One day ahead of Friday’s key U.S. jobs report, markets will turn their attention to the European Central Bank, which is currently engaging in what strategist Rich Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors calls a quest to become “the worst central bank in all of history.”
As the ECB once again meets to either do what ECB chief Mario Draghi says it will do “whatever it takes,” (which apparently involves a lot of jawboning while contracting, not expanding, its balance sheet), or what the Germans want (pretty much what it’s doing now), we look again to see that the ECB in recent days has not done all that much to move the needle when it comes to getting more aggressive.
There’s a real question right now about whether the sharp decline in oil prices will continue to have a ‘rising tide’ effect on the rest of the economy, thanks to the help it gives to consumer spending, or whether that marginal benefit is offset by a drop in oil production and mining jobs.
The fixed income market is certainly reacting as if it’s the latter, although this could also be the result of more weak data out of Asia and Germany that suggests those economies are nowhere near getting off the mat any time soon.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Longtime Wall Street strategist Richard Bernstein hasn’t quite gotten used to investors’ reactions when he tells them his favorite asset class for 2015 is the same as in 2014 – high- yield municipal bonds.
“A lot of times when people ask me that question, they’re physically disappointed when I tell them,” said Bernstein, chief investment officer at Richard Bernstein Advisors LLC, which he founded in 2009. “‘That’s the best you can come up with?’ That’s the response.”
The IPO train keeps on running, and on Thursday, it’s being fueled with hamburgers.
One of the new companies set to begin trade is Habit Restaurants, a chain offering “char-grilled burgers and sandwiches” that operates in California, Utah, Arizona, and strangely, New Jersey.
It’s nice to look back every month or so and see just how far the market has come, and, well, it’s come a long way. And it’s worth noting yet again that investors are starting to talk about corrections.
Even the most bullish – the ones who have been positive for quite some time – are starting to again shake their heads in the knowledge that this market is up more than 50 percent in just a bit under two years at a time when U.S. economic growth, while still at a level that would make Europe envious, isn’t exactly amazing (It’s nice. Not thrilling. But nice).
The housing-market recovery, the improvement in the unemployment rate and the relatively strong consumer sentiment figures seen out of the United States in recent months bodes well for Home Depot and other big-ticket retailers (like Lowe’s, for instance) as they report this quarter’s earnings.
Housing hasn’t been as robust as it had been in the past – that market has slowed in terms of its overall growth rate regardless of the ultra-low interest rates that have embedded in the landscape – but existing home sales (of which we’ll get more clarity later in the week when the October release is out) rebounded in September to their best seasonally adjusted annual rate all year.
Just when the market thought it was out, it gets pulled back in. The bond market continues to threaten to break into higher levels, but something always seems to undermine that story.
This weekend it was a slack Japanese figure on gross domestic product that did the trick. The prevailing range between 2.30 percent and 2.40 percent is being tested again as buyers come in through the Asian markets, particularly to long-dated and middle maturities in fixed income.
Earnings season has really closed down, with Wal-Mart out of the way, and with the markets sitting just a touch off record highs, it’s worth looking at how earnings fared and what valuations suggest right now.
There’s a general consensus that even as the market has refocused and surged to all-time highs that things are only “slightly” overvalued. Perhaps that’s true, but some (or a good lot) of that valuation question happens to come from weakness in the energy sector.
It’s no secret that the Treasury market has changed a bit in recent months due to concerns from banks about holding too much in the way of securities and running afoul of various rules international regulators are setting up.
Now, the rules in question generally don’t affect Treasuries holdings, but never mind all that when a good story is out there, and the banks are sticking to this one.
Some bankruptcies are utter surprises – like GT Advanced Technologies earlier this year – but often, they come after a company has been circling the drain for a while.
One such case came earlier this week for prostate cancer drugmaker Dendreon Corp, a long-time favorite among day traders and boosters of the company, a number of whom were personally affected by the disease in question.