MacroScope

from Jeremy Gaunt:

Micro versus macro

There is little doubt that the latest U.S. earnings season has been a good one for long-equity  investors. Thomson Reuters Proprietary Research calculates that with 67 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported, EPS growth -- both actual and that still forecast for those who have not filed yet -- has come in at 36 percent.

Furthermore, a large majority of the reports have surprised on the upside, as they like to say on Wall Street.  Some 75 percent of  reports have been better than expected.  Not surprisingly, the S&P index gained around 6.9 percent in July and is up another 1.7 percent in the first two trading days of August.

But given what looks like at least a faltering U.S. economy with little consumer confidence, some analysts  have begun asking what there is to get excited about. Philipp Baertschi, chief strategist at wealth manager Bank Sarasin, for example, calls it a case of micro bulls versus macro bears and warns that it won't last.

We expect the micro data to dominate in the short term and support a temporary recovery in the equity markets. Nevertheless, investors should consider reducing their risk positions in strong market phases ahead of the expected slowdown in growth.

Gavyn Davies, the chairman of Fulcrum Asset Management who now blogs as Econoclast for the Financial Times, reckons a lot of it  has to do with a belief that the U.S. economy is not as dominant as it once was.

Waiting for the G20 to….?

Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 meet this weekend in the English countryside to discuss the world’s financial and economic crisis. With this in mind, MacroScope asked a number of economists what they want to see from the meeting and the G20 summit to follow later and what they expect to see.

The answer, in short, appears to be that much is needed but not much expected.

Paul Mortimer-Lee, head of market economics, BNP Paribas:

“There will be progress on agreeing that regulation needs to be more effective and more effectively co-ordinated on a global scale but I am unconvinced we are going to go a long way further.  Some populist posturing on bank bonuses etc should be expected. The less is achieved in other areas the more this will get played up. On bank recapitalisation, they will all agree strong capital is a good thing, but in no way do I expect a concerted plan — it’s driven by events and the exigencies of the local banking system.

“I would like to see progress on the international financial architecture/the IMF and its resources. Maybe we’ll get some new facility and some agreement on more new cash … but a radical overhaul requires the power structure to be rejigged — more power to the (emerging economies) and less to Europe. This is not something European politicians will want to be high profile when it comes out.”