrong.”
|By Neil Irwin, The Washington Post, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: One could cherry-pick seemingly good and bad news from the data underlying any month’s jobs report. What matters more—for headline and underlying employment data—is private payrolls, the labor force, jobless claims and discretionary income have improved significantly overall since the recovery began.
|By Alen Mattich, The Wall Street Journal, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: There isn’t a discernible relationship between stock prices and bond yields over time—stocks historically rise and fall with rising interest rates, and rise and fall with falling interest rates. Looking ahead, stocks should keep moving higher on positive fundamentals regardless of what rates do. We’d also suggest rates aren’t likely to surge in the foreseeable future, but that’s more a tangential matter.
|By Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: To assume the Fed’s forward guidance is “uncertain” in light of pending FOMC departures is to assume it was ever certain—but words are just words. With or without personnel turnover, the Fed can shift course at any time. Hence, markets, rather than Fed pledges, are likely a better gauge of what the future holds.
|By Kristen Gelineau and Rod McGuirk, Associated Press, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: An interesting look at a key issue in this weekend’s Australian election. Global politics matter for stocks.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: That headlines weren’t too preoccupied with heated Cypriot politicking shows how investors are starting to move on from eurozone debt fears—sentiment is improving.
|By Katherine Rushton, The Telegraph, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “$3 trillion buying spree” is just a forecast, cash-based M&A is clearly on the rise. Cash deals shrink stock supply—a bullish force.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Falling exports and imports isn’t great news, but one weak month of a historically variable dataset doesn’t offset the UK’s many other signs of post-QE economic acceleration.
|By Nektaria Stamouli, The Wall Street Journal, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We wouldn’t exactly call a 3.8% y/y drop welcome news for Greeks, even if it is a slower contraction from Q1. However, for global investors, what matters is Greece’s still-falling GDP doesn’t much impact global growth. Greece is a tiny sliver of the world economy, and since it’s shrinking more slowly and off a smaller base, it detracts less and less from total world output.
|By Lu Jianxin and Pete Sweeney, Reuters, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: As long as Chinese officials keep monkeying with stock issuance bans and quotas, China probably can’t be a globally dominant market force—likely a big reason China’s historical stock returns have lagged Emerging Markets despite robust economic growth. Moving to a freer system would give firms more financing options and make the market’s functioning more transparent, benefiting Chinese businesses and investors alike.
|By James Sterngold and Matt Wirz, The Wall Street Journal, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Private debt isn’t inherently bad—corporate bonds help firms get the cash they need to invest and grow. With borrowing costs historically low, most businesses are earning more than enough returns on investments to cover the interest costs and still profit—debt is affordable. Plus, relative to total assets, total private debt is far smaller today than in 2008.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Requesting a precautionary credit line doesn’t mean Ireland needs another bailout—this is just an insurance policy in case markets get a bit tight at some point in 2014. For now, Ireland’s return to primary debt markets appears on track.
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The LTROs don’t start maturing until January 2015, but eurozone banks have repaid nearly one-fourth of the funds already. This doesn’t mean the region’s banks are out of the woods, but it is a sign liquidity pressures have eased substantially.
|By Daisy Maxey, The Wall Street Journal, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We don’t recommend altering investment strategy in anticipation of the debt ceiling—this is an entirely political matter and one we expect politicians to resolve, albeit after much posturing. While we may see some day-to-day market volatility, this shouldn’t affect stocks’ long-term direction. For more, see our 08/28/2013 cover story, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling: Part 108.”
|By Spencer Jakab, The Wall Street Journal, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: First, it’s important to recall Emerging Markets economies are still growing. True, the rates have slowed, but that’s far from the 1997-1998 period in which they contracted. Moreover, the parallel is even weaker when you consider the reform, development, reserves and advances made in the period since then. Finally, we’ve just seen in the eurozone another example regional weakness needn’t presage global weakness—in fact, global strength can swamp regional factors.
|By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While it’s true recent growth doesn’t mean the eurozone is out of the woods, we disagree the situation is as dire as portrayed here. The periphery has improved, and most concerns or fears about the region are already well known, largely sapping their power to move markets.
|By Steven Russolillo, The Wall Street Journal, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Making portfolio decisions based solely on the time of year is generally a losing strategy. In our view, trying to navigate around eight days that average a return of -0.5% is sheer folly. It generally takes something underappreciated and fundamental to materially move stocks not the flipping of a calendar page or widely known events like Syria.
|By Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: In addition to economic growth and jobs, here’s another positive from the shale oil boom: cheaper energy costs, passed down to the consumer.
|By Martin Hesse, Der Spiegel, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Actually, we’d argue FAS 157’s implementation combined with the US government’s haphazard response to the fallout—brokering a deal for Bear Stearns, allowing Lehman to fail, nationalizing parts of AIG—drove vast uncertainty, and this is what triggered 2008’s panic. Additionally, the US Fed’s QE has reduced loan profitability at banks, so we disagree with the thesis the US government and Fed have buoyed US bank profits. Finally, it’s not really possible to remove all risk from the financial system, and attempts to do so likely reap major negative unintended consequences.
