What’s Good for Workers is Bad for Companies

Recent data from the labour market and the National Federation of Independent Business shows that wages will be picking up quickly this year. The NFIB compensation plans is now at the highest point in the last twenty years. Small businesses expect to raise wages, and...

Headwinds for US Manufacturing

The US manufacturing ISM is currently at levels last seen before the 2008-09 recession. While this reflects the recent optimism about growth prospects in the US, we see several headwinds to the industrial sector. The top-left chart shows the ISM against the VP...

Extreme Complacency on Russell 2000: Buy Puts

(from our Weekly of 21st February) As we have been noting, the market remains in a risk-on regime, with positive momentum, falling volatility and confirmation from various inter-market relationships such as cyclical stocks outperforming high dividend stocks, high...

Higher Inflation Target –> Even More Mispriced USTs

A discussion of late has been whether the Fed should raise its inflation target.  We think this would be a bad idea.  Currently, with a 2% target, the Taylor rule implies the Fed Funds rate should be closer to 2%. With a 3% inflation target, the Taylor rule would...

Peak in Heavy Truck Sales Point to Cyclical Pain

Heavy truck sales are oddly a good leading indicator for the economy.  It is odd because a lot of industrial production is coincident with the business cycle.  However, if you go back over forty years, you can see that recessions have always been preceded by a decline...

Earnings to Fall Further

Profit margins are declining, and we expect them to fall much further.  As you can see from the chart below, Variant Perception’s leading indicator for wages does a very good job of leading US corporate profit margins by a little over a year and a half. The message is...

Profit Cycle Turning Down

The corporate profit cycle is now turning down, and our leading economic indicators point to further declines in return on equity (ROE) and profit margins.  This is not a short-term call on equity markets but a major structural factor investors should bear in mind in...
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