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The gig economy is the new normal
Capital Markets
<p>An already-confusing employment environment grew even more complicated this past week. Many readers responded to my “Crime in the Jobs Report” letter with their own stories. Some confirmed what I wrote, while others disputed it. Some of the stories I read from readers who are stuck far from where they want to be in this job market were very moving. I think everyone agrees the labor outlook is uncertain. I sense a lot of nervousness, even from those who have secure jobs that pay well. In today’s letter, I’m going to respond to some of the observations and data that came in this week on employment.</p> <p>Read more at Advisor Perspectives <br /> Photo: Quazle</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Daily Scan: Asian shares fall; bond prices higher after terrorist acts in Paris
Capital Markets
Updated throughout the day November 16, 2015 Bonds edged higher in the Eurozone and most Asian stocks sank after the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday night.  News that Japan is in a recession for the second time in two years didn't help. The Hang Seng Index dropped 1.72%, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index tanked 1.99%, and the Nikkei 225 fell 1.04%. China bucked the&hellip;
Weekend Scan: Three brothers, a woman part of terrorist crew in Paris; France bombs ISIS in Syria
Capital Markets
<p>Leur rendre hommage à la hauteur de nos tristesses #Bataclan #PrayForParis #PrayForPeace ?????❤️??<br /> A photo posted by Laeticia Hallyday (@lhallyday) on Nov 15, 2015 at 7:21am PST</p> <p>November 15, 2015</p> <p>The week opens in the shadow of the coordinated attacks in Paris that left at least 129 dead, 349 injured, 96 in critical condition.  Sunday evening France bombed terrorist strongholds in Syria, reportedly Raqqa, the "self-proclaimed capital" of the Islamic caliphate (paywall). Previously, France had played a smaller role in the airstrikes in Syria. The U.S. is now reportedly providing strategic intelligence (paywall) to help pinpoint targets.</p> <p>Here's what else you need to know:</p> <p>Japan slips back into recession. The Japanese economy shrank 0.8% in the third quarter, worse than analyst estimates of a 0.3% fall. While a massive blow to Abenomics as well as to the Bank of Japan’s decision to hold off additional stimulus measures, a breakdown of the figure suggests that this may be temporary, as a rundown in inventory drove most of the fall. Financial Times (paywall)</p> <p>A woman and three brothers part of the kamikaze terror crew. Three separate teams of terrorists led the attack. Eyewitnesses say that a woman was among the gun-toting terrorists who mowed down concertgoers at the Bataclan. Two of the seven dead terrorists posed as Syrian migrants saved from a sinking boat and reached France through Greece.  There's a manhunt now for 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam a Frenchman living in Brussels with his two brothers, one of the terrorists who killed himself. The other brother has been arrested in Brussels.  Daily Mail/New York Times (paywall)</p> <p>G20 members promise to respond to terror; Obama, Putin have private chat The two-day meeting in Antalya, a resort town in Turkey, has quickly shifted the original agenda from climate change and the economy to Syria and ISIS. Presidents Obama and Putin stepped aside along with security advisor Susan Rise and a Russian aide for an impromptu chat. French President Hollande cancelled his trip and sent his foreign minister to the meeting.  MarketWatch/CBS News</p> <p>Markets appear set to open lower in wake of attacks. Stocks ended on a soft note last week with the S&amp;P 500 ending 3.6% lower, ending a six-week streak of positive returns; it was the worst performance since September 4. Bonds recovered some of their losses last week. After disappointing reports on retail sales and further slides in commodity prices, the 10-year note yield dropped 5 basis points to 2.28% and the 2-year note trimmed 4 basis points to 0.85% (yields fall when prices rise). MarketWatch/T.Rowe Price</p> <p>Robin Hood Investors Conference begins Monday. Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, Kase Capital’s Whitney Tilson and Third Point’s Daniel Loeb are among the hedge fund managers sharing ideas at the two-day confab. Speakers list here.</p> <p>Inflation and production numbers on board in the U.S. this week. Last week, retail sales from the Commerce Department were disappointing. Investors will look for signs of inflation in the CPI report for October and weigh the strength of the factory sector as the Federal Reserve considers a rate hike in December. On Wednesday, the Fed releases the minutes from its October meeting, which could provide insights into what the policymakers may be inclined to do next. Complete weekly calendar here.