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    Gavekal Research

    A Boost For The 'Weather Theory'

    From mid-February until last week, a very unusual pattern was unfolding in the markets, with equities, bonds and commodities all going up at the same time. At some point this pattern was bound to break since, on the one hand, equity and commodity investors seemed to be anticipating robust economic growth while bonds were starting to price in a growth disappointment, if not a severe slowdown or recession.

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    Realpolitik In Ukraine

    Oscar Wilde described marriage as the triumph of imagination over intelligence and second marriage as the triumph of hope over experience. In finance and geopolitics, by contrast, experience must always prevail over hope and realism over wishful thinking. A grim case in point is the Russian incursion into Ukraine. What makes this confrontation so dangerous is that US and EU policy seems to be motivated entirely by hope and wishful thinking. Hope...

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    Gavekal Research

    Has The Spell Of US Payrolls Been Broken?

    Ever since the end of the financial crisis, monthly US employment reports have largely determined the direction of equity markets, not just in the US but the world over, as we have often pointed out (see chart below). Then something strange happened last Friday. At 8.30 am Washington time, the eagerly awaited January payroll report came in much weaker than anyone had predicted – and for a few minutes, equity futures plunged the world over, while...

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    Gavekal Research

    What's Causing The Panic?

    What’s causing investors to panic (or return to rationality, depending on your point of view)? There are probably as many explanations as panicking investors (or rational market participants). But many discussions with clients, other analysts and policy officials in the period since the bullish mood suddenly changed in early January, have suggested a framework for thinking about the current market mayhem. The purpose of this framework is not to...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Rational Response To The Data

    When a bolt of statistical lightning strikes from a clear blue sky and blows up the expectations of investors and economists, as the US payroll release did last Friday, three possible reactions may be sensible and one definitely is not. The wrong interpretation was the one offered over the weekend by many media and market commentators. These pundits began by explaining that December’s payroll figures was distorted by weather, inconsistent with...

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    Gavekal Research

    Predictions And Pipedreams For 2014

    For the first time since 2008, investors, economists and business people can say “Happy New Year” without irony. While last year was statistically disappointing, with global growth slowing slightly from 2012 and apparently belying the optimism I expressed last January, the verdict of financial markets and business sentiment has been much more consistent with my predictions (see Why The World Will Be Better In 2013). Stock markets enjoyed their...

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    Gavekal Research

    Good News From The World's Central Bank

    Thank goodness it’s over. Financial market behavior ahead of last night’s announcement on a reduction in US monetary stimulus has been tedious and irritating, rather like listening to whining children in the backseat on a long car journey: “Daddy, are we nearly there yet?” In fact, impatience about when the Federal Reserve might start to “taper” has spoilt for many investors what should have been one of the most enjoyable financial journeys of...

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    Gavekal Research

    No More Theater: Just Watch The Data

    I have argued for many months that US fiscal policy battles would be settled this year, and more recently that a budget deal would be done by the December 13 deadline (see The End Of The Matter). Given that Washington indeed seems to have smelt the coffee on its basic governing responsibilities, markets can be expected to consolidate their move into a data-driven environment. As such, debates about monetary and fiscal policy have become largely...

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    Gavekal Research

    Turncoats And U-Turns In The UK

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    Gavekal Research

    The Facts Have Changed

    As Keynes famously replied to some pedantic critic whom history has long forgotten: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir?” Of all Keynes’s brilliant aphorism this is perhaps the most important. In economics, the only certainty is uncertainty and change. I start with this apologia because ten days ago I wrote a mildly bearish Daily about US equities for the first time since 2011.

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    Gavekal Research

    Discretion And Valor On Wall Street

    Is it time for the equity bulls to pull in their horns? Even those of us who have been continuously and stubbornly bullish about equities throughout this year—insisting that the US election, the fiscal cliff panic, the taper tantrum and the government shutdown were all opportunities to “buy on dips”—are starting to feel a little queasy as prices keep rising day after day.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Euro's Little Bull Run May Be Over

    The euro is finally in the headlines, after losing two week’s worth of gains in the last two days, a tumble triggered by weak economic data which is raising pressure on the European Central Bank to ease. The question is why, until yesterday’s tumble, so little attention had been paid to the currency’s remarkable ascent. The euro hit its highest level against the dollar since 2011 on Monday, having jumped by 5.5% since September and over 8% since...

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    Gavekal Research

    Tapering And "Boehnanke"

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    Gavekal Research

    Tragedy Or Comedy?

    Even before last night’s hint of a climb-down by House Speaker John Boehner, the tragi-comedy of the US budget seemed fairly harmless. But they say in the theatre that the difference between comedy and tragedy is timing—and the longer this pantomime continues the greater the probability that it turns into something grim.

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    Gavekal Research

    Washington's Wrestling Extravaganza

    Now that market obsession with the Fed tapering scare has subsided, one might have expected investors and analysts to return to the serious business of analysing economic data and corporate financial results. Instead, the markets have discovered a new excuse to feed their obsession with US policy and politics. The battles in Washington over the budget and Obamacare will reach a climax at the end of the US fiscal year on Monday. And this crisis...

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    Gavekal Research

    Summer's Officially Over

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    Gavekal Research

    The G7 Is Back On Its Feet

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    Gavekal Research

    The Washington Watch

    The next few weeks will bring a confluence of four US policy events that will set the tone for financial markets everywhere. These are the monthly employment report this Friday; the Federal Reserve’s tapering decision on September 18; the announcement of a new Fed chairman expected soon after that; and the Congressional vote on the Treasury debt limit required by mid-October. After a week in the US talking to informed investors, Fed-watchers and...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Debt Ceiling Showdown That Won't Be

    In the past few weeks, as interest in Fed tapering has subsided, the latter-day Kremlinologists in Washington are seeking to justify their salaries by stirring up excitement about some new policy drama. Two candidates have emerged for the next economic drama: announcement of the next Federal Reserve chairman and the next debt ceiling deadline, both of which will hit the markets in November or December.

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    Gavekal Research

    Something's Working In Britain

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