Latest news from Tatton Investment Management: Positive growth sentiment returns

26 January 2024, 05:00pm

After the bumpy ‘hangover’ start and the volatile two weeks that followed, it looks like investors are finding their feet again, slowly turning January into a far more positive month than many had expected following the very strong rally into the year-end. As the month draws to a close, financial markets are turning out to be rather quiet, at least in terms of price volatility. Reasonable sums of savings are flowing into financial assets. Companies and governments are able to find willing investors to fund their requests for capital. Therefore, almost entirely across the board, regional equity markets are up another healthy amount. Even China has managed another positive week, with Hong Kong finally bouncing (we look at how sustainable that bounce may be in a separate article). Surplus liquidity searching for attractive returns is the one market variable that has repeatedly surprised during this highly unusual post-pandemic cycle, and 2024 does not seem to be any different.

As suspected, bond markets are extremely busy this January. They are different to equity markets in that borrowers have to issue new bonds frequently because older issuance reaches maturity and has to be repaid. We talk about a 10-year bond being ‘long’, but large borrowers end up having to issue new bonds every few months, because of the nature of their rolling book of debt finance. 

And, because yields rose sharply from the beginning of 2022, many companies across the world delayed refinancing, hoping that yields would surely fall back as the economy contracted, forcing central bank to cut rates. As we know, this did not happen, and so yields have not fallen back to the historic lows we saw in 2021. Nevertheless, with inflation falling, they have declined from the relative highs of 2023. For government borrowers, yields have declined by around 1%, but for riskier corporate borrowers, the turn in sentiment in both markets and economies has resulted in reduced fears of defaults – which has additionally driven down the risk premium (spread), they have to pay above the government. In the US dollar bond market, in September 2018, the US Government was paying 10-year interest of just less than 3%. Now the yield is about 4.1%. A borrower with a credit rating just below investment grade (BB-rated) was paying just over 6% in September 2018, and now will pay interest of around 6.5% according to Bloomberg.
 

Only 3 months ago, that BB rated borrower was looking at paying over 8%. Perhaps it is no wonder that corporate borrowers are feeling the current yield levels are reasonably attractive enough to replenish their loan capital side.

While we cannot go into the details here, the story is similar in the Eurobond market, which have already seen record issuance for a January. Bloomberg reports that US dollar markets will achieve a similar high point next week.

It is a good sign for markets and economies that more companies are thinking this is a good time to borrow money. This rise in spirits is getting some backing from moves in the commodities markets (which we write about below) and from business sentiment surveys like the ‘flash’ purchasing managers’ index (PMI) surveys from across the world, released this week.

Perhaps sentiment is not racing ahead, but the broad composite measures – which include both manufacturing and service sector companies – are now generally heading above the 50-level which signals the difference between companies thinking they are in growth and decline. Indeed, the US, UK and even China are at or above the 52 level (which aligns with activity at a normal level, and optimum capacity usage).

But, it is also notable that core Europe is still having a tough time. The composite has edged up from the October low of 46.5 but languishes at 47.9. Services surprised on the downside and fell back rather than rose. Both France and Germany appear to be at the centre of the despondency, while the periphery is feeling better (Greece is doing very well!). There is a positive underlying story in that the manufacturing PMI on its own is rising sharply, in line with other areas, albeit from a lower level. Manufacturing tends to lead services, so we should expect some improvement in the coming months.

As mentioned before, a step-up in Euro-denominated bond issuance could be a positive signal for Europe’s economy, with companies hopefully borrowing to invest and spend. The fall in natural gas and electricity prices has also continued despite the slight rebound in oil prices (the rebound being a probable consequence of the Red Sea problems and not affecting liquefied natural gas so much).

The European Central Bank (ECB) also did its bit to keep confidence stable with its announcement this week. Nobody expected a rate cut (and none was forthcoming) but ECB President Christine Lagarde said there was “stabilisation” in some wage indicators and that companies were currently absorbing wage hikes, reducing the risk of second-round effects on prices. She also gave little pushback when asked about a spring rather than summer start to cutting rates.

Next week is the turn of the US Federal Reserve and then the Bank of England. Again, nobody is expecting rate cuts, it will be all about the comments.

So, markets have returned to that beneficial frame of mind, where optimism is slight and risks have been high but are falling. That even applies to the dreadful geopolitical situation. Even if it never feels that way when observing geopolitical events and risks, in economic terms the current situation is not getting worse – for example, there has been no notable aftermath from the Taiwan election. 

However, the Republican elephant is in the room (as this week’s cartoon notes), and Trump is becoming impossible to ignore. After finishing as the undisputed winner of the primary in New Hampshire (thought to be the one state where he was least likely to win) Donald Trump will probably become the de facto nominee after Super Tuesday of primaries on 5 March. Meanwhile, nobody but Biden is standing in Biden’s way. The 2024 election ends on 5 November, and while a change of candidate would only happen if the chosen nominee could not continue, it is still possible that one or both of the leading candidates could face election-ending legal or health issues. In that case, Convention delegates would be asked to select a ‘unity ticket’.

The geopolitical risks will start to be about whether the next phase of ‘Making America Great Again’ will be at the expense of the rest of the world. Trump has had a habit of making policies on the fly, but seems to have been somewhat more controlled so far. We will write more on some implications over the coming weeks.