</p> <p>Democratic presidential nominees spar Saturday night. The terrorist attacks in Paris cast a pall on the evening debates, the second set for the rivals. But the contenders, the dominant Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley soldiered on. Weirdest moment of the night: Clinton used the 9/11 attack to defend her Wall Street donations. Politico</p> <p>IMF backs yuan to join elite basket. The International Monetary Fund’s staff has recommended that China’s yuan should join the elite basket of currencies used to value its own de facto currency. It’s a vote of confidence in China’s economic reforms and efforts to establish the currency as a
Barron's weekend roundup: Trump is dead wrong about China
Capital Markets
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Republican front runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson have been talking about China, and according to Barron's this week, they need a reality check. Trump said last week that  “the worst” of Beijing’s “sins” is the “wanton manipulation of China’s currency, robbing Americans of billions of dollars of capital and millions of jobs.” Writes Barron's, "Trump’s diagnosis of its currency maneuvers is demonstrably wrong. And his prescription is certain to be ineffective and have horrendous side effects."</p> <p>A restructure of Emerson Electric could drive the stock up, writes Barron's. Emerson's stocks have fallen 26% in the last year, driven by the slump of the oil and gas industry. The company is planning a spin off of its poorly performing network-power unit, and Barron's expects the stock will benefit.<br /> Photo: Gage Skidmore <br /> &nbsp;</p>
'Markets have rewarded discipline'
Capital Markets
<p>In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, a number of people have been asking what will happen next in the markets. Josh Brown, wealth manager and author of The Reformed Broker blog posted this chart to his website, in part to answer just that question:</p> <p>Chart by Dimensional Fund Advisors.</p>
Can bank managers ride herd on investment banking?
Capital Markets
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>John Reed, former Citibank Chairman, opined in the Financial Times that “We were wrong about universal banking.” By being wrong about universal banking, Reed means that it was a mistake to repeal key provisions of Glass-Steagall. He wrote the opinion piece as if he had been a prime architect of the changes who now has recanted. That is revisionist history, say I. He went along, but he never was a prime advocate of the changes in the law.</p> <p>John Reed was chairman of Citicorp before its merger with Travelers in 1998. He was known as a technology and consumer banking expert. After Sandy Weill eased him out of Citi soon after the merger, Mr. Reed disappeared from the banking scene.</p> <p>Sandy was an apostle of the banking conglomerate. He was a deal maker first and foremost, having cut his teeth putting together the brokerage firm Carter Berlind &amp; Weill in the 1960s, through mergers making that into Shearson Loeb Rhodes in the 1970s, before selling to American Express in 1981. Sandy’s deal-making style was not compatible with America Express, and he became the odd man out.</p> <p>But Sandy was a force on Wall Street—even if he did have to move to Baltimore to prove it by acquiring Commercial Credit Corp., through which he built his next financial conglomerate. And eventually, he rose to the top of the heap as Chairman of Citigroup, America’s largest financial company, by selling Travelers, his bankless financial conglomerate that he had built from the inauspicious origins of Baltimore-based Commercial Credit Corp.</p> <p>It was Sandy who, more than anyone else, was responsible for repeal of key parts of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 in order to validate the deal that had created Citigroup.</p> <p>I was an advocate for those changes, going back into the late 1970s when few people even had heard of Glass-Steagall. Actually, few people ever have known what that law said, even among those who debate its relative merits.</p> <p>But back in the 1970s and early 1980s when we developed the early logic for repealing parts of Glass Steagall, investment banks were not, for the most part, engaged in trading (other than Treasury securities), and what commercial bankers wanted to be able to do was to advise on and support M&amp;A, to underwrite corporate debt and equity, and to manage money without needing for that function to be in the trust department. We reasoned that those activities were not fundamentally any more risky than commercial lending and that they were more profitable. They therefore would strengthen the banking system and, through increased competition, lower financing costs for American businesses.