|By Wei Tian, China Daily, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Chinese investors seek foreign capital markets because their domestic capital markets face a number of headwinds, such as restrictive regulations and arbitrary rulings. This uncertainty limits the size and maturity of Chinese capital markets, preventing the country from being a force on global markets.
|By Staff, BBC News, 09/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Another sign of US economic vitality.
|By Neil Irwin, The Washington Post, 09/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Speculation about Syria, who the new Fed chair will be, a backwards interpretation of QE’s ending, political fears regarding the debt ceiling and incrementally-higher-yet-still-historically-low interest rates—such concerns have been chewed for months, and likely don’t surprise the forward-looking market much. Further, the US economy has been growing steadily, albeit slowly, for the last four years—and the fundamentals underlying that strength have largely been getting better.
|By Roben Farzad, Bloomberg Businessweek, 09/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: September is just a month, and in our view, there’s no true correlation between it and guaranteed market malaise—even if historically low interest rates rise some this autumn. We believe there is potential for upside surprise as reality likely ends up better than fearful expectations.
|By Jim Puzzanghera, LA Times, 09/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Overall, here’s a sensible take on July’s trade data: Though exports dipped slightly, higher imports are yet another signal the US and global economies continue growing.
|By Joel L. Naroff, Philly.com, 09/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Despite chatter to the contrary, the BLS’s employment reports—which cover two different, not especially comparable datasets—show too much undesired part-time work isn’t plaguing the US labor force. Consider: “Between July 2012 and last July (a preferred time frame because it removes seasonal-adjustment aberrations), all of the additional people who took part-time positions wanted those part-time jobs. Their ranks increased by 260,000. In contrast, the number of people forced to take part-time work because of economic issues fell by 3,000.”
|By John Makin, Real Clear Markets, 09/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While we agree it can’t be known exactly when the Fed will start tapering QE in advance, in our view, the sooner the better. We believe QE is a contractionary policy and keeps money sitting on the sidelines, instead of coursing through the greater economy—more QE, whether from more QE-infinity or QE4, would only further disincentivize economic activity.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 09/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: For the last few months, UK economic data have shown steady improvement—this is just the latest in the series. All this comes after the Bank of England ceased its quantitative easing program—something we believe more US investors should take heed of, considering widespread tapering fears.
|By Cabriele Steinhauser, The Wall Street Journal, 09/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: In our view, this seems mostly like a solution in search of a problem. That a money market fund in the entire history of money market funds dipped below $1 per share for a brief period during the first financial panic in about 80 years (2008) says more about the stability of such liquid savings vehicles than the threat. And it likely reduces choices for savers and investors. Fortunately, the likelihood this proposal passes is slim, as it faces opposition in a number of member countries.
|By Kristen Grind, The Wall Street Journal, 09/03/2013|
MarketMinder's View: An interesting take on some common investor mistakes. Being aware of biases and other behavioral errors can help investors stay disciplined, increasing their chances of long-term success.
|By Patti Domm, CNBC, 09/03/2013|
MarketMinder's View: History shows seasonal adages like “September is the worst month for stocks” aren’t predictive. Further, while short-term volatility is impossible to predict with any certainty, fears of a Fed taper, Emerging Markets and Syria shouldn’t much weigh on stocks longer term. These factors are either largely misinterpreted or have been widely discussed for some time, likely limiting their negative surprise power. For more, see our 9/2/2013 cover story, “September is Just a Month.”
|By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph, 09/03/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Protectionism is indeed a risk to watch as it limits the flow of goods and services worldwide, which dampens global growth—and anecdotally, we’re seeing more trade barriers lately. However, we’re also seeing a broad push toward freer trade globally—and trade continues rising despite the small spats described here—which mitigates the risks for now.
|By Hibab Yousuf, CNN Money, 09/03/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We’d suggest volatility never left—so we’re not sure how it can come “back,” per se. That’s true regardless of what the VIX (aka the “Fear and Greed Index”) says—it is neither a great gauge of volatility nor predictive of future returns. Further, volatility isn’t necessarily bad. It means upward movement, too—movement that helps investors reach their goals and objectives over long periods of time.
|By Staff, Reuters, 09/03/2013|
MarketMinder's View: ISM Manufacturing beat expectations last month, hitting 55.7 versus 54. Though monthly readings vary, the sector’s continued growth is one of many positive fundamentals underlying this current bull market. For more, see our 5/2/2013 cover story, “Manufacturing Innovation.”
|By Diana Olick, CNBC, 09/03/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Despite fears of rising mortgage rates, home prices continue to increase due to robust demand and tight supply—another tailwind for economic growth.
|By Staff, Xinhua, 09/03/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Seeing as we’re well into Q3 2013, we wouldn’t give much weight to this. Stocks are forward-looking, so revised data from nine-plus months ago don’t matter much. Forward-looking trends are more important, and these point to stabilization in the world’s second-biggest economy.