Dollar fall buoys Gold

The Dollar Index ended weakly, breaking long-term support at 93. Declining Twiggs Trend Index warns of sustained selling pressure. Follow-through below 92 would confirm another primary decline, with a long-term target between 83 and 84*.

Dollar Index

*Target: 93 – ( 103 – 93 ) = 83

A weak Dollar is bullish for Gold. Spot gold is consolidating below resistance at $1300/ounce. Rising Twiggs Trend Index signals buying pressure. Upward breakout above $1300 is likely and would signal another primary advance, with a target of $1400*. Reversal below $1250 is unlikely but would warn of another test of primary support at $1200.

Spot Gold

Target 1300 + ( 1300 – 1200 ) = 1400

Always the wild card, crude is consolidating below resistance at $50/barrel. The weak Dollar is also bullish for crude oil prices. Declining Twiggs Trend Index warns of long-term selling pressure. That favors another test of support at $40/barrel, continuing the primary down-trend. But breakout above $50 and all bets are off.

Nymex Light Crude

ASX Improves

The ASX 200 continues to consolidate in a narrow line between 5650 and 5800. Rising Twiggs Money Flow (21-day) warns of short-term buying pressure. Expect a test of resistance at 5800. Breakout would signal a primary advance, testing 6000, but breach of support at 5650 remains as likely and would warn of a primary down-trend.

ASX 200

The large cap ASX 50 is historically less volatile than its S&P 500 counter-part. While the Australian index has some smaller stocks (lowest-weight IPL has market cap of $5.7 bn compared to S&P 500 NWS of $10 bn in AUD) the higher dividend yield tends to compensate. That difference has reversed recently but Twiggs Volatility (21-day) for the ASX 50 is also falling, reaching 0.92% this week.

ASX 50 with Twiggs Volatility

Currency growth remains weak (below 5% per year), indicating that the economy still faces headwinds.

Australia: Currency Growth

Iron ore continues its extended bear market rally. The next correction is likely to find support above the primary level at 53.

Iron Ore

ASX 300 Metals & Mining is testing resistance at its January/February highs. Breakout above 3240 would signal a primary advance. Expect some profit-taking but reversal below primary support at 2730 is now unlikely.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The ASX 300 Banks index breached support at 8500, however, and continues to drag on the broad market index. Declining Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure. Follow-through below 8400 would confirm another test of primary support at 8000.

ASX 300 Banks

S&P 500 Bull Market Continues

The S&P 500 continues with a secondary correction that is likely to test the long-term rising trendline and support at 2400. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure but this seems secondary in nature.

S&P 500

Target 2400 + ( 2400 – 2300 ) = 2500

Twiggs Volatility (21-day), at 0.63% for the S&P 500, is way below the 1.5% warning level for elevated market risk.

S&P 500 with Twiggs Volatility

The yield curve is flattening, with the 10-year minus 3-month Treasury Yield Differential close to 1.0%. But this is still well above the 0.5% early-warning level. A negative yield curve, where the Yield Differential falls below zero, is normally followed by a recession within 6 to 12 months.

Yield Differential

Fed monetary policy remains accommodative, with currency in circulation expanding at a healthy annual rate of 6.9%.

Currency in Circulation

The bull market remains on track for further gains.

Earnings Bounty Never Came for Stocks….

From Lu Wang at Bloomberg:

The potential for politics to ruin everything was on the mind of Ray Dalio, the founder and co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, in an essay published yesterday on LinkedIn. They will probably play a greater role in markets than any time in our lifetimes, he wrote.

“While I see no important economic risks on the horizon, I am concerned about growing internal and external conflict leading to impaired government efficiency (e.g. inabilities to pass legislation and set policies) and other conflicts,” he wrote.

Economically, it was a stellar quarter for profits. Operating income in the S&P 500 rose 11 percent, building on a 14 percent increase in the previous three months for the first back-to-back gains exceeding 10 percent since 2011. Companies surpassed estimates by almost 1 percent on the sales line and 4.5 percent in profits, among the higher beat rates of the bull market.

You wouldn’t have known it in the market. S&P 500 companies fell an average 0.6 percent the day after announcing results, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Individual stocks also sat still after the release of better-than-estimated results, the first time since 2000 that positive surprises were not rewarded, according to Bank of America Corp…..

