Retail Stocks to Suffer Due to Higher Inflation

Retail sales will suffer in the months ahead due to rapidly rising medical and rental CPI.  Whenever rental and medical costs have risen significantly in the past, they have led to a big decline in retail sales.  You can see from the chart below that Medical CPI plus...

Lower ISM Ahead, Weak Read for Stocks

The ISM Manufacturing Index came out at the beginning of the month and offers a dim view of the next three months for US manufacturing as well as for stocks.  The key data we focus on in the ISM is the relationship between New Orders to Inventory.  The ratio leads the...

The Market and the Economy

We discussed earlier last month how investors should not confuse the market and the economy.  The market might be volatile and suffering losses at the moment, but the US economy is still ambling along.  Manufacturing is likely in a recession, but the service sector is...

Economic Downturn Evident in Chemical Prices

Chemical prices tend to provide a good lead on global economic conditions and the message at the moment is unambiguously negative.  Falling naphtha, polymer and Brent oil prices are indicative of very weak global economic conditions. Source: Variant Perception and...

Pillars of Equity Rally Fall Away

Stock buybacks have been an important feature of the equity rally.  Companies have used low rates and easy credit to borrow money and used it to buy their own shares back.  An identity for a company’s share price is: S = (revenues * margins * P/E) / # of shares. ...

US Inflation and Wages Continue to Turn Up

The key message from our leading indicators is that US inflation and wages continue to turn up.  This was one of our core themes for 2014 we discussed in December last year and is bearing out.  Core inflation and headline inflation are positive, while wages are...

Profit Margins to Head Lower, Equities to Suffer

Profit margins in the US have hit modern-day record levels, and this has been used to help justify high equity valuations.  Consensus estimates are for profit margins to remain steady, or even increase from current levels.  We disagree for ironclad economic and...