Stock markets are rising? Look at the Big Picture!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

With many of the primary stock markets reaching yearly highs, it would appear that optimism about the prospects for a global recovery is high. The increase in overall risk appetite in the Forex and the jump in stocks have been incredibly impressive.

According to the news reports, these shifts in sentiment have been driven higher by better than expected corporate earnings out of the US along with good economic data. But something is just not adding up for me, and I am not quite sure where to place my disbelief.

It is odd that just as the markets are flying, bond yields for the major economic countries, the US, Japan, England etc, are going higher. Now obviously this is due in part to trader speculation that once the recovery takes hold, these countries will have no choice but to start raising their low rates.

But what concerns me is the effect of quantitative easing that many of these countries employed. Funnelling money into the system at such a large rate as many of these countries had, will no doubt cause mild to moderate inflation – which would require lower rates. So what is going on?

Last week gave us a clue that all is not so rosy though. England reported a weaker-than-expected GDP figures for the second quarter – much weaker than expected to be specific.

Perhaps the Brits are not fudging their numbers like the Americans are – not that I know anything for a fact, but it wont surprise me to find that out in a few months.

This week's vast amount of economic data coming out of Europe and the US should help paint a better picture. I fully expect sugar-coating, but I know that the Forex traders will be keen to pick up on that.

Among the core numbers to look for this week are the US GDP and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. Consumer Confidence and Housing Prices along with New Home Sales numbers are important, but this is where my scepticism is most pronounced as we have seen anomalies in these numbers in recent months and they are easier to manipulate – so keep a sharp eye out there.

I expect the general tone of this week's data to support the recent signs of improvement. It remains to be seen, however, whether the outturns will be sufficient to maintain the bullish momentum as we head into August. Short of very strong numbers, I doubt it will happen.

Look for a weaker week in the Dollar and look for the Aussie and Kiwi to be the beneficiaries of that.


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