Will the Boom-Bust Barometer Bounce?

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The Boom-Bust Barometer (Commodity Prices/Unemployment Claims) has had a very high correlation with stock prices over the past decade. The rise in unemployment claims has driven it lower. We will wait to see if the end of the government shutdown will bring unemployment claims back down. It was only modestly lower this week (-15k).

What is Dr. Copper Telling Us?

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We track the relative performance of the cyclical sectors (consumer discretionary, financial, energy, industrial, materials, technology) compared to the counter-cyclical sectors (consumer staples, health care, telecom, utilities) to gain an insight into leadership within the equity markets. Usually copper–the metal with a Ph.D in Economics–moves in synch with the relative outperformance of the cyclicals.

US Econ Chart of the Day

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The NAHB Housing Market Index ticket down from 57 to 55 in October. However, the index has shown a surprisingly strong negative correlation with the Unemployment Rate (Index goes up, Unemployment rate goes down). This relationship would suggest that the unemployment rate continues to fall over the next 18 months.

ZEW Survey

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In keeping with the familiar trend among European data releases, Germany appears to be the lone bright spot in an otherwise lackluster survey of economic sentiment:

Diving into the Details of Defensive Growth Underperformance in Recent Months

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We’ve noted before the recent underperformance of ”defensive growth” stocks (Health Care and Consumer Staples stocks) so we thought we’d dive into the details to get a better understanding for the drivers of this relatively sudden turn in performance, since these two sectors (and Health Care in particular) have performed admirably this cycle.