</p> <p>John Reed says that the legal changes were a mistake, largely because the commercial banking culture and the investment banking culture—and particularly the trading culture—are not compatible. That is why the European universal banks are having so much trouble configuring their strategies for profitability, he says.</p> <p>I heartily agree with Reed that the two cultures have become incompatible in many ways. But that does not mean that the legal change was wrong. Managements, boards of directors and stockholders have to choose what businesses they want to be in and how to manage those businesses. Prohibiting such choices should be done only to curb excessive risk—not to have Congress and the regulators micromanaging financial firms.</p> <p>It appears to me quite possible for a banking organization to engage in the forms of investment banking that are more compatible with commercial banking, such as M&amp;A, underwriting of corporate debt and equity, and money management, without having to deal with the very different culture and mentality of trading. It also seems to me quite consistent with these thoughts to help bank managements by prohibiting proprietary trading, as the Volcker Rule has done. Whereas the other investment banking functions are extremely useful to society—indeed, they are the functions that now provide about 80% of financing in America, which puts us way ahead of bank loan
Markets set to tumble post-Paris attacks
Capital Markets
<p>Bourses around the world are set to open as usual on Monday, though a short term hit in equities is likely to happen, the Guardian reports.</p> <p>The attack is unlikely to dent the global economy though, as Shane Oliver, chief economist of Australia’s AMP Capital, told the British rag:<br /> “History will tell us that if the economic impact is limited – and I think it will be – that markets will quickly recover and go on to focus on other things.”<br /> SMBC Nikko Securities’ Hidenori Suezawa meanwhile, noting tourism’s large contribution to the French economy, had this to say:<br /> “Given that France has a big tourism industry there may be some damage to the economy if this leads to a fall in visitors to France, or in tourism in general after the crash of a Russian plane…I do not expect this impact to go so far as to affect the Fed’s monetary policy though at this point.”<br /> Still, how Europe handles this should have massive consequences. Germany, Spain, and Italy for instance are wrangling serious political issues at the moment, and the attacks could put a damper to Merkel’s, Rajoy’s, Renzi’s attempts to maintain their grip. France meanwhile -- as the FT's Gideon Rachman points out -- will be holding its regional elections next month, and far-right parties such as The National Front could easily use the tragedy to gain power.</p> <p>In any case, expect a massive rush to safety right out of the gate on Monday. U.S. Treasuries – along with the dollar – will surely be putting on some points on the board, while Eurodollars – which surged post 9/11 – might put on a show as well.<br /> Photo: Sandro Schroeder</p>
Weekend Scan: 129 dead, 352 wounded in ISIS-backed attacks; Three French nationals arrested
Capital Markets
<p> </p> <p>«Ma copine y était. Je devais me fiancer. Je ne sais pas si je la reverrai» #ParisAttacks #Bataclan<br /> A photo posted by Je SUIS Paris ! ???? (@jesuisparis_) on Nov 14, 2015 at 4:15am PST<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The world is in a state of shock this weekend following a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 dead and 352 wounded. (New York Times, paywall) France says the Islamic State, known as ISIS, is behind the devastation which unfolded around 9:20 p.m. in Paris at the soccer stadium, a trendy neighborhood in the east, and Bataclan, where young people gathered for a concert. In videos and news reports across the Internet, eyewitnesses described young jihadist methodically and calmly killing people as they dined, strolled, and listened to music. They shouted "Allu Hu Akhbar" and declared this was vengeance for French participation in bombings to stamp out ISIS in Syria. The terrorists either committed suicide or were killed by French police. One was reported to be carrying a Syrian passport and had entered France from Greece. France closed its borders and New York City is in a high state of alert. Follow events on Twitter Moments or this Reddit thread.</p> <p>Here’s what else you need to know:</p> <p>Two Syrian “refugees” may have been among the terrorists. This – if confirmed – will definitely not bode well for the current Syrian refugee crisis. New York Post</p> <p>Three French nationals arrested in connection to the attacks. The arrests were made at near the Belgian border, where the three apparently lived. One of the dead terrorists, was also identified as a French national from the Paris suburb of Courcouronnes. Guardian</p> <p>French President Francois Hollande declares three days of mourning.  