Editor, Investment Strategy. Europe, Middle East and Africa, London
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Oct 25, 2012
via Global Investing

Weekly Radar: Earnings wobble as payrolls, BOJ, G20 eyed

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Easy come, easy go. A choppy October prepares to exit on a downer – just like it arrived. World equities lost about 3 percent over the past seven, mostly on Tuesday, and reversed the previous week’s surge to slither back to early September levels. Just for the record, Tuesday was a poor imitation of the lunge this week 25 years ago – it only the worst single-day percentage loss since July and only the 10th biggest drop of the past year alone. But it was a reminder how fragile sentiment remains despite an unusually bullish, if policy-driven year.

Why the wobble? t’s hard to square the still fairly rum, or at best equivocal, incoming macro data and earnings numbers alongside year-to-date western stock market gains of 10-25%. There’s more than enough room to pare back some more of that and still leave a fairly decent year given the macro activity backdrop and we now only have about 6 full trading weeks left of 2012. So it will likely remain bumpy – not least with U.S. and Chinese leadership changes into the mix as mood music. The sheer weight of a gloomy Q3 earnings season seems to have hit home this week, with revenue declines or downgraded outlooks  – particularly in “real economy” firms such as Caterpillar, Dupont,  Intel and IBM etc – worrying many despite more decent bottom line earnings. As some investors pointed out, earnings can’t continue to beat expectations if revenues continue to wither and there are still precious few signs of an convincing economic turnaround worldwide to draw a line under the latter.

Oct 24, 2012
via Global Investing

Pricing ‘new brooms’ at White House and Fed

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With less than two weeks left to the U.S. presidential elections and all three televised debates done and dusted, investors are at last squaring up to the detailed financial market impact of the event itself and the column inches in newsprint and research reports lengthen by the day.

Barclays interest rate strategists are one of the first to stick hard numbers on likely market outcomes in a report late Tuesday that dug deep into both the well-documented “fiscal cliff” but also into the less discussed uncertainty surrounding the medium-term direction of the Federal Reserve and its leadership.

Oct 19, 2012

Few wake-up signs for snoozing euro/dollar

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – With all else around it in flux,
the world’s biggest market — the U.S. dollar and euro exchange
rate — has virtually dozed off.

Its relative stasis is as striking as some of the wilder,
erratic market swings elsewhere.

Oct 18, 2012
via Global Investing

Weekly Radar: Global PMIs; US/UK GDP; FOMC; Heavy earnings, inc Apple

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Whoosh! The gloomy start to the final quarter seems to have been swept away again by the beginnings of a half decent earnings season stateside – at least against the backdrop of dire expectations – and a steady drip feed of economic data surprises from the United States and elsewhere. Moody’s not downgrading Spain to junk has helped enormously and the betting is now that the latter will now seek and get a precautionary credit line, which would not require any bailout monies up front but still unleash the ECB on its bonds should they ever even need to – and,  given Thursday’s successful sale of 4.6 billion euros of 3-, 5- and 10-year Spanish government bonds,  they clearly don’t at the moment (almost 90% of Spain’s  original 2012 borrowing target has now been raised). What’s more, Greek euro exit forecasts have been put back or reduced meantime by big euro zone debt bears such as Citi and others, again helping ease tensions and defuse perceived near-term euro tail risks. Obama’s bounceback in the presidential polls after the latest debate may be helping too by rolling back speculation that a clean sweep rather than a more likely gridlock was a possible outcome from Nov 6 polls. China Q3 GDP came in as expected with a marginal slowdown to 7.4% and signs of growth troughing — all adding to the picture of relative calm.

So, in the absence of the world ending in a puff of smoke – and the latest week of data, earnings and reports suggests not – we’re left with a view of a hobbled but stabilising world economy aided by hyper-easy monetary policy that is bolting core interest rates to zero. Tactical investors then, at least,  are being drawn into the considerable pricing anomalies/temptations across bond and credit markets as well as the giant equity risk premia and regional price skews.

Oct 17, 2012

Euro emigration: safety valve or debt drag?

LONDON (Reuters) – Debt-laden euro zone countries are exporting again — only this time it’s their young workers, in an exodus some fear could intensify national debt problems longer term.

As countries on the euro zone periphery endure deep and prolonged recessions, high unemployment, severe tax hikes and state spending cuts, young people appear to be taking to planes, trains and boats again in search of work.

Oct 17, 2012

Analysis: Euro emigration: safety valve or debt drag?

LONDON (Reuters) – Debt-laden euro zone countries are exporting again — only this time it’s their young workers, in an exodus some fear could intensify national debt problems longer term.

As countries on the euro zone periphery endure deep and prolonged recessions, high unemployment, severe tax hikes and state spending cuts, young people appear to be taking to planes, trains and boats again in search of work.

Oct 15, 2012

Headlong dash for “junk” raises alarm

LONDON (Reuters) – In the seemingly obsessive search for the next bubble in global markets – an understandable if hyper-sensitised reaction to missing the last one – speculative credit remains a prime suspect.

It’s been boom time again this year for what used to be known as “junk bonds”, but which now go by the more polite moniker of high-yield, speculative-grade debt – much of which is corporate borrowing.

Oct 11, 2012
via Global Investing

Weekly Radar: Q3 earnings; China GDP; EU summit; US debate

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Markets have turned glum again as October gets underway and the northern winter looms, weighed down by a relentless grind of negative commentary even if there’s been little really new information to digest. The net loss on MSCI’s world stock market index over the past seven days is a fairly restrained 1.5%, though we are now back down to early September levels. Debt markets have been better behaved. The likes of Spain’s 10-year yields are virtually unchanged over the past week amid all the rolling huff and puff from euroland. The official argument that Spain doesn’t need a bailout at these yield levels is backed up by analysis that shows even at the peak of the latest crisis in July average Spanish sovereign borrowing costs were still lower than pre-crisis days of 2006.  But with ratings downgrades still in the mix, it looks like a bit of a cat-and-mouse game for some time yet. Ten-year US Treasury yields, meantime, have nudged back higher again after the strong September US employment report and are hardly a sign of suddenly cratering world growth. What’s more, oil’s back up above $115 per barrel, with the broader CRB commodities index actually up over the past week. This contains no good news for the world, but if there are genuinely new worries about aggregate world demand, then not everyone in the commodity world has been let in on the ‘secret’ yet.

So why are we all shivering in our boots again? Perennial euro fears aside for a sec, the latest narratives go four ways at the moment. 1) The IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) downgraded world growth and its Financial Stability report issued stern warnings on the extent of European bank deleveraging 2) a pretty lousy earnings season is just kicking off stateside, 3)  U.S. presidential election polls are neck and neck again and unnerving some people fearful of a clean sweep by Republicans and possible threats to the Federal Reserve’s independence and its hyper-active monetary policy 4) it’s a new quarter after a punchy Q3 and there’s not much new juice left to add to fairly hefty year-to-date gains. Maybe it’s a bit of all of the above.

Oct 10, 2012
Oct 10, 2012
    • About Mike

      "Mike Dolan is Reuters' Investment Strategy Editor in Europe. He has been a correspondent and editor for the past 20 years, working for Reuters from London and Washington DC in a variety of roles covering global policymaking, economics and investment trends."
      Joined Reuters:
      1995
      Awards:
      Reuters Editor of the Year, 2009. Reuters multimedia journalist of the year award, 2011
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