Pro Perspectives 1/21/20

January 21, 2020

We entered the year with clear tailwinds of easy global monetary policy, and the removal of the risk of an indefinite U.S./China trade war. 

That has been good for ten new record highs in stocks, in just thirteen trading days. 

Global political and business leaders are in Switzerland this week at the World Economic Forum.  Trump set the tone for the forum this morning, in a speech, spreading his formula for economic prosperity.  

This "economic boom" talk should put pressure on other countries to get more aggressive to stimulate growth this year.  As we know, the central banks have already returned to full-throttle easy money policies.   And Japan has followed the lead of the U.S., launching a fiscal stimulus package last month.  This should be the year that eurozone politicians will be forced to throw a lifeline to the ECB by helping with some stimulative fiscal action.  

On that note, we have the ECB meeting on Thursday.  Remember, we have a new ECB President.  This will be (the former IMF head) Christine Lagarde's second meeting as the head of the ECB.  She inherited the job after a decade of global stimulus that has left the eurozone economy running at 1% growth and 1% inflation.  Her predecessor, Mario Draghi, had already restarted another bond buying program (QE) in Europe, with no clear end in mind.

In her ECB debut, she made the pleas for fiscal stimulus help.  Expect more of that on Thursday. 

After that, the market should turn focus to global PMI data – which will start rolling in on Friday. 

The PMI data is where the decay in business confidence, from the trade war, was visible over the past six months — which contributed to global central bank action, and likely to Trump pulling the trigger on a trade deal.

The good news:  Confidence can bounce back quickly.  And with that (trade) risk now removed, the PMIs should be set up for positive surprises.