Source: Earnings Bounty Never Came for Stocks Caught Up in Trump Tumult

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco | Forecasting China’s Role in World Oil Demand

From Deepa D. Datta and Robert J. Vigfusson

Although China’s growth has slowed recently, the country’s demand for oil could be entering a period of faster growth that could result in substantially higher oil prices. Because Americans buy and sell oil and petroleum products in the global market, global demand prospects influence the profitability of U.S. oil producers and the costs paid by U.S. consumers. Analysis based on the global relationship between economic development and oil demand illustrates the prospects for Chinese oil demand growth and the resulting opportunities and challenges for U.S. producers and consumers.

The oil market has seen two major surprises in the 21st century. The most recent was the shale revolution, which dramatically increased the amount of oil supplied by North American producers and contributed to the oil price collapse of 2014.

Before the shale revolution, however, there was rapid demand growth from emerging market economies. Propelled by robust GDP growth, China’s demand for oil nearly doubled within a decade, and other emerging markets experienced similar growth. As a consequence, oil prices soared in 2007 and 2008, and advanced economies, including the United States, cut their consumption.

Most studies assume that shifts in global demand over the next decade will be gradual, with oil prices continuing to be driven primarily by supply. The surprising resilience of U.S. shale oil production both to lower oil prices and to coordinated actions by OPEC countries suggests that any oil price recovery will remain subdued (Energy Information Administration 2016). However, one potentially important source of future rapid growth in demand and thus in prices comes from emerging market economies, especially China. Given that Chinese demand helped boost world oil prices in the early 2000s, we consider the implications of a similar surprise in the coming years.

China’s future demand for oil will depend on both its economic growth and its energy choices. A high level of growth combined with energy-intensive choices could result in Chinese oil demand doubling by 2025. Even in a scenario with more moderate growth and less energy-intensive choices, China’s oil demand would still grow by over 30% by 2025. To the extent that U.S. and foreign oil producers do not anticipate this demand increase, prices would have to rise, perhaps dramatically.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco | Forecasting China’s Role in World Oil Demand

Global correction

Global stock markets have mostly experienced selling pressure over the last two weeks but most of the activity is secondary in nature and, apart from longer-term issues in the UK and Canada, is unlikely to affect the primary up-trend.

Starting near the North Korean epicenter of the latest tensions, the Seoul Composite Index is largely unfazed. The monthly chart reflects a secondary correction with moderate selling pressure and no hint of panic selling.

Seoul Composite Index

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rallied after a modest correction.

Shanghai Composite Index

While bearish divergence on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index warns of selling pressure and a secondary correction to test 26000.

Hang Seng Index

India’s Sensex is undergoing a correction after breaking its rising trendline but found support at 31000.

BSE Sensex

Moving farther afield, Canada’s TSX 60 continues to consolidate in a narrow line below the former primary support level at 900. Declining Twiggs Money Flow warns of long-term selling pressure. Breach of support at 880 is likely and would confirm a primary down-trend.

TSX 60

Europe also experienced selling pressure, with the Footsie testing primary support at 7300. Breach of support would signal a primary down-trend.

FTSE 100

Germany’s Dax found support at 12000. Respect, with a Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero, would indicate another primary advance.

DJ Euro Stoxx 50

Gold encounters resistance at $1300

The Dollar Index continues to test primary support between 92 and 93. Consolidation or a weak rally is likely but Twiggs Trend Index warns of long-term selling pressure. Breach of support would signal another primary decline, offering a long-term target between 83 and 84* — a bullish sign for gold.

Dollar Index

*Target: 93 – ( 103 – 93 ) = 83

Crude continues to test resistance at $50/barrel. Breakout would be bullish for gold but respect is more likely and would test primary support at $40/barrel.

Nymex Light Crude

Gold encountered strong resistance at $1300/ounce. Expect retracement to test support at $1270 and $1250. Reversal below $1250 remains unlikely.

Spot Gold

Target 1300 + ( 1300 – 1200 ) = 1400

ASX 200 Narrow Line

The ASX 200 continues to consolidate in a narrow line between 5650 and 5800. Declining Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure and breach of support at 5650 would signal a primary down-trend. Follow-through below 5600 would confirm. Breakout above 5800 is unlikely but would test resistance at 6000.

ASX 200

Monthly hours worked are up 1.9% over the last 12 months. Marginally below real GDP but not something to be concerned about unless growth continues to fall.

Monthly Hours Worked - Seasonally Adjusted

Iron ore continues its extended bear market rally, suggesting that the next correction is likely to find support above the primary level at 53.

Iron Ore

ASX 300 Metals & Mining is also likely to find support above 2750. Respect of support at 3000 would signal a strong up-trend.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The ASX 300 Banks index continues to warn of selling pressure, with declining Twiggs Trend Index and Money Flow below zero. Breach of support at 8500 would signal another test of primary support at 8000.

