Tag: Economy

The Confidential Report – June 2019


US Economy

The opinions of the investors of the world are averaged and expressed in the various indexes of major world markets, especially the S&P500. They have recently (just a month ago) pushed the S&P500 index to a new record high (2945 on 30-4-19). And the data coming out of the American economy is confirming their optimism. The US economy grew by 3,1% in the first quarter of 2019 – easily beating the average forecast of 2%. A good chunk of that growth came from private consumption expenditure (PCE) – which shows that consumers are spending. This is not surprising given the better-than-expected results from the S&P500 companies and the extremely low unemployment in America. At the same time, the US economy added 263 000 new jobs in April month – easily beating analysts’ forecasts of 190 000. This brought the unemployment rate down to 3,6% – its lowest level in 50 years. Hourly earnings growth was up 3,1% year-on-year at an average of $27,77.

So with all this good economic news flying around why is the S&P falling? The answer is quite simply Donald Trump. His aggressive attitude towards America’s traditional trading partners and particularly China is beginning to unnerve investors. More and more analysts are starting to talk about some kind of recession. The Trump tariffs are starting to bite.

A trade war makes no economic sense from any perspective – any economist will tell you. Everyone ends up losing. Aside from the tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods, Trump last week announced a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico, effective 10th June 2019 and which would grow to 25% unless the Mexicans stopped illegal cross-border immigration into America. At the same time Trump has threatened around $200bn worth of additional taxes on Americans and put the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) into jeopardy. These factors are causing some investors to decide to sell out and await developments. In our view, Trump is feeling more and more pressure from the Democrats and the rising possibility of an impeachment. He is cornered and potentially dangerous. But can he really derail the economic boom in America? We don’t think so. In our view, the escalation of the trade war is probably temporary and in a few months’ time it will be history. It is far more likely that Trump is trying to use his executive powers to gain political points – or at least he is trying to distract Americans from his mounting personal problems. Read More

The Confidential Report – May 2019


US Economy

Seven months ago on 20th September 2019, the S&P made a new record high at 2930 – and from that level began a correction. Corrections are completely normal and even healthy events which occur regularly during the course of a bull trend. This ten-year bull trend began on 6th and 7th of March 2009 when the S&P made an intra-day low of 666.79 on 6th and then made its lowest close at 676.53 on 7th.

The fall in the market, before this bull market began, had been caused by an American banking crisis which later became known as the “sub-prime crisis” when Lehman Brothers collapsed. What followed was an inordinate monetary policy stimulation of the world economy during which more than $12 trillion worth of quantitative easing (QE) was done to try to avoid a repeat of the Great Depression of 1929.

Ten years later we can say that the QE was eventually successful and the world economy has finally turned around – but not without some very scary moments such as the Greek crisis during which it looked as though the entire European Union was in danger. Read More

Inflation


One of the outstanding achievements of the ANC since it took office in 1994 has been to maintain the relative integrity of the currency. The currency of a country is like the shares of a listed company. If a listed company is well-managed and expected to be profitable then its shares will rise in the market. If a country is perceived to be well-managed and to have an economy that is growing, its currency will strengthen against the currencies of other countries. So the rand has always been the best barometer of overseas perceptions of how well this country is being run from an economic point of view.

The rand has certainly fallen against first world currencies since 1994, but it has not descended into hyper-inflation. In most of the rest of Africa, once independence and democracy were achieved there followed a period of relative opulence, especially among the ruling class. Government jobs were given out freely and salaries increased above the inflation rate. The size of the government ballooned as private enterprise shrank. This was usually accompanied by a declining in tax collections due to a combination of economic stagnation, corruption and a steady fall in the ability of the government to collect taxes. With burgeoning expenses, the government then inevitably fell into the trap of printing money. In Zimbabwe this ultimately reached record levels leading to the collapse of the currency. Read More

The Confidential Report – April 2019


Wall Street

On Friday 22nd March 2019, Apple announced their results to the December 2018 quarter. Turnover was down 5% at $84,3bn while quarterly earnings per share (EPS) were up 7,5% at 418c. 62% of the company’s sales came from outside the US. iPhone sales were down 15%, while sales from other products were up 19%. It also warned that the first quarter of the 2020 financial year would be weak because of poor sales in China. The market didn’t like these results and forecasts and the share price fell by 7%. This in turn dragged the entire S&P down by 1,9% as other tech stocks fell in sympathy. Donald Trump’s “trade war” with China was obviously partly to blame. The drop in the S&P500 index took it just below support at 2813 – but this was an over-reaction and the S&P has bounced back closing at 2867 last night. The resistance level has become the support level – which is common in this type of upside breakout. Now, we expect the S&P to move up strongly towards its record high of 2930. It is just over 2,1% below that level now. And, ultimately, we expect it to exceed that high and the great bull market, which has been in progress for ten years, to continue upwards. Consider the chart:

S&P500 Index September 2018 to April 2019 – Chart by ShareFriend Pro (Click to enlarge image)

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Market Developments


S&P500

At the beginning of March, we drew attention in an article to the key resistance level on the S&P500 index at 2813 and suggested that, after bumping up against this level for a while, the S&P would probably break to the upside and open the way for it to test the all-time record high 2930.

That upside breakout is now occurring, so we should now see the S&P move steadily upwards until it encounters the 2930 level. Consider the chart:

S&P500 Index September 2018 to April 2019 – Chart by ShareFriend Pro (Click to enlarge the image)

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