Putin, pawns and propaganda (with Garry Kasparov) | Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara

Join Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney who fought corruption, financial fraud and violent crime, in a series about justice and fairness.

The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.

The aim of propaganda is to annihilate the truth | Garry Kasparov

East to West: Asia, Europe weaken but US powers on

Starting with Asia, South Korea’s Seoul Composite Index continues to test support at 2450. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure but this appears secondary in nature. Breach of the rising trendline would warn that the primary up-trend is losing momentum.

Seoul Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is consolidating between 22000 and 23000. A Trend Index trough high above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Nikkei 225 Index

China’s Shanghai Composite Index is undergoing a correction that should find support at 3200. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index, and a cross below zero for the first time since May 2016, warn of continued selling pressure.

Shanghai Composite Index

India’s NSE Nifty Index continues to test support at 10000 after a weak correction. Twiggs Trend Index respecting zero signals strong buying pressure. Recovery above 10500 is likely and would indicate another primary advance.

Nifty Index

Target 10500 + ( 10500 – 10000 ) = 11000

Europe is weaker despite strong manufacturing signals. Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 found support at 3520 but the Trend Index is declining, warning of selling pressure. Breach of 3520 is likely and would warn of a test of primary support at 3400.

DJ Euro Stoxx 50

The Footsie remains volatile, with the index headed for another test of stubborn resistance at 7600. But Trend Index is declining and continues to warn of selling pressure.
FTSE 100

Moving to the US, the S&P 500 continues to shrug off concerns regarding high valuations and a flattening yield curve. The rising Trend Index, high above zero, indicates long-term buying pressure.

S&P 500

The Nasdaq 100 also continues a strong bull market, with the big five tech stocks (Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook) all recording solid gains.

Nasdaq 100

ASX struggles with resistance

Bulls were baited with a third ASX 200 breakout above resistance at 6000, only to see the index retreat yet again. Declining Money Flow warns of commitment from sellers. Breach of support at 5920 would confirm a correction already signaled by Money Flow (21-day) crossing to below zero.

ASX 200

The ASX 300 Retailing Index is weak, anticipating a poor Christmas.

ASX 300 Retailing

But Food & Staples Retailing is strengthening.

ASX 300 Food & Staples Retailing

ASX 200 direction, however, is largely determined by Banks and Miners.

The bear-trend on iron ore is weak, with the bulk commodity continuing its test of resistance at 70. Respect would warn of another decline, while breakout above 80 would signal a primary up-trend.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index, however, shows signs of selling pressure, with Money Flow (21-day) declining to zero. Breach of support at 3300 would warn of a correction.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Banks continue to disappoint, with the ASX 300 Banks index headed for a test of short-term support at 8250. Twiggs Trend Index peaks below zero indicate continued selling pressure. Breach of 8250 is likely and would warn of a test of primary support between 8000 and 8100.

ASX 300 Banks

Gold finds short-term support

The greenback continues its bear market rally, assisted by the new tax bill and the December Fed rate hike. Breakout above resistance at 95 would signal a primary up-trend, a strong bear signal for gold, but the Dollar still has to overcome concerns over North Korea.

Dollar Index

Gold found short-term support at $1240/ounce and recovery above the descending trendline would indicate that the down-trend is weakening. Breach of primary support at $1200 is unlikely but would be a strong bear signal, warn of a primary down-trend.

Spot Gold

The All Ords Gold Index is also correcting. Breach of primary support at 4300 would warn of a primary down-trend.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

But I expect this to be cushioned by further weakness on the Aussie Dollar.

Australian Dollar/USD

Helped in part by a declining yield differential between Australian and US government bonds.

Differential between Australian and US 10-year Government Bonds

Crude consolidates

Crude is consolidating below long-term resistance. Nymex crude is consolidating between $55 and $60/barrel, the 2015 high.

Nymex Light Crude

Brent crude is consolidating between $60 and $65, some way below its 2015 high of $70/barrel.

Brent Crude

The primary trend in both cases is up, with no signs of an imminent change.

What are the key risks facing the Australian economy?

By Gareth Aird, senior economist at CBA:

Re-published with kind permission from Macrobusiness.

Key Points:

  • GDP growth has lifted in 2017 and the labour market has tightened.
  • Our base case has these trends continuing over the next two years, but there are a number of downside risks.
  • The ability of monetary policy to support the economy in the event of a negative shock is more limited than in the past thereby exacerbating the potential impact that any negative shock may bring.

