COVID-19 Trends Weaken the Case for Investing in Europe

In recent months, we have warmed up to Europe as a destination for equity investments in global portfolios. Through July, Europe had done a relatively good job containing the first wave of COVID-19, and cases were plummeting to multi-month lows. Meanwhile, the United States was struggling with its second wave—or perhaps the second phase of the first wave—and was seeing cases surge in July despite the warm summer weather. Read more

July PMI Data Shows Recovery Chugging Along

We’ve written quite a bit lately about the deterioration in high-frequency data. Indicators of mobility (such as auto and air travel, commuting activity, restaurant diners, etc.) leveled off in July due to the latest wave of COVID-19 cases. The strong rebound in the job market reflected in May and June jobs data has faded, based on the increase in continuing claims reported last week by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more

Dollar Weakness May Continue

The US dollar was remarkably strong during the first quarter of 2020, benefitting from the flight to safety and rallying to nearly a 10% year-to-date gain at the stock market’s low point on March 23. However, as equity markets have recovered, and the US has continued to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the dollar has given up nearly all of those gains. We think this trend may continue, and if so, it would have important implications for a range of asset classes. Read more

Retail Sales Beat Shows Consumers Coming Back Strong

COVID-19 has decimated global demand as lockdowns materially re-shaped consumer and business behavior. Even as states have begun to re-open, significant questions remain about how demand could recover. The May retail sales print provided one of the first glimpses of that answer, rising 17.7% month over month and marking the largest monthly gain since data began in 1992. Read more

Challenges Abound in the US Service Sector

Recent economic data confirms that the US economy has entered a recession, led by the consumer, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy based on gross domestic product (GDP).  The consumer spending collapse was evident from March’s personal consumption expenditures data released last Wednesday, which showed a record 7.5% month-over-month drop in consumer outlays. Read more