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MARKET RECAP
Get a head start on tomorrow's headlines. Succinct market analysis, updated frequently, reviewing the factors most responsible for changes in valuation, trends and sentiment, with highlights to the major themes driving market forces.

THE WEEKLY TRACK – WINDMILLS

We maybe tilting at windmills as the relentless rally up in risk in the last week for US equities begets ever more analysis as to why markets react to policy and economic data as bulls beat bears. The cause and effect of why shares are bid in the US and Europe, less so in Asia and emerging markets matters. Knowing what caused the rally matters more than the rally itself, as it will be the underpinnings for the next cycle of selling. The abnormality of the last week stands alone - Stocks up, Dollar up, Oil up, Bonds up, Emerging Markets down. The cracks are in the logical inconsistency of it all, bonds and stocks can’t rally together forever, nor can the USD rally with commodities. Emerging markets depend on growth and easy money and yet the weakness last week seems to suggest more a zero sum game in play for value. The bulls will list out better 4Q earnings, less fears about US/China trade, less fears about China growth, less US political troubles – ie. no new government shutdown – and further easy money promises from numerous central bankers. Bears continue to point to the growth disappointments of Europe, the troubles in China and doubting of its data, ongoing political issues in Europe from Brexit to Spain to Italy and Germany, along with the usual geopolitical problems from Russia, to India/Pakistan to Mexico and Venezuela. The four stories that play out next week will matter significantly to how markets see the windmills of cause and effect – they might be giants or they may be more grist for the millstone. 1) China. Is this optimism that the US/China trade talks lead to a March 1 deal or if not an extension in the deadline? According to a Reuters report, China offered to boost its purchases of U.S. semiconductors in exchange for lower U.S. tariffs even as the talks seem inconclusive on intellectual property or state subsidies. The underlying status of talks will become more obvious with the Trump tweets on this next week along with the China auto sales and home price data. 2) Fed. Or is this hope that the FOMC is next going to ease – driving another risk parity rally - with the 1.2% drop in US December retail sales – worst drop since Sep 2009 – along with a higher weekly jobless claims shifting the Fed policy games on balance sheet reduction and rate normalization. The FOMC minutes will be critical in assessing the reaction function to the present data. 3) ECB. Similarly, is the EUR weakness due to German near recession and Italian confirmed recession or because the ECB is more likely to reverse from its QE end and talk for rate normalization? The numerous ECB speeches from Praet next week along with the ECB meeting account will be seen as critical in judging this point. 4) Brexit. Finally we see the confusion of Brexit still bleeding over the UK economy and yet the GBP holding stable, perhaps because of the inevitability that without a deal yet acceptable both Europe and the UK will delay any divorce. There are many undercurrents to cause and effects in markets, as every cause produces more than one effect. We will found this out next week in the readings of the FOMC minutes as they compare to those of the ECB. Present policy expectations are like windmills – they might be giants blocking the next advance up in risk as not hiking isn’t the same as easing, nor is freezing the size of your balance sheet the same as continuing to expand it. What matters is what the US, Europe, PBOC, BOJ and others do with their policy more than one action alone.

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CENTRAL BANK BALANCE SHEET REDUCTIONS – WILL ANYONE FOLLOW THE FED?

The next wave of QE will be different, credit spreads will be controlled The Federal Reserve may continue to tighten but few other CB’s can follow ECB balance sheet reduction might occur if a crisis does not arrive first Interest rates are likely to remain structurally lower than before 2008

TRADE IDEAS
Our tactical and (mostly) short-term analysis offers potential trading opportunities in fixed income, foreign exchange, commodity, equity and other asset classes. Technical and fundamental analysis is applied for risk positioning. Trackresearch.com monitors the success of all recommendations.

THE TRACK CRYPTO WEEKLY – ZERO LIMITS

The FUG continues for Bitcoin as the long winter gets longer in 2019. The technical failure of the rally over $4200 and the revisiting of $3600 looks ominous to chartists. The futures of digital rests on the quality of its community and the confidence that they generate in developing new technology to solve old problems in the economy. The gloom in BTC and the rest of the crypto markets starts with the frustration of bad press and continues with the lack of technological acceptance. The glitterati of Davos agree. Jeff Schumacher, founder of BCG Digital Ventures, said during a panel in Davos: "I do believe [bitcoin] will go to zero. I think it's a great technology but I don't believe it's a currency. It's not based on anything." The BIS released a new paper that argues Satoshi’s process has two key competing problems – high transaction costs to ensure payment and a system that can’t generate transaction fees high enough to guarantee such payments. The BIS argues that proof-of-work can only work if mining income is high enough and that users are free-riding on the security provided by the transactions fees of others in the chain – limiting “mining” income. They conclude - So-called second-layer solutions such as the Lightning Network can improve the economics of payment security (in addition to mitigating scaling limits). However, they are no magic bullets, as they face their own scaling issues.

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Markets shift. This is where Trackresearch.com analyzes those shifts. These pieces focus on the reactions to particular market sector events, and the issues and data that may cause adverse or unexpected market movements.

THE MORNING TRACK - STUFFED

Thanksgiving holiday in the US comes but once a year but the practice of being thankful should be a daily routine. Markets today are not practicing such and the feeling of being stuffed with food, drink and too much news hangs over any joy from yesterday’s bounce. There is a bit of respite from the lower volumes with the US markets shut. There is also a feeling that the bears have been stuffed with enough price capitulation as to make the risk of much lower prices less obvious. The usual headlines drive some hope with Italian BTPs bid again despite a lackluster sale today – Italy deputy PM Di Maio sees room for dialogue with EU, perhaps responding finally to the EU sanction risks. UK is bid on the “good progress” seen on Brexit. These are insufficient to keep equities bid in Europe. What seems to be lacking in risk appetite maybe blamed on the inevitable switch to sell bounces rather than buy dips now for risk assets. The chart that maybe worth thinking about in the context of why November is different than the obvious risk-off October comes from AUD/JPY – which clearly broke in October and recovered sharply only now its been seeping slowly back down. While today maybe a write-off for traders, its still worth thinking through what we all should be thankful for in the world, and in our portfolios.

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MARKET RECAP

Get a head start on tomorrow's headlines. Succinct market analysis, updated frequently, reviewing the factors most responsible for changes in valuation, trends and sentiment, with highlights to the major themes driving market forces.

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