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Alex Barrow
Alex Barrow
Articles (147)  | Author's Website |

The Data Says This Bull Market Still Has Legs

Once a quarter we like to review our US macro indicators to see if they confirm or reject our primary macro thesis. Here are the latest readings

June 12, 2018

Over the next 12-18 months we expect the U.S. market to outperform the rest of the world as we head into the final stages of this economic expansion.

Once a quarter we like to review our U.S. macro indicators to see if they confirm or reject our primary macro thesis. Here are the latest readings.

Liquidity: U.S. liquidity is near its cycle highs (meaning, it’s extremely loose). This is very bullish U.S. risk assets and should prevent emerging markets from going into full-blown crisis mode. This indicator will turn over well before this bull market ends.


LEI (Leading Economic Index): The Conference Board LEI, which tracks a basket of U.S. economic indicators, is still in a strong uptrend on both an absolute and year-over-year basis. This indicator will roll over well before we enter a recession.


CLI (Composite Leading Indicator): Our U.S. composite leading indicator shows the U.S. economy is in an accelerating expansion which should continue into the end of the year.


Inflation ROC: The three-month annualized core inflation rate has come down from its January-February highs, which sent interest rates shooting up. A slower change in inflation eases up pressure on yields and is bullish for stocks.


Advisor Sentiment: Advisor sentiment has reset from its excessively bullish January-February highs and is now giving a neutral reading. This is supportive of stocks moving higher.


BAA Yield ROC: The rate of change in yields has come down from its highs at the start of the year but it still remains elevated. This indicator is in neutral/headwind territory for stocks.


AAII Sentiment Survey: Bullish sentiment has completely reset since the beginning of the year and is now supportive of stocks moving higher.


S&P 50-day MA Spread: The percentage of SPX stocks above their 50-day moving averages is in overbought territory. It can and probably will move higher from here but we should be on the lookout for a pullback in the next few weeks as the short-term trend is becoming extended (chart via Bespoke).


Summary: The U.S. economy is strong and growth is accelerating. All our leading economic indicators are giving positive readings, making the odds of a recession in the next 12 months extremely low. Liquidity is still flush, which is supportive of the broader trend higher in stocks. Market sentiment has reset from its highs reached at the start of the year. All this means that the primary bullish trend in U.S. stocks is supported by the data and the primary path of least resistance remains up.

However, over the short term, the trend is overbought and the return on capital in yields is elevated. This makes the market more susceptible to a selloff over the next few weeks. A selloff would reset both of these and give us a good opportunity to add risk. There are numerous catalysts that could spark a selloff this week ahead. We have the consumer price index and North Korean summit on June 12 and the Federal Open Market Committee meeting June 13.

About the author:

Alex Barrow
I spent over a decade working for the U.S. military and government as an intelligence professional, including both collection and analysis. I specialized in covering the economic and political spheres of the Asian-Pacific region.

I eventually left the public sector to work as a consultant for a leading Silicon Valley firm that creates advanced data software for intelligence and finance. I then went on to pursue my passion for markets, working at a global-macro hedge fund.

Recently, I co-founded Macro Ops with two other former hedge fund analysts with the goal of helping friends and family navigate these volatile markets.

Visit Alex Barrow's Website

Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes)



Paytondavidbet - 7 months ago    Report SPAM

great analysis with supporting data, thank you

Newhigh premium member - 7 months ago

It's nice to see a well-argued opinion that is supported by compelling data

Norvas premium member - 7 months ago
The first indicator LEI is bullish for the USA but bearish for All-OECD and EU-OECD. Please look at https://data.oecd.org/leadind/composite-leading-indicator-cli.htm#indicator-chart. You can select the charted countries. If I consider also the Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) Indicator (now at 145.2%) then I am tempted to liquidate many of my stocks.

I invite you to share your view about this with us.


Norbert N. Vasen

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