Stocks were up for the third straight week as recession fears faded slightly and the chances for a trade deal supposedly improved. How many times have we heard that before? Trump delayed tariffs on some items and China did the same on pork and soybeans. The S&P 500 increased by 1%.
A strong consumer spending report for August showed that the threat of a looming recession might be overstated. Retail sales were up by 0.4% which was better than expected. Yields exploded higher, the 10-year increased to 1.901% on Thursday, up by 34 basis points, the biggest rise since June of 2013. The gap between the 3-month treasury bill and the 10-year bond significantly narrowed and is now inverted by only by .061 percentage point compared to 0.41% one week ago.
There was a shift in factor sentiment, as investors jumped into value and out of momentum. MTUM, the IShares Momentum Factor ETF fell by 2.35% while VLUE, the IShares Value Factor ETF increased by 4.02%.
If you are wondering how the economy can maintain its pace of slow growth in the face of an ever-increasing trade war, one reason would be the fiscal stimulus provided by a budget deficit that now exceeds $1 trillion dollars for the first 11-months of the year (4.4% of GDP). That is the first time the deficit has exceeded $1 trillion since 2012. It is possible that a surplus in September pulls the number lower, but the point is the deficit is exploding at a time when it should be declining.
Closing out his tenure as the ECB president, Mario Draghi announced a rate cut and the restart of quantitative easing.
No scoreboard this week due to a software issue. It will be posted next week as normal. Sorry!