November 2016 - Forecasts & Trends

Forecasts & Trends is much more than just investment blog posts. You need to know the "big picture;" you need to have a "world view," especially in the post-911 world; and you need more information than ever before to be successful in meeting your financial goals. Gary intends to help you do just that.

Forecasts & Trends

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  • Global Bonds In Worst Selloff In 13 Years - How Come?

    Bond investors have had a rough ride in November. The Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index plunged by 5% during the last two weeks just before and after the election – its worst such drop since March 2003, according to Dow Jones data. When yields rise, bond prices fall, and vice-versa.

    As you know, interest rates have been falling for over 35 years since peaking in 1980. It has been a spectacular bull market for bond investors, that is until just recently. To say that the reversal over the last few weeks came as a surprise to bondholders around the world is an understatement.

    More than $77 billion in assets are benchmarked to the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index, according to Morningstar, making it one of the most widely followed in the fixed-income world. It incorporates investment-grade debt denominated in 24 different currencies. Sovereign bonds have historically been the Index’s most heavily-weighted constituent, followed by asset-backed securities, corporate bonds and government-related debt.

    Global bond yields have been edging up since falling to historic lows in late June/July following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. But the selloff accelerated aggressively after Donald Trump won the US presidential election – an outcome that took most bond market participants around the world by surprise.

    The sharp selloff was predicated on the notion that Donald Trump’s campaign promises to rebuild America’s infrastructure, cut taxes and raise trade barriers, would – if they become reality – drive up inflation, and possibly force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates much more aggressively than had been expected.

    In just the two days following Trump’s election, global bonds shed an estimated $1.1 trillion in value, the worst rout in a year and a half as investors sold bonds and bought stocks in many cases. The stampede out of bonds propelled US Treasury yields to their highest levels since January.

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  • How The Media Blew The Election & What To Watch For Just Ahead

    As long-time clients and readers know, I have kept a fairly low political profile as we moved through this year’s election season, as opposed to previous years when I was an outspoken supporter for the conservative candidates.

    One reason is that, like many of you, I didn’t care much for either candidate. I did go on the record a few weeks ago saying that I did not want to see the Clintons return to the White House, which made me a reluctant Trump supporter. In light of Trump’s surprise thrashing of Hillary in the Electoral College, I will offer some personal thoughts on the election today.

    Following that, I have reprinted the very best analysis I have seen on how and why the election turned out as it did. This excellent article was written by Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal. Kim has become one of my favorite writers in recent years, so I trust you will enjoy her keen analysis on why the election went to Trump. (Hint: She argues that it was President Obama who is primarily responsible for Trump’s victory.)

    Next I’ll add some parting thoughts on how the media got this election so very wrong. I will also add some thoughts on what we should be watching for just ahead to help us get a read on what kind of president Donald Trump may be.

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  • 3Q GDP Report Came In Better Than Expected At 2.9%

    We will touch on several bases today. I must admit that it was so tempting to devote today’s E-Letter to a discussion about the presidential election one week from today, especially with all the recent twists and turns in this race.

    But the fact is, these are two of the worst presidential candidates I can ever remember. So I’ll spare you my political thoughts today. I do have an interesting section below on which US presidents have been best for the economy dating back to President Eisenhower in 1953. Hint: President Obama ranks dead last!

    Following that discussion, we’ll take a look at the global bond market which has taken a hit over the last couple of months. Bonds worldwide lost almost 3% in October alone, the largest monthly loss since May 2013. The question is whether this is just a “correction” or the beginning of a new trend?

    Before we get into those discussions, let’s take a look at last Friday’s stronger than expected GDP report for the 3Q. The advance report showed growth well above the pre-report consensus. Most analysts concluded that the door is now wide open for the Fed to raise short-term interest rates in December. I’ll give you my latest thoughts as we go along today.

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