On some important metrics it’s been a reasonably good for year the Australian economy. The labour market has tightened courtesy of very strong employment growth and real GDP growth has lifted. At the same time, nominal GDP growth has been buoyant due to firmer commodity prices when compared to a year earlier. Wages growth, however, remains soft and real wages are barely in positive territory.

The house view is that the improvement in the labour market continues over the next two years and the unemployment rate should continue to grind lower. But there are plenty of risks that would change the outlook if they were to materialise.

This note discusses some of the key global and domestic risks to the Australian economy. It begins with an outline of CBA’s base case for the economy over the next two years before delving into some of the potential risks. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather it covers a few areas that the author considers to be the most acute risks to our central scenario. They are: (i) the capacity to respond to a negative shock with monetary policy (and to a lessor extent fiscal policy), (ii) a solid fall in commodity prices; (iii) a sharp correction in dwelling prices; (iv) a policy “mistake”; and (v) a fall in net migration via a policy change.

CBA’s central scenario

CBA’s base case for the economy over the next two years is a benign one. It is broadly similar to the RBA’s forecast profile for the economy which is also not dissimilar to the consensus view.

On the key components, we see output growth continuing to lift to a pace of around 3%pa in 2018 (chart 1). We put potential growth at 2¾% (population plus productivity growth) which means our forecast profile has a gradual decline in the unemployment rate as spare capacity recedes (chart 2). In 2018, most of the key components of the economy are expected to contribute to growth, with dwelling investment the exception.


Our base case has inflation remaining soft due to elevated slack in the labour market which is suppressing wages growth. We have core inflation tracking at the bottom of the RBA’s target band (chart 3). This means that a rate rise still looks a long way off. We have commodity prices drifting a little lower which means that we expect the terms-of-trade to ease over the next few years, but to remain above its trough in early 2016. As a result, nominal GDP growth should step down.


We don’t explicitly forecast dwelling price growth. But the most likely outcome, in our view, is for dwelling price growth to slow and converge with household income growth (i.e. a low single digit annual growth rate). Such an outcome would also represent a best case outcome from a financial stability perspective.

We expect housing credit growth to continue to slow driven by a further easing in lending growth to investors.

The capacity to respond to a negative shock with monetary and fiscal policy

Monetary policy: While strictly speaking not a risk to the economic outlook per se, in many ways the reduced capacity to respond to a negative shock, particularly via monetary policy, is the biggest risk to the economy outlook.

Over the past 30 year the interest rate lever has been used to smooth out business cycles. When output and employment growth have fallen and/or the outlook for inflation has been lowered, interest rates have come down.

Conversely, the policy rate has been raised when it’s been necessary to slow the pace of growth and inflation in the economy. That process has worked relatively well. But it may have a limited shelf life because it’s required a structural decline in interest rates to support the economy over the past 30 years (chart 4).


The amount of fire power the central bank has on the cash rate front is effectively the difference between the current policy rate and the lower bound. We aren’t at the lower bound yet. But with a current cash rate of 1.5% we are close. In our view, a policy rate of around 0.75% would probably be the lower bound in Australia, which is higher than the lower bound of many other advanced and bigger economies. In the Eurozone and Japan, for example, policy rates have gone negative. But these regions run current account surpluses which probably gives them greater scope to take rates down without causing a massive fall in their currencies (chart 5). In Australia, it may not be possible to cut the cash rate below 0.75% because the current account deficit has been sizeable in the past as a share of GDP and must be funded (note that the current account deficit would blow out if there was a negative commodity price shock). As a result, there may only be a few rate cut ‘bullets’ left if we are right. The RBA will hope that if/when the next shock arrives the cash rate is a fair bit higher than it is today to allow them scope to cut and provide stimulus to the economy. But while the cash rate sits at 1.5% the economy is more vulnerable than usual to a shock.

The limited capacity to stimulate the economy further via rate cuts means that the ability of household leverage to increase further is also hamstrung. As interest rates have come down over the past 30 years the stock of household debt relative to income has risen (chart 6). That is because households have been able to borrow more for a given level of income. As a result, Australia has
the second most indebted household sector in the world.


In previous downturns rate cuts both encouraged and made it possible for households to increase debt relative to income. That debt initially went into higher dwelling prices, but ultimately the new credit created found its way into consumption. But with very little capacity to take interest rates lower and with the household sector already very stretched, the consumer is not going to absorb the next economic shock by borrowing through it.