ASX 300 Banks

S&P 500 bull market on track

The S&P 500 is undergoing a secondary correction that is likely to test the long-term rising trendline and support at 2400. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure but this seems secondary in nature. The bull market remains on track for further gains.

S&P 500

Target 2400 + ( 2400 – 2300 ) = 2500

The Dow Jones Transportations Average is also undergoing a correction. Bearish divergence with Twiggs Money Flow dipping below zero warns of stronger selling pressure. Expect a test of primary support at 8800.

Dow Transportation Average

The Nasdaq 100 is retreating from resistance at 6000. Bearish divergence warns of secondary selling pressure. Breach of primary support at 5600 is considered unlikely.

Nasdaq 100

ASX 200 Selling Pressure

June Quarter retail sales are up 1.4% over the preceding quarter, the best June Quarter since 2012.

Retail Sales

Vehicle sales for June 2017 also reflect healthy growth over previous financial year ends.

Residential Building Approvals

Despite the good figures, one should not ignore Bill Evans’ more sombre assessment of the latest RBA forecasts:

From our perspective, a fall in housing construction; subdued consumer spending and a drag on services exports from the high Australian Dollar will constrain employment growth through 2018. The [Reserve] Bank sees things differently, expecting recently strong employment growth to persist into 2018, with the unemployment rate expected to fall to 5.4% by the end of 2019 compared to our current forecast that the unemployment rate will in fact be rising through 2018, reaching 6% by year’s end.

Two other domestic factors are important, firstly the Bank is of the view that “wage growth is expected to pick up gradually over the next few years”. That is despite convincing evidence offshore, that countries with full employment, and in the case of the US, an unemployment rate considerably below the full employment rate, are not experiencing wage pressures. This different assessment of household income growth is one of the key explanations behind our more downbeat view of the economic outlook. Secondly, we expect that the wealth effect from sharply rising house prices in NSW and Victoria is about to reverse. There is no argument that household debt levels are elevated. The prospect of very limited further increases of house prices in those markets may start to dampen consumer spending in particular by discouraging households to further subsidise consumption growth by lowering their saving rates…..

  • Falling housing construction;
  • Slow consumption growth;
  • Slow services export growth;
  • Slow employment growth;
  • Slow wages growth; and
  • Slowing house price growth.

I think Bill is right on the money, but there are always other variables like iron ore and Chinese financial markets that can disrupt even the best forecasts.

Iron ore looks set to retrace to test support between 68 and 70. Respect would signal a primary advance but I suspect that support at 60 is likely to be tested.

Iron Ore

ASX 300 Metals & Mining is also likely to retrace, but bearish divergence on Twiggs Trend Index warns of selling pressure. Respect of 2950 would signal a primary advance but a test of primary support at 2750 is as likely.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The ASX 300 Banks index retreated below support at 8500. Follow-through would test primary support at 8000. Declining Twiggs Money Flow, with a large peak below zero, warns of strong selling pressure.

ASX 300 Banks

Declining Twiggs Money Flow also flags strong selling pressure on the ASX 200. Breach of support at 5650 is likely and would signal a primary down-trend. Follow-through below 5600 would confirm.

ASX 200

US: Low CPI and soft Treasury Yields

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Core CPI (excluding food and energy) both came in at a low 1.7% p.a. for the 12 months ended July 2017.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Core CPI

Source: St Louis Fed, BLS

Long-term interest rates are trending lower as CPI moderates. Breach of support at 2.10% by 10-Year Treasury Yields would signal another primary decline with a target of 1.80%*.

10-Year Treasury Yields

Target: 2.10% – (2.40% – 2.10%) = 1.80%

Bank credit growth is slowing, to the level where it is tracking nominal GDP growth, avoiding some of the excesses of previous cycles. But if bank credit falls below GDP growth that would warn of tighter monetary conditions and the economy is likely to slow.

Bank Credit and GDP growth

Source: St Louis Fed, FRB, BEA

The S&P 500 is testing its long-term rising trendline, while bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure. But the market appears to have shrugged off Donald Trump’s promises of North Korean “fire and fury” and both of these movements seem secondary in nature. A correction is likely but the primary trend remains on track for further gains.

S&P 500

Target 2400 + ( 2400 – 2300 ) = 2500

Selling pressure surges around the globe

Canada’s TSX 60 fell sharply this week. Twiggs Trend Index below zero warns of long-term selling pressure. Breach of support at 880 would confirm a primary down-trend.

