Sunday, August 1, 2010

On Europe and US - Market Conditions

After my last post on the stress test i must confess i was gladly surprised with the quality of the stress tests. The methodology was uniform, the tests were rigorous enough and still a few banks failed.

Ever since July 23, Europe has been posting positive news. Either from the countries themselves - UK registering unexpected high growth and Germany with increasing confidence - or from the market itself. The Euro that has sanked to levels close to 1.15 dollars, has reached 1.31 last Friday.

On the US side, we had the release of the Q2 GDP. In turn, the US economy grew 2.4% from Q1 to Q2, on a annualized base. The ´so-called' market consensus was forecasting 2.5% for Q2. In any case, growth in the first quarter was revised up to 3.7%, meaning that growth has averaged over 3% for the first half of 2010. The comprehensive data revisions released with the report provide further evidence of just how severe the recession has been: the fall in GDP between 2007:Q4 and 2009:Q2 was 4.1%, making this the deepest recession since 1947.

According to Romer:
"The data revisions, together with recent estimates, also provide some important new information about longer-run trends. Revisions to both personal income and consumer spending have led to estimates of the personal saving rate in 2008 and 2009 that are substantially higher than previously reported. The average saving rate in 2009, for example, is now 5.9%, 1.7 percentage points higher than previously reported. In 2010:Q2, the saving rate is 6.2%. This higher saving rate is consistent with estimates reported in the Economic Report of the President of likely consumer behavior in the wake of the financial crisis. The higher level also suggests that there is room for further consumer spending growth as consumers become more confident, without returning to the very low saving rates of the past decade.

The revised data also indicate that productivity growth in 2008 and 2009 has averaged roughly 3%, slightly above the average from 1995 to 2007. Productivity growth fell sharply in 2008 (now estimated at an annual rate of -0.3%) and rose even more sharply in 2009 (at an annual rate of 6.3%). That the average over the recession and the first stages of recovery is equal to the historical average could suggest that the financial crisis has not damaged productivity growth (as some have argued)."

The Scenario for The First Week Of August
As of now, we believe that the market might observe an upward trend for August. In Europe there are a bunch of outstanding news regarding the fiscal austerity packages, the increase in confidence, the higher than expected growth in large countries like Germany. Also, we notice that the fear of the Greek sovereign default is finally gone for good.

In the US, the good news is more related to the GDP. Even if the GDP is a lagged indicator it is displaying that the economy is recovering. One might say that Q3 and Q4 are not going to be as good as Q2. However, the point is that people are already pricing this information whereas the Q2 info was not known by the market.

If you are in the market my call is to buy S & P or BMF. Have a good week!