Fiscal policy: There is some scope to stimulate the economy via fiscal policy if/when a negative shock arrives. In fact, the Government’s balance sheet looks in a much better condition than most other advanced countries when assessed on a debt to GDP basis. But we should not get too carried away because Australia has a structural deficit which means debt to GDP will rise quite quickly if/when the next negative shock arrives. From here, any downturn in the economy would almost certainly see the Government’s triple A credit rating stripped. While there is some conjecture over the precise implications of losing the triple A, its loss would certainly carry some weight from a symbolic perspective given it’s been the proud boast of successive Treasurers.

A commodity price shock

From an external perspective, a commodity price shock carries the greatest risk to the Australian economy. Australia continues to be heavily reliant on commodities for its resource revenue (chart 7). And a huge chunk of our exports go to China (chart 8). As such, the biggest threat to commodity prices is a slowdown in China that would lead to lower investment growth (or possibly a fall in investment). Such a slowdown could occur it if the Chinese authorities accept a lower level of output growth for the sake of financial stability given the rapid build-up of corporate debt. It could also happen if a greater emphasis is placed on delivering growth through services rather than investment. And it could of course come via a China hard landing (a Trump-led lift in tariffs in the US, for example, could be the trigger). In any event, commodity prices get hit and that would have implications for the Australian economy.


A sizeable fall in commodity prices would pull Australia’s terms-of-trade substantially lower. Roughly speaking, a 40% fall in commodity prices would see Australia’s terms-of-trade fall by 30% (chart 9). This is an illustrative example, but it is also represents a plausible outcome if there was a material slowdown in investment growth in China. In such a scenario the AUD could fall to the low-mid US 50 cent mark (chart 10).


A terms-of-trade shock would weigh on income across the economy more broadly given the strong correlation between commodity prices and nominal GDP (chart 11). In addition, Government revenue would be hit because of the relationship between the terms-of-trade and the tax take. Finally, unemployment would rise. While a lower AUD would provide some support to the economy, the limited capacity of monetary policy to absorb a commodity price shock from here would see the unemployment rate rise faster than would otherwise have been the case.

The capacity of wages growth to slow further from here is also limited in the event of a commodity price shock. That is because wages growth is already at record lows and wages growth is sticky downwards. A fall in wages growth was able to cushion the most recent terms-of-trade shock (late-2011 to early 2016) because growth in wages slowed in line with the weakness in commodity prices. This helped to support the labour market and keep the unemployment rate from rising as much as it otherwise might have. But this time, a fall in wages growth will not be able to absorb the shock to the same extent given wages growth is already so low.

A sharp correction in dwelling prices

The single biggest risk to the domestic outlook looks to be a sharp correction in dwelling prices. In our view, this carries a greater risk to the real economy than it does to financial stability given the banking system is well capitalised.

There is a commonly held belief in Australia that the main trigger for a fall in dwelling prices is a rise in unemployment. This seems logical because rising unemployment would generally be associated with a lift in mortgage delinquencies which would put downward pressure on prices. But the data suggests that employment is more likely to lag changes in dwelling prices rather than lead (chart 12). The obvious question to then ask is why? We attribute the answer, in part, to the wealth effect and the recent track record of monetary policy in smoothing out the business cycle.

In periods when employment growth is slowing, the RBA is generally easing policy. When this is occurring, as long as the RBA can fend off a recession, falling interest rates tend to push up dwelling prices via cheaper credit which in turn encourages spending and supports employment growth. Of course, it’s a different story if employment growth falls too fast and unemployment rises sharply. But so far, at the national level, this hasn’t happened since the recession of the early 90s.

The risk of a material correction in dwelling prices looks higher now than it has been for a long time given: (i) the incredible lift in dwelling prices over the past five years; (ii) mortgage rates are probably unlikely to go lower and indeed can’t go much lower; (iii) household debt to income is at a record high; and (iv) dwelling supply is in the process of lifting quite significantly in some jurisdictions.

A soft correction in dwelling prices would probably have no material negative impact on the labour market. But there is a risk that a hard correction in prices (a fall of 20% or more) would lead the economy into a downturn via the wealth effect (i.e. the notion that changes in demand are influenced by changes in the value of assets). Since income to one person comes via the spending of another, there is a risk that falling home prices leads households to put the brakes on spending which ultimately drags consumption and employment growth lower.