TSX 60

In the UK, the Footsie is testing primary support at 7300. Twiggs Trend Index below zero again warns of long-term selling pressure. Breach of support would signal a primary down-trend.

FTSE 100

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 is testing long-term support at 3400. Twiggs Trend Index, again below zero, warns of long-term selling pressure

DJ Euro Stoxx 50

India’s Sensex is undergoing a correction after breaking its rising trendline and support at 31500. Expect strong support at 29000.

BSE Sensex

China’s Shanghai Composite Index is also testing support. Breach of 3200 would warn of another test of primary support at 3000.

Shanghai Composite Index

Gold & Silver advance

The Dollar Index is testing primary support between 92 and 93. Expect consolidation or a weak rally but Twiggs Trend Index warns of sustained selling pressure. Breach of support would signal another primary decline, offering a long-term target between 83 and 84* — a bullish sign for gold.

Dollar Index

*Target: 93 – ( 103 – 93 ) = 83

Crude respected resistance at $50/barrel, suggesting another test of support at $40/barrel, continuing the primary down-trend. Twiggs Trend Index again warns of selling pressure. Breakout above $50 is now unlikely.

Nymex Light Crude

Gold is headed for a test of resistance at $1300/ounce, while a rising Twiggs Trend Index signals buying pressure. Breakout above $1300 is likely and would indicate another primary advance, with a target of $1400*. Reversal below $1250 is now unlikely but would warn of another test of primary support at $1200.

Spot Gold

Target 1300 + ( 1300 – 1200 ) = 1400

Silver broke through resistance at $17/ounce, a bullish sign for gold. Retracement that respects the new support level would strengthen the bull signal, indicating a test of the April high at 18.50.

Spot Silver

China is the biggest credit bubble in the world today | Crescat Capital

From Nils Jenson at Crescat Capital:

History has proven that credit bubbles always burst. China by far is the biggest credit bubble in the world today…….

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has identified an important warning signal to identify credit bubbles that are poised to trigger a banking crisis across different countries: Unsustainable credit growth relative to gross domestic product (GDP) in the household and (non-financial) corporate sector. Three large (G-20) countries are flashing warning signals today for impending banking crises based on such imbalances: China, Canada, and Australia….

The trouble with credit bubbles is they always burst. The problem is we don’t know when. “Imminent” could mean next week or it could mean in 3 years time. Keep a close watch on the PBOC for signs that it has run out of options. They will kick the can down the road for as long as possible, but the time will come when that is no longer viable.

Great Analysis, worth reading the entire report: Crescat Capital Quarterly Investor Letter Q2 2017 | Crescat Capital

Gold as ‘Trump insurance’

Yesterday’s solid blue candle on the gold chart [XAUUSD] confirms my view of the precious metal as a form of “Trump insurance”. After Trump and North Korea exchanged threats suggesting nuclear retaliation, gold gained 1.32%, breaking resistance at $1275/ounce. Follow-through above $1300 would signal a primary advance, with a target of $1400*.

Spot Gold

* Target calculation: 1300 + ( 1300 – 1200 ) = 1400

From the BBC:

US President Donald Trump says North Korea “will be met with fire and fury” if it threatens the US.

His comments came after a Washington Post report, citing US intelligence officials, said Pyongyang had produced a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles.

This would mean the North is developing nuclear weapons capable of striking the US at a much faster rate than expected.

The UN recently approved further economic sanctions against the country.

The Security Council unanimously agreed to ban North Korean exports and limit investments, prompting fury from North Korea and a vow to make the “US pay a price”.

The heated rhetoric between the two leaders intensified after Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in July, claiming it now had the ability to hit the US.

Mr Trump told reporters on Tuesday: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the US. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Glen Campbell Dead at 81 | Variety

Country legend Glen Campbell, whose crossover hits “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” forged a lasting bridge between country and pop music, died Tuesday. He was 81.

In 2011, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and mounted a well-publicized farewell tour. His official Twitter posted the news. His daughter, Ashley Campbell, also shared a heartfelt message…..

Campbell was hardly the first country artist to break out of the rural regional radio ghetto — the Nashville Sound of Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves had produced several wide-appeal hits in the early ’60s — but his influence in expanding country music’s parameters and fanbase was substantial. His signature hits often combined orchestral arrangements and traditional pop hooks with countrified lyrical themes and vocal stylings, catalyzing both the “countrypolitan” and soft rock subgenres that would proliferate in the 1970s. (John Denver and Kenny Rogers both owe much of their careers to Campbell’s example.)

