Investors breathed a sigh of relief following the first-place showing of centrist and pro-European Union candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of France’s presidential elections Sunday, sending the Euro to a five-month high relative to the dollar. Populist Marine Le Pen ranked second in the voting.
Why it matters: The results make it more likely that Macron will be France’s next president, keeping France in the EU. That should have a positive impact on both French stocks and the U.S. economy.
Paris rising: High Frequency Economics’ Carl Weinberg predicts that French stocks will rally in trading Monday, and that interest rates on French government debt will fall. France isn’t out of the woods, however. Weinberg writes that Macron will have a tough time corralling a divided Parliament to implement pro-growth reforms.
Domestic affairs: A Blackrock Investment Institute note to clients calls Macron a “business friendly” candidate that will not get in the way of Europe’s improving economy. The U.S. economy has seen the benefits of faster growth in Europe—political stability across the Atlantic is good for business here.
Caveat: David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments warns that “it’s not a done deal yet,” and that the push and pull of a high profile election will cause “markets to remain volatile in the run-up to the final round of voting on May 7 and potentially even beyond.”
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan today warned of “policy uncertainty” for the world economy due to there being a “bunch of new leaders” who need to prove they are strong, even as he exuded confidence about all large economies doing well. Without specifically mentioning India, Rajan said, “This is the first time in a long while we have seen all the big engines firing at the same time including the large emerging markets … We have seen trade picking up. “We are seeing early signs of investment intentions. Of course there are always clouds. There are clouds this time also,” he said. In an interview to CNBC, the Chicago Booth School professor and the outspoken economist also said the “good news is some of the fears about the (Trump) administration that it would move immediately to a more protectionist stance haven’t played out”.
“There have been noises but of course the strong action that some people feared against Mexico, against China hasn’t really materialised. That’s the good news,” he said while referring to Donald Trump administration in the US. Talking about the possible risks before the world economy, Rajan who served as RBI governor for three years, said, “There is lot of policy uncertainty right now because of the work the (US) administration is going to do and how much it can achieve.
“But also there is geo-political risk. We have a bunch of strong leaders around the world who are already well entrenched in their strength. “We have a bunch of new leaders who need to prove themselves that they are strong. And in that kind of environment, who has room to back off if in fact there is a confrontation. We have many areas of confrontation.” Rajan further said as the US monetary policy normalises, “we will see more stress” on heavily indebted entities.
Since 1955, Fortune Magazine has released an annual list of the highest revenue generating companies in the US – the Fortune 500. In 2016, the US Fortune 500 companies generated $12 trillion in combined revenue, accounting for over two-thirds of US GDP, and employed 27 million people worldwide.
In today’s dynamic economy, we know some companies and sectors are growing rapidly and others are struggling. We wanted to see which of the Fortune 500 are growing and shrinking the fastest, and which sectors.
In the Craft company database, we looked up revenue for these 500 companies over 2014-16*, and calculated the average annual growth rate in that 3 year period.
We found that only 62%, 309 companies, had positive revenue growth and 38%, saw their revenues decline. Healthcare was the fastest growing sector, perhaps benefiting from the regulatory environment, and Technology came in second, driven by relentless innovation in Silicon Valley. The Energy sector declined the most, matching a steep drop in the global oil price.
Here are the 50 fastest revenue growth companies in the US Fortune 500.
As the vulture pundits in the mainstream media pick apart hollow political scandals, the essential bankruptcy of the federal government looms just ahead. The national debt is creeping toward 20 trillion dollars, and the United State’s largest problem is once again staring the world in the face.
Just before the government was slated to shut down in 2015 (as it did in 2013), Congress was able to pass a delay on the debt ceiling decision until March 15th of this year — Wednesday of this week. Recurring uncertainty caused by events like this has implications that extend far beyond our own borders. The amount of leverage in the current system has already forced foreign holders of U.S. debt to question the real value of America’s full faith and credit.
2016 was a record-setting year for the liquidation of foreign-held U.S. bonds, topping out at nearly $405 billion. The selling was led by China, America’s second-biggest creditor, which currently holds over $1 trillion of U.S. debt, almost 28% of the total held by foreign central banks. They weren’t alone, though, and even the U.S.’ number one lender, Japan, has rolled back their positions to protect themselves as the reality of U.S. insolvency comes into focus. A gradual change has been set in motion, and the global superpower status of the United States may be systematically eroded — not militarily, but economically.
If the government does shut down again, the Treasury Department reportedly has as little as $66 billion in reserves and just enough income from taxes to meet its essential obligations.
The Bank of Japan is poised to upgrade its three-year economic growth outlook in the final days of January in light of strong recent indicators, though stronger inflation forecasts will be a harder sell.