A policy “mistake”

We consider a policy mistake by the central bank to be a risk to the economy given how much debt the household sector is carrying. Specifically, if the RBA hikes too early it could derail the improvement in the labour market that has been underway over the past two years. The record level of debt being carried by the household sector means that interest payments as a share of income will rise quickly if/when rates move higher (chart 13).


We consider a policy mistake to be a risk because the RBA has been overly bullish on wages and the consumer over the past five years (charts 14 & 15).


The apparent bias in their forecasts towards a lift in wages and consumer spending means there is a risk that they hike too early if/when wages growth starts to rise.

Here we note that the RBA puts the neutral cash rate at 3.5% which is 200bpts above current settings (this is higher than our estimate of 3.0%). This means that on their own numbers, the RBA would be tightening to 3.5% if it thought the economy was on a sustained path to full employment and inflation at the mid-point of their target band. That to us looks too aggressive and therefore
there is a risk that the central bank hikes too early or too quickly.

A change in immigration policy

Australia’s population growth rate is significantly higher than most other OECD countries. Australia’s population grew by a strong 1.6% (i.e. 373k) in 2016. Net overseas migration accounted for 56% of that increase (chart 16).


A strong population growth rate boosts the potential growth rate of the economy (not output per person, however) as well as puts upward pressure on dwelling prices through stronger demand for housing. It also, over time, alters the industry composition of the economy (chart 17).

The construction sector in Australia, for example, is proportionately bigger than the construction sector in most other advanced economies because strong growth in people means that more needs to be built – dwellings, roads, schools, hospitals, ports etc. Finally, at the margin, a strong population growth rate at a time when there is labour market slack is likely to be putting downward pressure on wages as workers from offshore add competition to domestic labour.

At present, both major sides of politics (i.e. the Liberal-National Coalition and the Labor party) support maintaining a high permanent migrant intake every year. But there is a risk that one of the major parties opts for a different policy stance. The example here is to be found in New Zealand where there has been a change in immigration policy following the recent election outcome that means migration should drop substantially over the next few years. As a result, a change in immigration policy cannot and should not be ruled out in Australia.

A material reduction in net migration to Australia would increase the risk of a fall in dwelling prices as well as weigh on total output growth (not GDP per capita) and negatively impact the construction sector. But it would also likely put upward pressure on wages growth by reducing the pool of workers in many occupations. In that context, it’s not so much a downside risk, but rather one that would see a shift in the economic outlook that would have both winners and losers. From a policy perspective it’s about assessing whether there is a net societal benefit. But that’s a question for another day.

East to West: Europe steadies, S&P powers on

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 found support at 380 and is now headed for a test of recent highs at 395. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index continues to warn of selling pressure but recovery above the declining trendline (on the Trend Index) would indicate that pressure has eased. Breakout above 395 would signal another primary advance, with a target of 425*.

DJ Euro Stoxx 600

Target 395 + ( 395 – 365 ) = 425

Conclusion of phase I of Brexit negotiations helped the Footsie find support at 7300. Trend Index continues to warn of selling pressure. Breach of 7200 is unlikely at present but would signal a primary down-trend. Breakout above 7600 would signal a primary advance, but is also unlikely. Expect further consolidation.

FTSE 100

In Asia, South Korea’s Seoul Composite Index is undergoing a correction but seems to have found support at 2450. Respect of the rising trendline would confirm the primary up-trend.

Seoul Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index found solid support at 22000, with long tails signaling buyer enthusiasm. The trend index trough high above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Nikkei 225 Index

China’s Shanghai Composite Index is undergoing a correction. A long tail suggests support at 3250. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure but this appears to be secondary in nature.

Shanghai Composite Index

India’s NSE Nifty Index found support at 10000 after a weak correction. Recovery above 10500 is likely and would warn of another primary advance.

Nifty Index

Target 10500 + ( 10500 – 10000 ) = 11000

In the US, the S&P 500 continues to shrug off concerns regarding high valuations and a flattening yield curve. The rising Trend Index indicates buying pressure.

S&P 500

The Nasdaq 100 continues its strong bull market, powered by the big five tech stocks (Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook). Corrections are mild and of short duration, typical of the latter stages of a bull market.

