The U.S. dollar remains strong, defying some skeptics. As has been the case since late 2008 when the Federal Reserve (Fed) began its quantitative easing (QE) program, there has been a great deal of concern recently among some market participants that the dollar is on the verge of a significant decline. Although the dollar may have lost some market share relative to other global currencies in recent decades, it remains the dominant global currency (often referred to as a reserve currency) and we expect it to remain so for the foreseeable future.
The U.S. dollar is getting a lot of attention these days for many reasons. The dollar’s strength this year (+7% year to date based on the DXY U.S. Dollar Index) has had a negative impact on earnings for U.S.-based multinationals and contributed to fears of an “earnings recession” (not our expectation). Commodities, which trade in dollars globally, have been under pressure from the dollar’s strength beyond the impact of fundamental factors such as the slowing Chinese economy and oil’s high-profile global supply glut. Finally, some are worried that the dollar may lose its place as the leading reserve currency, which we discuss below.
Markets at a Glance shows annual and YTD performance for a broad array financial market asset classes. As the overall market moves through different cycles and environments, individual asset class performancecan also fluctuate. This report is helpful in illustrating the extent to which asset class performance can vary and the importance a well-diversified portfolio can have in minimizing these variations.
Q2 earnings season may look a lot like Q1 as companies once again face the twin drags of the energy downturn and strong U.S. dollar.
The Thomson-tracked consensus is calling for a 3% year-over-year decline in S&P 500 earnings for the second quarter, dragged down once again by the energy sector and a strong U.S. dollar. We believe this earnings estimate can be exceeded due to the improving economic growth in the U.S. and Europe during Q2, and the low bar set by an above-average 4:1 ratio of negative-to-positive preannouncements (long-term average back to 1995 is 2.7) and recent earnings trends where the average upside “beat” over the past 16 quarters is 4%. An upside in-line with prior quarters would leave earnings up by 1 – 2% compared with Q2 2014, similar to the Q1 result (+2%). The biggest stories this earnings season will again be energy and the dollar, which are expected to combine for a roughly 10% drag on S&P 500 earnings overall. But these drags will potentially share the spotlight with two others: Greece and China. We expect corporate America to tell us that the knock-on effects on their businesses from turmoil in Greece and the bursting of China’s stock market bubble have been very limited and that earnings are poised to accelerate during the second half of the year.
According to the Thomson-tracked consensus, the strongest earnings growth in Q2 is expected to come from the financials and consumer discretionary sectors…
The Greek people had their voices heard on July, 5th and decisively voted “no” on the Greek referendum to accept the latest bailout deal from creditors. This outcome, which was surprising to many, will potentially raise the level of economic and financial market volatility in the weeks ahead, as global investors assess the risks associated with an increasingly likely Greek exit (Grexit) from the Eurozone and from the Eurozone’s common currency, the euro.
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Greece’s critical referendum took place this weekend and the Greek people resoundingly voted “no” — rejecting the latest bailout deal from creditors. The referedum result, which some interpreted as a vote to exit the Eurozone, throws Greece’s future in the currency union firmly in doubt. The unexpected result has led to a roughly 2% decline in the broad European indexes but only a modest decline in the S&P 500 (as of 3 p.m. ET today, July 6, 2015). The negative market reaction in Europe is not surprising, given polls heading into the weekend suggested a vote for the bailout was more likely. The modest decline in the U.S. may suggest markets are increasingly comfortable with the situation. Here we try to answer the following questions:
1. Would a Greece exit (Grexit) from the Eurozone lead to contagion for global markets?
2. Will this latest Greece crisis result in a Lehman moment?
3. Is a deal that keeps Greece in the Eurozone still even possible
4. Does anticipated weakness in European equity markets present a buying opportunity?
We address these questions here and provide our playbook for investing in this environment.