The central bank will compile its quarterly outlook on economic activity and prices at a two-day policy meeting beginning Monday. The report will outline the BOJ’s forecast for each of the three years through fiscal 2018,
The last report, released in November, pegged gross-domestic product growth at 1% for fiscal 2016, 1.3% for fiscal 2017 and a slim 0.9% for fiscal 2018. Discussions this time are expected to center on the first two years, with the fiscal 2017 growth forecast thought to be headed for the mid-1% range.
Signs for an upgrade are strong. The BOJ in December boosted its outlook for Japan’s economy as a whole for the first time in 19 months. Such goods as smartphone parts and automobiles are driving up exports and industrial production, while consumer spending on durable goods such as cars is on the rebound as well. Changes made late last year to the GDP calculation method will also give the figure a boost: companies’ research and development spending, which has shown consistent growth over the years, now counts as investment.
BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said at a World Economic Forum panel discussion Jan. 20 that he expects Japan’s economy to grow by around 1.5% in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017, significantly exceeding the country’s potential growth rate.
With the world facing uncertainty over the new administration in Washington, the Japanese central bank is among the many keeping their eyes peeled.
The yen’s depreciation against the dollar since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election in November has given the Bank of Japan some much-needed breathing room, as a weaker home currency will likely buoy the economy and consumer prices here.
BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda welcomed the prospect of the yen softening on the back of a robust American economy, saying Trump’s planned tax cuts and infrastructure spending would lift the economies of the U.S. and the world.
The BOJ could watch from the sidelines without having to roll out more monetary easing — a particularly helpful development for a central bank nearly out of easing options.
“The specifics of economic policy under the Trump administration have not become clear,” according to BOJ Deputy Gov. Hiroshi Nakaso. But the bank apparently expects lower taxes and other anticipated economic measures to boost the economy.
The Bank of Japan revised its economic outlook for the first time in 19 months during the two-day policy meeting that ended Tuesday. But that is apparently the only step the central bank is taking at this time.
“The headwinds seen in the first half of this year have ceased,” BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters following the meeting. Markets were riled by heightened concerns directed at emerging economies at the beginning of 2016, only to be shocked in June by Britain’s referendum to exit the European Union. The BOJ was forced to loosen its policy in July, raising its target for exchange-traded fund purchases.
During the second half of 2016, the economic landscape has slowly brightened, beginning with U.S. readings. The Japanese economy has followed suit with increased exports and production. Consumption also recovered from a slump caused by a soft stock market and inclement weather at the beginning of the year.
“Japan’s economy has continued its moderate recovery trend,” the BOJ said in a statement published after the meeting. The central bank had previously qualified that view by highlighting sluggish exports and production.
Stocks closed mixed Monday as the Dow hit a new all-time high and as oil prices jumped after several non-OPEC countries agreed to join the cartel in cutting output and as investors focused on interest rates. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq snapped 6-day winning streaks and retreated from record highs.
Investors were also focusing on interest rates as Federal Reserve policymakers meet this week and most economists expect the Fed to announce a rate hike at the conclusion of the 2-day meeting on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39.58 points, or 0.2%, to a record close of 19,796.43, according to preliminary calculations. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.1% to 2256.96, after rising in early trading to set a new intraday record. The Nasdaq composite index dropped fell 0.6% to 5412.54.
Energy stocks got a boost as the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil jumped 2.6% to $52.83 a barrel as oil-producing countries outside of OPEC agreed to reduce production by 558,000 barrels per day. That comes after OPEC countries agreed in November to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels per day.
We previously reported on Druckenmiller’s sudden and dramatic U-turn in outlook following the Donald Trump presidential victory, when on November 10, the legendary Duquesne manager said that he is now “as hopeful as I’ve been in a long time”, and to validate his belief, he said that “I sold all my gold on the night of the election” because “all the reasons I owned it for the last couple of years seem to be ending”, first and foremost his expectations that inflation is now set to spike, forcing money out of safe assets – like gold and Treasuries – and into the US Dollar.
Druckenmiller became an overnight bull on hopes the Trump administration would unleash a fiscal stimulus-based period of growth for the economy, with a a “large bet on economic growth.” He also told CNBC that “I’m short bonds, Bunds, Italian bonds, U.S. bonds” a reflection of his expectation of higher deficits and stronger growth.
Fast forward to today, when Stan Druckenmiller spoke at the Robin Hood Investors Conference in Brooklyn, repeated he is bullish on the American economy following the U.S. election, and anticipates a much stronger dollar and higher bond yields. Druckenmiller joined Jeff Gundlach in predicting that US 10Y yields may rise to 6% over the next year or two, while the euro could weaken far below parity and drop to 82 cents against the dollar. He’s also short the yen, European, Japanese bonds and also gilts.