Supernatural! US Payrolls Smash Expectations With 266K Jobs Added (Average Hourly Earnings Climbed 3.1% YoY)

Supernatural!

Hiring roared back in a big way in November. U.S. employers added 266,000 jobs last month, topping all expectations, according to a Labor Department report Friday. The surge was boosted by General Motors Co. workers returning to work after a 40-day strike.

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Meanwhile, average hourly earnings climbed 3.1% from a year earlier, beating forecasts.

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The US jobless rate dipped to 3.5% and the underemployment rate dropped to 6.9%.

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On the unexpected bounce in jobs, the 10Y-3M yield curve is no longer screaming recession.

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And the US Treasury Actives curve and US dollar swaps curves are pretty similar from 2 years to 10 years.

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Supernatural!

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China Trade Rally: Investors Rush Into Equity ETFs Just In Time!

There is a China trade rally going on!

A 2% post-Thanksgiving slump in the U.S. stock market couldn’t have come at a worse time for investors in exchange-traded funds. More than $38 billion flowed into equity-focused ETFs in November, the biggest monthly influx in almost two years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The inflows accounted for about 77% of cash absorbed by U.S. ETFs in the period through Nov. 30, the highest proportion since April.

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Fortunately for the stock market, the latest good news about US trade with China helped bolster a rally. Until we find out tomorrow that …

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Or is it Fools Rush In?

Recession Around The Corner? Evidence From Treasury Market And S&P 500 Earnings Sentiment

It has been the longest bull market in modern history, enabled by massive Central Bank intervention. But with trade wars raging, Brexit, Presidential impeachment over something, etc., there remains a significant risk of a recession over the next 12 months.

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If we look at the normalized change in the 10Y-3M curve minus normalized change in 10Y yields, we can see a heightened recession risk.

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Lower yields and steeper curves are not a good recipe.

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And then we have the decline in S&P 500 earnings estimates.

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Recession coming?

Does Carter’s “Misery Index” (Inflation + Unemployment) Forecast Recession? (No, Near Lowest Level Since Mid-1950s)

Back during the “days of malaise” under President Jimmy Carter, some clever wags thought of the term “misery index” which is the unemployment rate + inflation rate.

Sure enough, the misery index hit its all-time high in May 1980 of 21.93%. But the fear index subsided rapidly following the end of the July 1981 to November 1982 recession.

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But the misery index today is only 5.37%, near the lowest since the mid-1950s. So, no hint of an impending recession.

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Currently, the misery index is near its lowest level since the mid-1950s. The US Unemployment rate is low and is inflation is pretty low resulting in a misery index of 5.37%.

So, no recession in sight according to this indicator.

 

Achy-Breaky Curves: US Treasury Curve Flat For 5 Years, THEN Rises (Swaps Curve Inverted)

The US Treasury actives curve has gone achy-breaky.

That is, going out to 5 years, the US Treasury actives curve is overall flat, with undulations.

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And the US dollar swaps curve is higher at 3 months than at any other point on the curve.

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Here is a video of me forecasting the US Treasury yield curve.

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High-Beta Stock Trade Seizes Up Right After Everyone Piled In

High beta investment strategies are great … when the market is rising. But low (and negative beta) strategies seem appropriate when investors anticipate an equity market downturn.

Bloomberg — The market, it’s said, finds a way to maximize the pain. For everyone who fell in love with cyclical shares just in time for them to drop the most in two months this week, it’s an adage they can relate to.

Lurches in retail, technology and commodity stocks are spelling trouble for newly christened macro bulls, sending an exchange-traded fund that tracks high-volatility shares to its first decline since October. Back on top are health care, utilities and real estate, defensive sectors that dominated all year.

While none of the moves were huge, they stung fund managers who hoped economically sensitive industries were tickets to redemption after 71% of them trailed benchmarks through October. Betting on volatile shares has been a hallmark of late-season recovery strategies that looked like a sure thing as the S&P 500 rallied. This week was a reminder they’re not.

High-beta ETF falls for first week in five

Among struggling equity managers, a spate of improving economic reports opened their eyes to the possibility a pivot point was at hand for cyclicals. The veil lifted, mutual funds dutifully raised overweight exposure to the highest level in two years, according to Goldman Sachs, increasing allocations toward industrials and semiconductors and away from utilities and staples.

Here is the Invesco High Beta ETF, having a historic beta (relative to the S&P 500 index) of 1.30.

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The Invesco bond fund has a beta of 0.073.

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Invesco’s mortgage ETF (primarily backed by agency MBS) has a beta of … -0.025 relative to the S&P 500 index.

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Lastly, we have the Invesco Muni fund with a beta of 0.044.

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Of course, investors can hedge market downturns using options.

And we are talking about BETA and not BETO!

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Bitcoin Drops to Near $7,000 as China Vows to ‘Dispose of’ Local Exchanges (Venezuelan Inflation at 54m%)

Cryptocurrencies have had a wild ride.

According to Dailybitcoinnews, cryptocurrency exchanges operating illegally in China face a new threat after the central bank announced it would take new steps to uphold its trading ban.

In a statement on Nov. 21, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) warned it was taking action against entities allegedly involved in trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).