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New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brightening horizons - 2020 Outlook

8 December 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Can Trump derail the 2020 economic upturn?

2 December 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets are driving the markets

25 November 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets pause for reality check

18 November 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Swilling cash eases the market mood music

11 November 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Recession concerns retreat

11 November 2019, 12:00am

Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2019

4 November 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Crucial October period safely behind

28 October 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Slowly turning

21 October 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit breakthrough versus Brexit fatigue

17 October 2019, 12:00am

Trading Statement

17 October 2019, 12:00am

Acquisition of Sinfonia Asset Management Limited (SAM)

14 October 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market sentiment rebound

7 October 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stall speed economy fears spreading

30 September 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Ominous US-Dollar strength

23 September 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Diverging economic trends - catalyst for trade war re

16 September 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market sentiment rebound

9 September 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Choppy water but no storm, yet...

2 September 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fattening 'tails'

27 August 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Populism politics reversing austerity?

19 August 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market spat between bond and equity markets

11 August 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bond markets unnerve equity markets - again

5 August 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The Elephant and the Little Old Lady

29 July 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The quick and the not-so-quick

22 July 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ...'Twere well it were done quickly

15 July 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Positioning for a summer of wait and see

8 July 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Liquidity drives stock markets to new highs

1 July 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The middle of the year - a tipping point?

24 June 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Battle of the ‘doves’

17 June 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Mixed messages

10 June 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The return of the central bank put?

3 June 2019, 12:00am

Appointment by Tenet Group

3 June 2019, 12:00am

Appointment by Frenkel Topping

3 June 2019, 12:00am

Preliminary Results For the year ended 31 March 2019

3 June 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bond rally musings

27 May 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: It is getting warmer

20 May 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market support for Trump or unwarranted equanimity?

13 May 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Geopolitics re-enter market stage

7 May 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Central banks disappoint expectations

29 April 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Waning market stimuli put stock markets on notice

23 April 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Spring time from here?

16 April 2019, 12:00am

Trading Statement for 12 months ending 31 March 2019

15 April 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit in-limbo aside sentiment is improving

8 April 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Happy 10th birthday, choppy bull market

1 April 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management:29 March 2019 – quarter end

25 March 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brinkmanship and extensions

18 March 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bits & Pieces

11 March 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ECB stimulus U-turn leaves markets unimpressed

4 March 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: £-Sterling ‘applauds’ prospect of Brexit delay

25 February 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Progress?

18 February 2019, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Investment perspectives for different Brexit outcomes

15 November 2018, 12:00am

Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2018

15 October 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Autopsy of a stock market sell-off

1 October 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Poor politics containing bond market risks?

27 September 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit clamour vs. real market new

7 September 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Interesting times ahead

31 August 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: “Not the end of the world”

24 August 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Steady markets vs. noisy politics

17 August 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Political strongman tactics come home to roost

10 August 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer heat wave makes way for return of political he

3 August 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A gentle deceleration?

27 July 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Hot air for a hot summer?

20 July 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management:Earnings are growing, why worry?

13 July 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Hard Brexit demonstration potential?

6 July 2018, 12:00am

Notice of Annual General Meeting

6 July 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: It is getting hot

29 June 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Digesting or consolidating?

27 June 2018, 12:00am

Preliminary Results for the year ended 31 March 2018

22 June 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fragile recovery

15 June 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: No surprises

8 June 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Delicate equilibrium

1 June 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Ignore politics at your peril

25 May 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: GDPR? No - far more interesting news!

18 May 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: What's the economic reality of this week's news?

11 May 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Batten-down-the-hatches?

4 May 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Past the peak?

27 April 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Confusing signals?

20 April 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A mixture of messages

6 April 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Could do better

6 April 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Peaking, plateauing or dimming – and how about that

29 March 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: End of a stormy quarter

23 March 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Now we know it's risky!

16 March 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Back to Normal?

9 March 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Tariffs to growth

2 March 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Time to take some profits

23 February 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Change of direction or gradual normalisation?

16 February 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Breathing easier for the moment

9 February 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Meteoric stock markets crash bac

6 February 2018, 12:00am

Tatton Investment Management's Stock Market Correction Assessment

2 February 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Good news turns bad news - again!

26 January 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Surprises

19 January 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: US$ weakness versus Bitcoin and Carillion

12 January 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bullish sentiment rings alarm bells

5 January 2018, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Encouraging kick-off

15 December 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: 2017 - taking stock

8 December 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Progress versus Bitcoin

5 December 2017, 12:00am

Interim results for the six months ended 30 September 2017

1 December 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Sudden, but not entirely unexpected

24 November 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Invincible markets?

17 November 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Yield-curve flattening: a bad omen?

10 November 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Nervous investors herald more volatile markets

3 November 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: UK rate rise: ‘one and done’ or beginning of rate

27 October 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Trick or treat season

13 October 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: All-time highs and Q3 results outlook: Reasons to be

6 October 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bad news – good news

29 September 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Movements

22 September 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: QT to reverse QE and 2-year transition period to soft

15 September 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: BoE guides for year-end rate hike - Bluff or real?

8 September 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ‘Back to school’ amidst hurricanes, earthquakes

1 September 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bad news, Good news

25 August 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer low or summer lull?

18 August 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: More sellers than buyers

11 August 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stocks take note of North Korea crisis - or do they?

4 August 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Consolidated base but momentum dwindling

28 July 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer thoughts about the ‘longer term’

21 July 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer lull - delayed

14 July 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Pre summer-holiday investment check

7 July 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Global growth ploughs on while markets take a breathe

23 June 2017, 12:00am

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Quo Vadis Britain?