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Fireside Charts 1.30.19

January 30, 2019

While the Midwest experiences temperatures near the lowest ever recorded, US consumers are also feeling icy. Thanks to the government shutdown and volatile markets, consumer confidence hit its lowest level since mid-2017 this month. Meanwhile, the effects of the trade war are still in play as factory orders and shipping demands continue to slow. How much more suffering can global trade activity take? Lastly, a look back at 2018's asset class ...

Fireside Charts 1.28.19

January 28, 2019

Happy Monday! With major tech earnings, a new jobs report, and a Fed meeting on the horizon, it's safe to say the U.S. markets will continue to be tested this week. After 35 days, the government shutdown appears to be over (for now). How will those 35 days effect the economy and job market? The Asian markets have had a good start to 2019, but the long-term effects of the trade war are still showing up in the data. Lastly, see the breakdown of how continued USD strength is harming emerging markets. 

Fireside Charts 1.25.19

January 25, 2019

Keeping up with the ever-changing retail landscape, Redbook same-store sales index remains strong with a sample of large American retailers, suggesting that retail sales are holding up. We question, however, where is all the negative yield debt? We’ve been saying consistently it is time to talk about the R-word. Seemingly, it is on the minds of others too. On a manufacturing note, Japan's manufacturing activity has decelerated. Taiwan is reflective of Japan's situation and we share more economic ...

Fireside Charts 1.23.19

January 23, 2019


As the government shutdown stretches into Day 33 and roughly 800,000 federal employees are poised to miss their second paycheck, the shutdown's impact on the GDP growth continues to worsen. Have you been affected by the shutdown? Is the Fed's forecast for 2% consumer inflation too high? Industrial production was surprisingly strong in December. Overseas, exports are expected to slow in China and we check in on Japan's monetary policy.

Fireside Charts 1.18.19

January 18, 2019

Today we recognize the life of John. C. Bogle, whom we lost on Wednesday. We owe much gratitude to the man who tirelessly dedicated his life to democratizing investing and being an advocate for the financial success of the average investor. The worsening global liquidity growth that we touched upon in Wednesday's blog did not show well in S&P 500 price return. U.S. crude oil hit another record, beating its last high in 2018. Will consumption weaken as manufacturing declines? A chart on U.S. cities poses the ...

BCM 4Q 18 Market Commentary

January 17, 2019

During the holiday-shortened last week of 2018, the S&P 500 Index gained ~6.7%. Normally such returns would be a cause for celebration, but this quarter it only lessened the pain. The S&P 500 ended December down ~8.8% bringing the fourth quarter’s return to -13.8%. Volatility is back with a vengeance as the market is rising and falling 2, 3, and even 4% at a time. So, what is going on?

Fireside Charts 1.16.19

January 16, 2019


The government may be shut down but the markets are not! In our first chart of today's Fireside Charts, we take a look at how the government shutdown could potentially drive GDP to the ground. One silver lining of the struggle for equities is lower mortgage rates. As the trade deficit with the U.S. continues to climb and the economic slowdown worsens in China, Beijing is boosting its stimulus. India's economy seems to be resisting the slow-down trend according to their Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). Finally, we see more evidence of how ...

Fireside Charts 1.14.19

January 14, 2019


The slope of the yield curve indicates a significantly higher risk of a recession within the year. However, be wary of charts that demonstrate confirmation bias, as sharp stock selloffs do not always precede a recession. The UK's industrial production slipped to the downside. Given the considerable lack of clarity on Brexit just 6 days before the vote, how will other industries fare? Finally, Chinese imports and exports have turned negative and Chinese bond defaults rose sharply last year. Do all signs point to slowdown for the world’s ...

Fireside Charts 1.11.19

January 11, 2019

We start this post with the much anticipated FOMC minutes from earlier this week. Factors such as trade tensions, global growth, and corporate earnings have the FED pressing pause on rate hikes. However, the slowing or stopping of rate hikes may be too late, and overall financial conditions are causing a drag in US GDP. A chart on tariffs by country shows how U.S. tariffs are now at Emerging Market levels. The Purchasing Managers' Index is ...

Fireside Charts 1.9.19

January 9, 2019

Our first chart today highlights how analysts have downgraded their earnings growth forecasts for 2019, which eases the worry of earnings disappointments in the future. A rising share of total outstanding US debt is Treasury securities. Were you aware that Emerging Markets were more stable than the S&P 500 for December? An infographic on the debt-to-GDP ratio points to the most indebted countries in the world. The U.S. isn't too far away from Greece in this context!

Fireside Charts 1.7.19

January 7, 2019


Happy First Monday of 2019! In today's chart blog, we take a look at how the S&P 500 broke out of its six year channel to the downside. A chart on sector trends highlights the not-so-surprising news that nearly all stocks in the Energy sector are in Bear market territory. Leading economic indicators like the ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) index continue to point to an economic slowdown in the months to come. Demographics will continue to be a drag on labor force participation as the population ages, despite some baby boomers ...

Fireside Charts 1.4.19

January 4, 2019

Today’s Friday chart blog is slightly longer than usual due to recent market activity – “bear” with us for important data points! Despite significant market swings, the U.S. consumer is still in a better place than in 2007. The ISM Manufacturing report was well below survey consensus following the grim regional manufacturing reports we shared in the last blog. However, Brazil's manufacturing seems to be in better shape. Based on 32 country indices, over 50% of  global equity markets are now in ...

Fireside Charts 1.2.19

January 2, 2019

Continue to ring in the New Year with the first Fireside Charts post of 2019. In today's blog, world economic data continues to look grim as the FED regional manufacturing indices fell further. US capital goods orders, which are a measure of business investment, finished 2018 in the negative. Metals including copper had a very discouraging year. Since companies will be forced to refinance maturing debt between 2020 and 2022, interest expenses for many U.S. corporations will climb sharply this year. Finally, China's manufacturing is also facing ...