From a fundamental standpoint, nothing much good happened in the first half of 2019. Specifically:
- We didn’t get a US-China trade deal, and based on current press accounts we’re further away now than we were on January 1st. Moreover, bilateral tariffs are higher now than just a few months ago and apply to more goods.
- Corporate earnings growth has been slipping. For example, first quarter S&P 500 earnings were slightly negative as compared to last year. Analysts expect the same for Q2, and margins are lower than a year ago for both quarters.
- Slowing global growth. The export-driven German economy, long a bright spot in the Eurozone, likely slipped into contraction in Q2. Japan’s economy managed to post +2.2% GDP growth in Q1, but Q2 will almost certainly be slower. China’s economy has benefited from some easing of financial conditions, but trade tensions are clearly taking a toll as we start Q3.
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