Posts Tagged ‘economic slowdown’
As the key stock indices continue to climb higher, optimism amongst investors and stock advisors rises to a dangerous level.
According to the Advisor Sentiment tracked by Investors Intelligence, an indicator I follow to gauge optimism in the stock market, the number of stock advisors who are bullish towards key stock indices is at its highest since April of 2011. (Source: Investors Intelligence, May 22, 2013.) To bring this into perspective, in April of 2011, the key stock indices like the S&P 500 started to decline, dropping nearly 20% through October of that year.
The stock market is becoming very overbought and very overpriced. It’s not a matter of “if” the market faces a major set-back, but “when.”
The U.S. economy continues to struggle and early indicators of economic slowdown are flashing warning signs. Consider the Business Outlook Survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which provides an outlook for manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area. The survey indicates demand has been weak, with new orders and shipments declining and inventories building up. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, May 16, 2013.)
The index of current manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region registered at negative 5.3 in May compared to positive 1.3 in April. Any number below zero indicates conditions in the manufacturing sector are becoming poor.
This isn’t the only troubling statistic that shows the U.S. economy is headed towards an economic slowdown. Our economic growth is questionable; unemployment is still staggering; the majority of jobs created since the financial crisis have been in low-paying jobs, and a significant portion of the U.S. population is on food stamps…. Read More
The disconnect between the stock market and the U.S.economy continues to grow, as the key stock indices run way ahead of reality.
The fundamental reasons behind the rise in today’s key stock indices are missing. For a real rally to happen, there has to be rising demand in the U.S. economy, consumers must be confident to spend, and businesses should see their sales rising. None of this is taking place.
Industrial production in the U.S. economy decreased 0.5% in April—marking the second decline since the beginning of the year. (Source: Federal Reserve, May 15, 2013.)
Similarly, manufacturing in the U.S. economy is also portraying a bleak picture of demand. Manufacturing output in the U.S. economy declined 0.4% in April after continuing its slump from March, when it decreased by 0.3%.
In the first quarter, a large number of companies on the key stock indices, like the S&P 500, were able to show better-than-expected corporate earnings. But in hindsight, they showed one troubling phenomenon: as the majority of the companies on the S&P 500 have already reported their corporate earnings, only 48% of them were able to beat revenue expectations. (Source: FactSet, May 10, 2013.)
Looking ahead, the picture for the key stock indices in the U.S. economy doesn’t look bright. For example, as of May 10, out of all the companies on the S&P 500 that have issued their corporate earnings guidance, more than 79% of them have issued a negative outlook. The estimated earnings growth rate for companies on the S&P 500 stands at 1.6%, compared to 4.5% near the end of March.
On top of all these troubles … Read More
In the first quarter of 2013, the eurozone continued to witness an economic contraction. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the 17-nation region declined 0.2%. This decrease in the GDP marked the sixth straight quarter of economic contraction in the eurozone and the longest since 1995. (Source: Reuters, May 15, 2013.)
The debt-infested countries in the eurozone, such as Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, are already experiencing severe economic contraction; and to say the very least, they have a lot of issues to resolve before they even come close to seeing any economic growth.
What concerns me the most is that the stronger nations in the eurozone are starting to show weakness—the economic slowdown is picking up speed. It could make the economic contraction in the entire region much more severe and could send the eurozone into another downward spiral.
Consider the French economy—the second-biggest economic hub in the eurozone. In the first quarter of 2013, France witnessed an economic contraction—GDP declined 0.2% and France entered a recession. (Source: Bloomberg, May 15, 2013.) For the past few quarters, France’s economy has been witnessing severe pressures, and unemployment in the country continues to be a major problem.
Similarly, Germany—the biggest nation in eurozone by GDP—grew at a dismal pace in the first quarter of 2013, below economists’ estimates. The German Federal Statistical office reported that the German economy grew 0.1% in the first quarter, and the revised calculation showed the country experienced an economic contraction in the last quarter of 2012, when its GDP declined by 0.7%. (Source: Destatis, May 15, 2013.) But there are even more troubling … Read More
Economic conditions in the U.S. economy may be improving slightly, but the global economy is on the verge of witnessing an economic slowdown—and a possible recession. Key indicators are flashing red signals and warning of trouble ahead for the global economy.
In these pages, I have written rigorously about how the main economic hubs of the global economy are witnessing an economic slowdown, with the eurozone and Japan in an outright recession. The Chinese economy is slowing down, and emerging market economies are now starting to show concerns, as their troubles are quickly brewing.
This week, the central bank of South Korea cut its interest rates to 2.5% from 2.75%. The main reason for this cut in rates was deteriorating exports. In March, industrial output for the country declined 2.6% from February—the biggest decline in a year.
Similarly, central banks from countries like India, Taiwan, and the Philippines may do the same and cut interest rates to boost their exports and economies.
Emerging market economies export to developed nations in the global economy. If these emerging markets experience an economic slowdown, it will mean that demand is weak in the developed countries.
Other key indicators, like industrial metal prices, are reaffirming the economic slowdown.
Consider the price of aluminum, a metal used in many different technologies. On the London Metal Exchange (LME), aluminum traded for about $2,100 per ton at the beginning of 2013. Fast-forward to today, and the price has declined almost 12% to around $1,850 per ton. (Source: London Metal Exchange web site, last accessed May 9, 2013.)
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