CRED sees no derailment of the current business cycle train

By ClearRock Research October 25, 2018 Insights

SEPTEMBER – CRED held sturdy at 65.0, the third consecutive month, leaning on resiliently strong business indicators and continued growth in consumer confidence.

CRED Website

Figure A. CRED “Speedometer” on a scale from 0 to 100.

The CFNAI, a gauge of overall economic activity, followed suit over the past few months, and continued its pace forward. Despite a slight dip in hard business data (New Orders, Industrial Production), driven predominantly by a month-over-month percent decline in new orders, business indicators were bolstered by a strong labor market and rising compensation costs. Relative to last month’s record growth, consumer confidence for September rose at a more modest pace. Retail sales growth cooled and housing permits backed-off a bit as it faces headwinds that include rising property prices and higher mortgage rates. All things considered, consumer confidence remains strong. Presently, nothing meaningful is signaling the potential derailment of the current business cycle train. Inflation remained stable despite a fed rate hike in September and expectations of another hike before year-end. Valuations are still elevated, effectively unchanged from the month prior, while the high yield spread narrowed slightly and the US Dollar remained flat, marking a reversal in its upward trend. Globally, Eurozone economic consensus data remained flat and China PMI dipped below 51 for the first time since February, despite the fact that they reported a pick-up in production in August.

About The ClearRock Economic Dashboard (“CRED”) – CRED is a proprietary financial tool we have built and refined over the past 10 years.  CRED is a monthly barometer designed to measure the strength of the global economy. It synthesizes twenty financial data points to produce a monthly diffusion index of economic health.  We represent the index using a “speedometer” with a scale of 0 to 100. A reading of 50 is neutral, which indicates that the economy is growing at its long-term historical average. A reading below 50, signals that the economy is slowing, which may lead to a contractionary phase in the economic cycle. Conversely, when CRED gives us a reading above 50, the economy is growing faster than its historical trend rate, and is likely expanding.

We use this tool to answer a simple question: where are we within the current business cycle? Answering this question is a core part of our investment management process and is an important factor in driving our asset allocation decisions. We believe that getting the big picture right is key for achieving long-term portfolio growth and, most important, helping our clients reach their financial goals.

It is important to note however, that CRED is only one of the many resources that helps our Investment Committee make more thoughtful decisions.  Our deep industry and investment experience, coupled with our network of external independent research sources, we believe has allowed us to build a sound, disciplined, and repeatable investment process.

Please  remember  that  past  performance  may  not  be  indicative  of  future  results.  Different  types  of  investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this  newsletter (article), will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s),  or be suitable for your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content  may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any  discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute  for,  personalized  investment  advice  from  ClearRock  Capital,  LLC.  To  the  extent  that  a  reader  has  any  questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation,  he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. A copy of our current  written  disclosure  statement  discussing  our  advisory  services  and  fees  is  available  for  review  upon  request.