Who creates federal laws? Civics books say it is Congress, but the real answer today may be the executive branch. A recent report showed that the 229 major regulations issued since 2009 added over $100 billion in annual costs (according to the regulatory agencies), $22 billion coming in 2015. With estimates of the total regulatory costs now exceeding income tax burdens at over $2 trillion annually, regulations were far more burdensome for many Americans than legislation.
The final November fund flow numbers are in, and as BofA's Michael Hartnett puts it, November was a "watershed month" for fund flows with the largest 5-week bond outflows in 3.5 years (Chart 1), largest 3-week precious metals outflows in 3.5 years (Chart 3) and largest 4-week equity inflows in 2 years.
Did Jeff Gundlach do it again? Shortly after the DoubleLine manager told Reuters yesterday afternoon that the Trump rally is ending, that "stocks have peaked" and that it is "too late to buy the Trump trade", US stocks tumbled to session lows, and have continued to drop overnight, with S&P futures down 0.3%, alongside sliding Asian and European markets.
"...we're at a phase in this UST / developed sovereign bond trade where previously acceptable conditioning (‘buy dips’; ‘get long-er duration because it just keeps working’; ‘never-ending bond inflows will always pause selloffs’ etc) are all being reset in real-time, and this behavioral shift is painful."
Following a November to remember, which saw tremendous market gains following the election of Donald Trump, December has started off on the back foot, with US equity futures lower, European stocks halting a two day advance ahead of the Italian referendum, US Treasury yields higher and the US dollar backing away from a 9 month high.
The Fed's latest Beige Book released Wednesday found seven regional Fed districts reporting economic activity as growing at a modest or moderate pace, a decline from 11 in the last report, with strong dollar headwinds among one of the more frequently cited reasons for the weakness.
European, Asian stocks rise as do S&P futures as OPEC ministers gathering in Vienna appeared to be set to announce a deal to cut oil production and prop up global prices. Oil has surged over 7% as a result, also pushing US TSY yields and the dollar higher.
The unexpected economic growth spurt continued in the third quarter, when real GDP rose 3.2% according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, beating estimates of a 3.0% print, and 0.3% higher than the “advance” estimate released in October. This was the highest quarterly growth rate since the third quarter of 2014.
European stocks were little changed and oil fell as investors assessed declining prospects for an OPEC deal and risks from Italy’s referendum. Asian stocks declined, while S&P futures pointed to a fractionally higher open, erasing 3 points from yesterday's drop.
"... we believe that the equity market is still at a level that can cope with moderately rising bond yields. We estimate that a rise in US bond yields above 2.75% or probably between 0.75-1% in Germany would create a more serious problem for equity markets: at that point we would expect that any further rises in yields from there would be a negative for stock returns." - Goldman Sachs