Leaders from U.S. President Barack Obama to China's President Xi Jinping offered tough words and condolences. France is still recovering from attacks in January on a Jewish supermarket and the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical newspaper.</p> <p>Democratic debate focuses on terrorism, Wall Street. After observing a moment of silence for the victims of Friday’s attack, Hillary Rodham Clinton – who was prepared to show the world that she was the strongest presidential hopeful in light of the Paris atrocities – found herself grilled on her connections to Wall Street as well as her hand in the Iraq war instead. The New York Times</p> <p>Paris attacks heighten pressure on G20 meeting. The Syrian crisis may have been high on the group’s agenda, but the recent Paris siege has surely changed things for the upcoming G20 meeting in Turkey. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people,” Obama was quoted saying following the attacks. PBS</p> <p>IMF’s Lagarde backs yuan inclusion to SDR. IMF staff has issued a report recommending the yuan’s inclusion to the special drawing rights (SDR) basket, and Christine Lagarde – the fund’s managing director – saw that it was good: “I support the staff’s findings. The decision, of course, on whether the RMB should be included in the SDR basket rests with the IMF’s Executive Board. I will chair a meeting of the Board to consider the issue on November 30.” IMF</p> <p>Markets succumb to Friday the 13th bad luck. The FTSE 100 – weighed heavy by Rolls Royce and G4S shares – sank 0.98% to a six-week low while the S&amp;P 500 – hit by a massive selloff in retail stocks – tanked 1.12%. A nasty combo of weak earnings and disappointing retail sales apparently sparked the deluge. Commodities meanwhile continued their declines, with WTI crude falling 2.47% to 40.72 a barrel, while Brent crude dropped 1.41% to 43.44. Palladium and coffee however fared much worse, with the former diving 3.93% as the latter plummeted 3.17%.</p> <p>U.S. retail sales miss estimates. An unexpectedly weak October report from the Commerce Department showed that sales rose only 0.1% in October, short of the expected 0.3% incr
The Week Ahead: Fed minutes, U.S. inflation, and BOJ rates coming up
Capital Markets
<p>With Chinese trade data and Euro-area GDP out of the way, attention shifts to inflation once again as several nations – including Canada, Great Britain, and the U.S. – report their inflation rate figures throughout the week. However, all eyes will surely be on the Fed and the Bank of Japan on Thursday as the former releases its much-scrutinized FOMC minutes while the latter unveils its highly-awaited monetary policy decision. Analysts are expecting the BOJ to stand pat on rates, though some traders seem to be optimistic that it’ll bump up its QQE measures.</p> <p>Here’s what else you should look out for:</p> <p>Monday, November 16</p> <p>5:45 New Zealand retail sales (Q3,QoQ) – Forecast: 1.32% Previous: 0.1%</p> <p>7:50 Japan preliminary GDP (Q3, QoQ) – Forecast: -0.1% Previous: -0.3%</p> <p>12:00 Singapore imports (Oct) – Forecast: -28.2% Previous: -25.95%</p> <p>14:30 India WPI inflation (Oct, YoY) – Forecast: -4.0% Previous: -4.54%</p> <p>18:00 Eurozone inflation rate (Oct, MoM) – Forecast: 0.1% Previous: 0.2%</p> <p>18:15 ECB President Mario Draghi speaks</p> <p>Tuesday, November 17</p> <p>8:30 Reserve Bank of Australia minutes</p> <p>8:30 Singapore non-oil exports (Oct, MoM) – Previous: 2.8%</p> <p>16:30 Hong Kong unemployment (Oct) – Forecast: 3.3% Previous: 3.3%</p> <p>17:00 Indonesia interest rate decision – Forecast: 7.5% Previous: 7.5%</p> <p>17:30 U.K. inflation rate (Oct, YoY) – Forecast: -0.1% Previous: -0.1%</p> <p>18:00 Germany Zew Economic Sentiment Index (Nov) – Forecast: 4 Previous: 1.9</p> <p>21:30 U.S. core inflation rate (Oct, YoY) – Forecast: 1.9% Previous: 1.9%</p> <p>21:30 U.S.  inflation rate (Oct, YoY) – Forecast: 0.1% Previous: 0.0%</p> <p>Wednesday, November 18</p> <p>4:30 Federal Reserve Board of Governors member Daniel Tarullo speaks</p> <p>9:30 China house price index (Oct, YoY) – Forecast: -0.2% Previous: -0.9%</p> <p>21:30 U.S. housing starts (Oct, MoM) – Forecast: -2.1% Previous: 6.5%</p> <p>Thursday, November 19</p> <p>3:00 FOMC minutes</p> <p>5:00 Korea PPI (Oct, MoM) – Forecast: -0.4% Previous: -0.3%</p> <p>7:50 Japan exports (Oct, YoY) – Previous: 0.6%</p> <p>12:00 Bank of Japan interest rate decision – Forecast: 0.0% Previous: 0.0%</p> <p>17:30 U.K. retail sales (Oct, MoM) – Forecast: -0.41% Previous: 1.9%</p> <p>20:30 ECB monetary policy meeting accounts</p> <p>23:00 Philly Fed Manufacturing Index (Nov) – Forecast: 0.6% Previous: -4.5%</p> <p>Friday, November 20</p> <p>1:30 Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President and FOMC voting member Dennis Lockhart speaks</p> <p>5:45 Federal Reserve Vice Chairman and FOMC voting member Stanley Fischer speaks</p> <p>15:00 Germany PPI (Oct, MoM) – Forecast: -0.1% Previous: -0.4%</p> <p>16:00 ECB President Mario Draghi speaks</p> <p>18:15  Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann speaks</p> <p>21:30 Canada inflation rate (Oct, YoY) – Forecast: 1.0% Previous: 1.0%<br /> Photo: Stefan Fussan</p>
