MMA Weekly Column: July 22, 2019

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says it seized a British tanker Friday in the Strait of Hormuz… The move by Iran follows the seizure of an Iranian tanker earlier this month by the British Royal Marines on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions and taking oil to Syria. Iran has called for the release of that ship, and earlier Friday, a British court in Gibraltar extended the detention of the Iranian oil tanker. The move comes a day after President Donald Trump told reporters that the USS Boxer downed a drone belonging to Iran. Iran responded by saying it did not own the drone, and the U.S. may have shot down one of its own. Oil prices moved higher, with West Texas Intermediate up about 1% at $55.98 per barrel just before the close. – Patti Domm, “Iran Says It Captured a British Oil Tanker; Oil Prices Jump,” https://www.cnbc.com, July 19, 2019.

President Donald Trump weighed into a simmering debate over Federal Reserve interest rate policy, saying Friday that the central bank needs to end its “crazy” tightening moves. In a series of tweets, the president addressed an unusual controversy stemming from a speech Thursday that New York Fed President John Williams delivered. Market participants initially took Williams’ remarks as indicative that the central bank was prepared to cut rates aggressively, by perhaps a half a percentage point. But a Fed spokesman soon walked back the comments, causing confusion over where policy is headed. – Jeff Cox, “Trump Wades Into Debate Over Controversial Fed Speech Thursday,” https://www.cnbc.com, July 19, 2019.

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MMA Weekly Column: July 8, 2019

Note: There will be no weekly column next week due to travel. We will return the following week.

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Stocks fell from all-time highs on Friday after the release of stronger jobs data dampened hope for easier Federal Reserve monetary policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back 43.88 points to 26,922.12, snapping a four-day winning streak. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to 2,990.41 and ended a five-day winning streak. The Nasdaq Composite fell for the first time in seven sessions, slipping 0.1% to 8,161.79. Earlier in the session, the Dow dropped as much as 232.67 points… The U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs in June. Economists had forecast the U.S. added 165,000 jobs in June, after a stunningly low 75,000 jobs were created in May, according to Dow Jones. – Fred Imbert, “Stocks Fall From Record Highs After Strong Jobs Report Dampen Hope of a Fed Rate Cut,” https://www.cnbc.com, July 5, 2019.

Despite a lack of strong geocosmic aspects last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P index soared to new all-time highs, thus fulfilling the historical correspondence between Jupiter’s 12-year transit of Sagittarius and long-term cycle crests in world equity markets. However, the NASDAQ Composite fell slightly short of a new-time high. It rallied to 8171 on Friday, just shy of its record of 8176 on April 29.

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MMA Weekly Column: July 1, 2019

Note: The USA will be celebrating it Independence Day this week on Thursday, July 4. Markets will be closed July 4, and only open until 1 PM July 3.

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If Wall Street strategists are to be believed, though, the summit may not amount to much. While most agree that a cease-fire is the more likely outcome, at issue is whether Trump will delay imposing more tariffs. – Michael Bloom, “Here’s What Every Major Wall Street Bank Believes Will Happen at the Trump-Xi Trade Meeting,” https://www.cnbc.com, June 28, 2019.

“President Trump is my friend and I am convinced he is also not interested in this (breaking off trade talks)” On Wednesday, President Xi Jinping had already described Russian President Vladimir Putin as his “best friend.” David Reid and Holly Ellyatt, “President Xi Calls Trump His Friend and Says U.S. Won’t Disconnect With China,” June 7, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com.

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MMA Weekly Column: June 24, 2019

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Mr. Trump continues to believe that the Fed is the cause of slow growth, but he ignores the uncertainty created by his tariff policy. Will he cut a deal with China or impose 25% tariffs? The best economic policy occurs when each important actor does well with the levers it controls. That means the Fed should focus on stable prices while Congress and the executive keep taxes low and regulation limited. Mr. Trump can best help his own economic cause by ending the tariff uncertainty. – Wall Street Journal Editors, “A Split Fed Decision,” Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2019.

Here comes another opportunity for the President to close a deal. The cosmos is presenting another excellent time band, an opportunity for an agreement, between now and Labor Day. This is something he has come close to before, only to fail due to a pattern of trying to coerce the other side into caving in, rather than finalizing the negotiations with diplomacy and respect. This style has not worked, and it appears that Mr. Trump is realizing that as he has called off a speech by Vice-President Pence that was due to be given just before the G-20 meeting next week, just before President Xi Jinping and Trump were to meet. The speech was to predictably be critical of China once again. This tendency to publicly criticize the other side just before an important meeting has proven to be a non-starter, and surely would be again.

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MMA Weekly Column: June 17, 2019

Note: I will be teaching MMA Market Timing courses in Beijing this weekend. Hence, this week’s column is being written on Thursday, June 13, one day before normal. This column does not take into account Friday’s trading activity, June 14.

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Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) and Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the global trade dispute between the U.S. and China as well as a threatened dispute with Europe and other industrial nations could cause headwinds for all and could get worse. Speaking at the 8th ECB conference focused on central, eastern and south-eastern European (CESEE) countries on Wednesday, the IMF’s Lagarde said “We meet at a moment when support for global cooperation and multilateral solutions is waning.” – Holly Ellyatt, “IMF’s Lagarde and ECB’s Draghi Warn Against Troubling Developments in Trade War,” https://www.cnbc.com, June 12, 2019.

Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index, which captures turning points in the economy, fell by 32 points in June, to a level of 13 from a level of 45 in May. This drop is the largest one-month decline on record and the lowest level since December 2008 during the financial crisis, according to the firm. – Maggie Fitzgerald, “A Morgan Stanley Economic Indicator Just Suffered a Record Collapse,” https://www.cnbc.com, June 13, 2019.

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MMA Weekly Column: June 10, 2019

Note: I am abroad for courses the next two weekends. This column will be written on Thursday, one day before normal, while I’m here. This week’s column is written on Thursday, June 6, before the jobs report of Friday, June 7.

Falling bond yields are signaling a growth slowdown and the yield curve is inverted in what nearly always predicts a recession if it continues for three months. Mr. Trump seems to believe the Federal Reserve can make everything great again by cutting interest rates…. U.S. tariffs have a negative impact on growth around the world, which in turn hurts U.S. exports. … Mr. Trump and his Republican fellow-travelers say the doomsayers were wrong about the initial round of China tariffs, (but the) initial tariffs were dwarfed by the growth effects of tax reform and deregulation… (and) the damage from tariffs will rise if they increase in severity and are imposed impulsively. Sooner or later bad policies always exact a high economic and political cost. Wall Street Journal Editors, “Washington’s Anti-Growth Turn,” June 6, 2019.

Two new analyses show that the tariffs Mr. Trump is using to punish China, Mexico, Europe, and other governments would more than wipe out any gains from his $1.5 trillion tax cut for low- and middle-income earners. – Jim Tankersley, “Trump’s Tariffs Could Wipe Out Many Gains From His Tax Cut,” The New York Times International, June 5, 2019.

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MMA Weekly Column: June 3, 2019

Note: I am leaving for China now for courses the next two weekends. This column may not be written and available at its normal times during this period.

 

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said that the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute is a “real issue” that could damage corporate confidence. “I think trade is a real issue,” Dimon said Tuesday at a conference in New York. “Trade has gone from being a skirmish to being far more important than that. If this goes south in a bad way, and you have other surprises, that could be part of the thing that changes confidence, changes peoples’ willingness to invest.” –Hugh Son, “Jamie Dimon Warns US-China Trade Fight Becoming a ‘Real Issue’ that Could Deter Investment,” https://www.cnbc.com, May 28, 2019.

 

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Tuesday that investors should balance exposure to the market with storing cash on the sidelines, because there are “some real worries here.” “I think we could be on the verge of a significant slowdown in the U.S. economy if something doesn’t change soon,” the “Mad Money” host said. “Consumer and corporate confidence [is] waning. Things just don’t feel right in this country.” – Tyler Clifford, “Cramer: The U.S. Economy “Could Be On the Verge of a Significant Slowdown,” https://www.cnbc.com, May 28, 2019.

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The monthly ICR report will also undergo a modest change in July…

Starting on July 2nd, we are going to expand our International Cycles Report (ICR) into two reports…

ICR Financials and ICR Commodities. Each report will be covering 7 markets as follows:

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MMA Weekly Column: May 27, 2019

Note: Monday is a holiday – Memorial Day – in the USA. Markets will be closed.

 

Britain’s Theresa May announced her resignation as prime minister on Friday morning, drawing her turbulent three-year premiership to an abrupt end. She will step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7. – Sam Meredith and David Reid, “Teresa May Resigns as UK Prime Minister Amid Brexit Crisis,” https://www.cnbc.com, May 24, 2019.

 

President Donald Trump signaled Thursday that a trade deal with China could lift tough restrictions on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei. “If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form or some part of a trade deal,” Trump said to White House reporters. He also predicted a swift end to the ongoing trade tensions. – Chloe Taylor and Ryan Browne, “European Stocks Close Higher as Trade Jitters Fade,” https://www.cnbc.com, May 24, 2019.

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MMA Weekly Column: May 20, 2019

Imposing tariffs on China and other nations trying to send their goods to the U.S. not only raises the prices of those products for Americans, it also gives targeted nations an incentive to develop markets, and long-term trade ties in other countries, At the same time, those foreign nations can retaliate by cutting purchases of American goods, or by slapping retaliatory tariffs of their own on American products, making them less competitive. – Gerald F. Seib, “U.S. Risks Overusing Its Economic Weapons,” Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2019.

 

Trump might believe that he can bully Beijing into accepting a one-sided enforcement mechanism under which the United States is allowed to impose retaliatory tariffs in case of a dispute while China is not. That simply isn’t going to happen. Nor will China agree to stop subsidizing industries. Asians have subsidized capital-intensive industries since Japan’s 1868 Meiji Restoration, and that won’t change any time soon… “Forced technology transfers” to China are for the most part mythical. The reality is that America’s largest technology companies from Intel to Boeing are lining up to hand their technology to China in the context of their strategy for China’s domestic market. The emerging consensus is that Trump isn’t fooling anyone. At the end of the day he wants a deal as much as do the Chinese. – David P. Goldman, “Buy Chinese Stocks on the Dip,”  https://www.asiatimes.com, May 6, 2019.

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