The move was in response to a rise in trading activity following China’s public endorsement of blockchain technology, it said. 

Pledging to keep its promise to outlaw trading, the PBoC vowed to “dispose of” any such activity it discovered under its jurisdiction.

Yes, Bitcoin has now plunged to near $7,000 and has broken through 3 resistance lines.

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All the major cryptocurrencies are down 5-6% this morning.

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How soon before others Central Banks try to eradicate cryptocurrencies?

Except for Venezuela, of course.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, speaking on state television, said he was authorizing the use of 30 million oil barrels to back the country’s cryptocurrency, known as the petro.  

Too bad Maduro has already trashed the Bolivar. In April 2019, the International Monetary Fund estimated that inflation would reach 10,000,000% by the end of 2019. The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) officially estimates that the inflation rate increased to 53,798,500% between 2016 and April 2019.

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The Unwind of the Fed Balance-Sheet Unwind May Be Buoying Stocks

May be? How about definitely, along with improved expectations for economic growth.

(Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve says that its Treasury-bill buying program isn’t the same as quantitative easing. But the advance in U.S. equity prices alongside the central bank’s growing balance sheet suggests to some that the effects may not be wildly different.

The central bank, driven by the need to tamp down problems in funding markets with liquidity injections, has expanded its balance sheet from as little as $3.76 trillion at the end of August to $4.05 trillion. That growth has, in effect, already reversed close to 40% of the shrinkage that the Fed began in late 2017. The S&P 500 Index, meanwhile, has climbed more than 7% since the end of August and this week reached new record highs.

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To calm funding markets and improve its control over short-term interest rates, the Fed has used measures including the implementation of repurchase-agreement operations and a $60 billion per month program to acquire T-bills. Officials argue that the T-bill buying isn’t QE because, unlike several of the central bank’s previous asset-purchase programs and reductions to its benchmark rate, it isn’t aimed at lowering long-term borrowing costs and affecting the economy.

Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Financial Group, says that in the eyes of the market this is just semantics.

“Markets view any increase in the size of the Fed’s balance sheet as QE,” he wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

Stocks, have of course, also been buoyed by other factors, ranging from an improving outlook for global growth and the prospects of a U.S. China-trade deal to better-than-expected earnings and the Fed’s three quarter-point rate cuts this year. But previous QE episodes were certainly instrumental in helping to fuel the post-crisis rally in equities, and signs of history repeating could well be adding to market buoyancy.

Of course, continued robust consumer consumption is helping.

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But California Democrat Eric Swalwell insists on saying “Everything is NOT beautiful.”

Did Eric Swalwell just out himself as Adam Schiff’s whistle blower in the Trump investigation??

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Fed Monkey? Mega Bond Sell-Off Spurs $1.2 Billion Outflow From Treasury Fund As Gold Futures Decline

As Europe shows signs of economic life and US recession fears dim, we are seeing an exodus from long-dated Treasuries and a large turnover in gold futures. But are markets expecting more active intervention by The Fed? (Aka, Fed Monkey).

(Bloomberg) — Investors are pulling the plug on a strategy tracking long-dated Treasuries as U.S. stocks trade near all-time highs.

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond exchange-traded fund, ticker TLT, posted its worst week of outflows on record, with traders yanking more than $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The 10-year U.S. government bond yield soared in the span, approaching 2%.

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Meanwhile, gold futures fell to a three-month low as contracts equal to over 3 million ounces changed hands in half an hour on the Comex.

In the 30 minutes ended 10:30 a.m. in New York Monday, 33,596 contracts were traded, more than triple the 100-day average for that time of day. Futures have declined in recent weeks as growth concerns ebbed, damping haven demand for the precious metal.

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Is The Fed Monkey recession prevention system working?

A thanks to our veterans on this Veterans’ Day!

 

Uncle Jay’s Band: Vanguard Sees US Inflation Rising With Gradual China Trade Tension Easing (Possible Rate Increase?)

With inflation expectations rising, will Uncle Jay’s Band intervene even more than they have at recent FOMC meetings?

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IF inflation rises, The Fed may be tempted to raise rates. But will it be enough to justify a rate increase at the December FOMC meeting?

(Bloomberg) — The bond market may be about to get confirmation of its rebounding inflation wagers, according to Vanguard Group Inc. strategist Anne Mathias.

The $5.6 trillion asset manager is among proponents of the view that market-based measures of inflation expectations will extend their climb from a three-year low.

Potential progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations has been a key contributor, along with the Federal Reserve’s signaling on Oct. 30 that it would need to see a significant pickup in inflation before lifting rates.

Five-year breakeven rates — a proxy for anticipated annual increases in consumer prices into 2024 — touched a four-month high of 1.64% last week, with nominal yields surging as well. Developments on the trade front aside, bond traders’ bearish shift may now hinge on inflation data to be released this week.

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Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) have been on the rise in 2019 as inflation has been rising.

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And the interest rate volatility cube is lighting up!

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Of course, China could always pull a “Lucy” on the USA in the trade talks.

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What will Uncle Jay’s Band do?

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Get into the groove and let the good times roll!