A new era begins, and not just for China
Capital Markets
<p>As we approach the end of 2016, we’re increasingly of the view that we’re nearing the end of one investment era and the beginning of another. We expect this global trend to be positive for China, but it might have a downside for some risk assets.</p> <p>There are signs, though only tentative, that the global investment and policy landscape in fourth-quarter 2015 could lead to a reversal of what, three years ago, were three key market-shaping events. Then, markets were in an expanding “balance sheet world,” in which central banks were pumping more liquidity into the global financial system to keep economies afloat.</p> <p>In September 2012, the US Federal Reserve launched its third round of quantitative easing (QE); in December of that year, Shinzo Abe became prime minister of Japan for the second time and, two months later, launched his Abenomics reforms in an attempt to boost the country’s growth and inflation.</p> <p>The central banks hoped that, by helping to lift asset prices, they would reignite the “animal spirits” in their economies. An important consequence of these actions was that financial markets—particularly risk assets—became disconnected from the macro environment, as liquidity drove valuations higher than economic fundamentals warranted.</p> <p>At the same time, there was a countercurrent to these events. In November 2012, Xi Jinping became president of China and—as part of a suite of reforms aimed at rebalancing the country’s economy—launched a crackdown on corruption.</p> <p>As the US and Japan attempted to stimulate growth, Xi’s actions had a dampening effect, leading to a slowdown in infrastructure and other projects in China. This in turn effectively put an end to the global commodities boom and created economic headwinds for commodity-exporting countries.</p> <p>Policymakers Change Course</p> <p>As of November 2015, the authorities behind each of these three policy initiatives appear to be changing course. Having put an end to quantitative easing a year ago, the Fed—though weighing an improved US economy against global market volatility—is expected to raise short-term interest rates for the first time in nine years.</p> <p>The policy debate in Japan now revolves around whether or not the Bank of Japan (BoJ) should ease further, with the BoJ governor arguing against it on the grounds that the country is through the worst of its deflationary spiral. If he’s right, we believe Japan could signal a tapering in its QE program next year. This is an out-of-consensus view, as the market is still looking for an extension or top-up of the program.</p> <p>China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, an outline of which was announced after the October Communist Party plenum, focuses on reforms that will continue to push the economy up the value chain, making it more efficient and innovative, with the aim of reducing the risk of the country falling into the middle-income trap.</p> <p>The country, in other words, still seems to be moving in the opposite direction from that of the US and Japan in terms of policy. This time, however, it’s more pro-growth, while the US and Japan are contemplating moving to tighter policy settings.</p> <p>Macro Factors Back in Play</p> <p>Together, these trends point to a rebalancing in global markets in 2016. With the US poised to raise interest rates, Japan potentially tapering its QE and China experiencing a mild cyclical upswing, macroeconomic factors are likely to reassert themselves as key investment drivers, in our view.</p> <p>What does this mean for investors? It’s yet another reminder to avoid “crowded trades,” particularly those created by investor responses to central bank balance sheet building over the past few years, or the slowdown in China. It also suggests that the ability to move dynamically into and out of sectors, geographies and markets is even more important now. And active management—stock and security selection in particular—is especially critical.</p> <p>In our next blog, we’ll look more closely at the implications for China.</p> <p>(c) Alliance Bernstein</p> <p>https://