Nasdaq 100

ASX still hesitant

The ASX 200 index is running up against resistance at 6000. Reversal below support at 5920 would signal a correction. As would Twiggs Money Flow (21-day) crossing to below zero.

ASX 200

Iron ore is testing resistance at 70. Respect would warn of another (primary) decline. Breakout above 80 would signal a primary up-trend but that is unlikely if China continues to crack down on bank lending.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index is testing support at 3300. Decline of the Trend Index below zero warns of medium-term selling pressure. Breach of 3300 would warn of a correction.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The ASX 300 Banks index found short-term support at 8300. Recovery above 8500 would be a bullish sign but respect is more likely and would warn of a test of primary support between 8000 and 8100.

ASX 300 Banks

Gold falls

Gold broke support at $1250/ounce, warning of a test of primary support at $1200. Breach of primary support at $1260 remains unlikely but would warn of long-term down-trend.

Spot Gold

The greenback rallied on passing of the new tax bill. A test of resistance at 95 is now likely. Breakout above 95 would signal a primary up-trend, bearish for gold.

Dollar Index

Long-term Treasury yields are gradually strengthening, with the 10-year expected to test resistance at 2.50%. Breakout above 2.5/2.6 would signal a primary up-trend which again would be bearish for gold.

10-Year Treasury Yield

A long-term chart of gold shows the precious metal retains its bullish bias. There is strong resistance at $1350 opposed by a broad band of support between $1050 and $1200. Respect of $1200 would signal another test of resistance, while breach of $1150 would warn of a primary down-trend.

Spot Gold

The All Ords Gold Index is also correcting but is somewhat cushioned by the falling Australian Dollar, now at 75 US cents. Respect of the rising trendline would be bullish, while breach of primary support at 4300 would warn of a down-trend.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Crude resistance

Crude is running into resistance at $60/barrel after a strong advance over the last three months. Two retracements in quick succession suggest that the commodity is running into resistance as it approaches its 2015 high.

Nymex Light Crude

The sun is shining over the global economy | Martin Wolf

From Martin Wolf at FT.com:

The world economy is enjoying a synchronised recovery. But it will prove unsustainable if investment does not pick up, especially in high-income economies. Debt mountains also threaten the recovery’s sustainability, as the OECD, the Paris-based group of mostly rich nations, argues in its latest Economic Outlook.

…..Low investment and high indebtedness are not the only constraints the world economy faces. Political risks are also high, as are threats to liberal trade. But raising investment and lowering debt are high priorities. As President John F Kennedy said in 1962, “the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”. It is essential to hack off the overhangs of unproductive private debt bequeathed by the crisis and its aftermath. The transformation will not happen overnight. But we should eliminate the incentives for such risky behaviour.

An excellent summary of the global economy’s strengths and weaknesses. I agree with Martin that low rates of capital investment (which leads to low productivity growth) and high levels of both private and public debt are the major threats to continued growth. And that the time to address it is now.

Click here to read the full article: The sun is shining over the global economy | Martin Wolf

East to West: European tremors

Complacency in Europe has been shaken, with Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 testing medium-term support at 380. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index, with intervening troughs below zero, warns of strong selling pressure. Breach of 380 is likely and would indicate a test of primary support at 366.

DJ Euro Stoxx 600

The UK’s Footsie broke medium-term support at 7350 and is headed for a test of primary support at 7200. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index again warns of strong selling pressure. Breach of 7200 would signal reversal to a primary down-trend.

FTSE 100

Asia was also affected, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index the only major index to end the week on a positive note, after finding solid support at 22000.

Nikkei 225 Index

South Korea’s Seoul Composite Index below 2500 warns of a correction, though nothing more.

Seoul Composite Index

China’s Shanghai Composite Index broke support at 3340 to warn of a correction. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure but this appears to be secondary in nature.

Shanghai Composite Index

India’s NSE Nifty Index is still bullish but reversal below 10000 would warn of a strong correction.

Nifty Index

Target 10000 + ( 10000 – 9000 ) = 11000

The S&P 500 is as bear-proof as you can get in the current climate, with the trend index reflecting strong buying pressure.

S&P 500

A bear market in Europe may not be sufficient to dent the animal spirits driving US markets but would certainly influence more cautious investors to change to a risk-off stance and shorten the time left for more adventurous souls.