He sold more than 45 million records in his career and topped the country singles chart 12 times.

Crossover came naturally to the tall, solidly built Campbell, who enjoyed a pre-stardom career as a prolific session musician for rock, pop and country acts alike. He possessed a calmly authoritative tenor and impeccable guitar chops, but his genial, easygoing charm as a performer was thrown into sharp relief by his hotheaded offstage character, with his reputation marred by substance abuse and allegations of domestic violence. Later becoming a born-again Christian, Campbell continued to maintain a steady audience well into his seventh decade, opening his own theater in Branson, Mo.

Born into a sharecropping family in a tiny town in southwestern Arkansas, Campbell was the seventh of 12 children. Picking up guitar at an early age, he left home at age 14 to pursue music, eventually landing in Los Angeles, where he fathered his first child at age 17. Out west, Campbell soon found himself an in-demand session musician with the now-storied studio conglomerate dubbed the Wrecking Crew, recording guitar parts for such varied acts as Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, the Monkees, Merle Haggard and Elvis Presley.

Campbell reached the height of his session player power in 1965, when he became a touring member of the Beach Boys — playing bass to compensate for the absent Brian Wilson — as well as contributing guitar parts to the group’s landmark “Pet Sounds” album. All the while, Campbell had been erratically pursuing a solo career, recording mostly unremarkable singles for Crest Records and later Capitol. Though he broke onto country radio a few times, he began to lose favor with Capitol label heads, who by the mid-’60s were pondering dropping him from the roster.

Fortunately they didn’t, as Campbell’s career experienced a sudden, dramatic upswing in 1967, when he recorded a rendition of John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind.” Though the 45 barely breached the top-40 singles chart, the titular LP was a runaway success, topping the country album chart and reaching No. 5 on the pop charts.

Follow-up single “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was an even bigger hit, reaching No. 2 on the country chart and marking the beginning of Campbell’s collaborations with songwriter Jimmy Webb, whose compositions would provide Campbell with hits for years to come. Underscoring the universality of the burgeoning star’s appeal, Campbell won four Grammys for the two songs at the 1967 awards — two in country categories, the other two in pop categories.

This turned out to be the opening salvo in a remarkable streak of hits for the singer. Starting with “Gentle,” Campbell managed to rack up seven consecutive country album chart-toppers over a two year period, recording such iconic tracks as “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” and a string of duets with Bobbie Gentry. LP “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” won Campbell an album of the year Grammy in 1968.

Source: Glen Campbell Dead: Country Legend Was 81 | Variety

Odds of a recession appear low | Bob Doll

Sensible view from Bob Doll:

…The odds of a recession appear low, but so does a significant acceleration in growth. The regulatory environment is loosening, consumer spending appears solid and jobs growth remains strong. As such, we do not expect a recession any time soon. At the same time, however, we see no catalyst to push the economy into a higher gear unless the White House and Congress make progress on their pro-growth agenda.

Progress on tax reform would revive the bulls.

Source: Weekly Investment Commentary from Bob Doll | Nuveen

This oil price rally has reached its limit – On Line Opinion

Good summary of the oil market by Nicholas Cunningham – posted Friday, 4 August 2017:

There are several significant reasons why oil prices have regained most of the lost ground since the end of May….

  1. OPEC cuts;
  2. US shale expansion is slowing;
  3. Several OPEC members have promised deeper cuts; and
  4. Drawdowns in U.S. crude oil inventories suggest the market is finally rebalancing.

But inventories are still high, not just in the U.S. And the US (despite shale slowing), Libya and Nigeria are all expected to increase output.

Also, the recent rally is largely attributable to short-covering rather than hedge funds taking fresh long positions.

But there is a wild card:

The one variable that could upend all market forecasts is Venezuela, which has been in economic turmoil for quite some time but is entering a new phase of crisis. The involvement of the U.S. government, which is retaliating against Venezuela for what it argues is a step towards dictatorship, threatens to accelerate the oil production declines in the South American nation.

If Venezuela sees its exports disrupted in a sudden way, the ceiling for oil prices in 2017 could be quite a bit higher than everyone expects at the moment. Otherwise, there is not a lot of room on the upside for oil prices in the short-term.

…it could go up, it could go down, but not necessarily in that order.

Using fundamentals to predict short-term cycles is at best a 50/50 proposition. It’s normally best to stick to technicals (for short time frames). Looks like a secondary rally in a bear market.

Nymex Light Crude

Source: This oil price rally has reached its limit – On Line Opinion – 4/8/2017