ASX still tentative

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index retraced to test support at 3300. Breach is still unlikely but would warn of a correction.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Iron ore strengthened to test the declining trendline but respect of resistance at 70 would warn of a continued down-trend. Breakout above 80 would signal reversal to a primary up-trend but that is unlikely if China continues to rein in bank and shadow bank lending.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Banks index broke support at 8500 and is expected to test primary support between 8000 and 8100. The sector faces headwinds from slowing development and falling prices, especially in high-density apartments. Recent Trend Index peaks at/below zero warn of long-term selling pressure.

ASX 300 Banks

Banks are the biggest sector in the broad ASX 200 index which retreated below resistance at 6000. Failure of short-term support at 5920 would signal a correction. The ASX 200 exhibits a tentative up-trend but bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of long-term selling pressure.

ASX 200

Gold as a safe haven

The performance of gold can be volatile but at times it acts as a safe haven when geo-political tensions are high and confidence in fiat currencies is low.

Chris Puplava highlighted the recent strong correlation between gold and the Japanese Yen. That is no surprise as the Japanese yen also acts as a safe haven in times of political turmoil. Breakout above 114 to the yen (below 0.00875 on the chart below) would warn of a stronger Dollar and weaker gold prices. Breach of support at 108 (above 0.0092 on the chart below), on the other hand, would be bearish for the Dollar and bullish for gold.

Japanese Yen and Gold

The greenback continues its primary down-trend. Expect another test of primary support at the September low of 91. Breach is not yet likely but would be a strong bull signal for gold.

Dollar Index

Gold continues its test of medium-term resistance at $1300/ounce. Upward breakout is more likely (Twiggs Trend Index holding above zero indicates buying pressure) and would target the September high of $1350. Breach of primary support at $1260 is less likely but would warn of a test of primary support at $1200.

Spot Gold

How Will Tax Cuts Affect the US Economy and Corporate America?

Bob Doll at Nuveen Investments discusses the likely impact of tax cuts in the US:

Is it even a good idea to enact tax cuts at this point in the economic cycle? After all, growth has picked up, unemployment is at a 17-year low and capacity utilization is high. It’s reasonable to wonder whether tax cuts spur inflation higher rather than boost economic growth. We agree that inflation is likely to move modestly higher next year (more so if tax rates are reduced), but lower tax rates will likely improve productivity and benefit the economy.

Tax cuts are unlikely to have a significant impact on inflation or productivity other than through indirect stimulation of new investment and job creation.

…..If the corporate tax rate is reduced from 35% to 20%, we estimate this would increase S&P 500 earnings-per-share between $12 and $15 annually. Companies could also see an additional boost in the form of earnings repatriation. It’s possible (and even likely) that some companies would use these earnings benefits to lower prices to increase market share, so some gains may be “competed away.” But we think an overall boost in profits and earnings is likely.

That would amount to an annual increase of between 10 and 13 percent in S&P 500 earnings per share (based on a forecast $114.45 EPS for calendar 2017). Companies that invest in building market share would expect a return on that investment by way of increased growth which would still benefit future earnings streams.

Furthermore, if U.S. companies finally bring their overseas earnings home in a tax-effective manner, it’s fair to wonder what they would do with their cash windfalls. Should this happen, we expect increases in balance sheet improvements, more hiring, a rise in capital expenditures, dividend increases, higher levels of share buybacks and an increase in merger and acquisition activity. All of these actions would be a positive for corporate health and equity prices.

I would expect a big increase in stock buybacks as that will boost stock prices and have a direct impact on executive bonuses. Mergers and acquisitions have less certain outcomes and are likely to be secondary, while new investment and job creation will most likely get the short straw.

Felix Zulauf: China, the Fed and the evolution of markets

East to West: China sell-off

Four markets worth our attention this week:

China’s Shanghai Composite Index displays strong selling pressure, testing medium-term support at 3340. Breach of support is likely and would warn of a strong correction, with an immediate target of 3200.

Shanghai Composite Index

India’s NSE Nifty Index displays strong support at 10000. Recovery above 10500 would signal an advance to 11000.

Nifty Index

Target 10000 + ( 10000 – 9000 ) = 11000

Moving to Europe, Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 found medium-term support at 380. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure. Breach of support at 380 would be a strong bear signal but respect of the rising trendline is more likely and recovery above the recent high would signal a fresh advance.

DJ Euro Stoxx 600

The UK’s Footsie found support at 7350 but bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of long-term selling pressure. Breakout above 7550 is unlikely at this stage.

FTSE 100