Economic Growth Up On GDP Revision From Consumer Spending

GDP for Q1 was revised upward to 1.4% on an increase in consumer spending. The US economy enters its ninth year of economic growth in July.

The first GDP estimate for Q1 was originally reported at 0.7%. So Q1 GDP grew at twice the rate as originally thought. That’s great. Obviously 1.4% growth is not great but to have GDP growth at twice the rate than originally thought is awesome.

The idea that the Federal Reserve has hiked rates too far, too fast, and thus was crashing GDP is pushed a little ways off with this Q1 GDP upward revision. Clearly economic growth is not slowing as rapidly as everyone originally thought.

Some economists suspect the Q1 GDP number still underestimates the true rate of increase in the US. Regardless of the upward revision to GDP, President Trump’s stated goal of quickly boosting annual GDP to 3% remains a struggle.

Economic Growth

Analysts estimate that the U.S. market will grow at a 3% rate in the April-to-June interval, although the downturn in equipment orders and shipments reported earlier this week increases the danger that industry investment will supply less of a boost than expected.

A sustained average economic growth rate of 3% hasn’t been achieved in the US since the 1990s. The U.S. economy has grown an average of 2% since 2000.

Initial indications that GDP has accelerated in the next quarter are unlikely in the face of recent data on retail sales and manufacturing production.

Fed Rate Hikes Are More About Slowing GDP Than Improving GDP

The pitch by the Federal Reserve is that GDP is growing which is why they are hiking rates. The Fed has said that rate hikes are representative of their belief that economic growth is picking up and so really, rate hikes are something that is bullish for the economy and GDP going forward.

If you believe that, I know a guy who has an original picture of Jesus Christ in a piece of brick that he’d like to sell you for just $9,999.99.

The mainstream financial media is running with Yellen’s story as if it’s based in reality.

You can’t afford to be so gullible if you have your scarce dollars invested in the stock market.

Here’s a reality check chart that shows, everytime, that rising rates are more indicative of a falling GDP than of a rising GDP.

Trump Says GDP Numbers Are Going To Be Shockingly Good!

President Trump just said that GDP numbers are going to be shockingly good! Did the President just leak the GDP number two weeks early? But more importantly, does he know something we don’t?

GDP Numbers Are Shocking Bad

The gross domestic product is on a bad trajectory.

The economy and hence GDP has been contracting. Even the credit impulse which leads the gross domestic product by about 3 months, has plunged lower. But here is President Trump today:

What is going on? Is the President privy to information on the gross domestic product weeks before everyone else? The President didn’t just say the number would be good, he used the words “shockingly good”.

Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Repeal Through House

The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act took a hit this week after the House passes a bill that guts many parts.

The House passed a bill called the Financial Choice Act that would allow banks to opt out of some regulations if they hold enough capital and would repeal the Volcker rule that barred banks from speculative trading.

One key component of the bill that I like is that banks will no longer be bailed out with tax payers funds as they will be forced to go through bankruptcy like any other industry.

Repeal the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

President Trump promised to repeal the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act because it’s bad for business and in particular for small banks.

One of the original authors of the legislation, Jeb Hensarling (Republican from Texas) said Dodd Frank is a major factor in limiting GDP growth in the wake of the financial crisis.

Banking stocks are surging higher on news of the House bill but most see little chance of it passing in the Senate. Still, stock traders figure that even a watered down Senate version is better than what we currently have.

3D Printing Stocks For Playing Trump Trade War With China

A trade war between the US and China is likely going to start next year with a key promise of Trump to declare China a “currency manipulator” on day one of his Presidency and to enact a 45% tariff on certain Chinese produced products sold in US markets.

China has threatened to retaliate by dumping Boeing and instead ordering from Airbus. China has said it will block sales of US automobiles and iPhones in China and that US soybeans and maize imports will be halted.

To better understand why I think 3D printing stocks are a good play on a trade war with China, we have to go back in history and use macroeconomic analysis to see how we got to where we are today.

China Joins the WTO

In 2001 China joined the World Trade Organization and began flooding America with illegally subsidized exports. Over the next ten years, the US would shut down over 60,000 factories, lose more than 5 million manufacturing jobs and see it’s historical annual rate of GDP growth cut by two-thirds.

Trade Deficits and Offshoring Subtract From GDP Growth

As a result of China joining the WTO, structural problems hit the US, Europe, and other major economies like Japan and South Korea.

If a country like the US runs a trade deficit, this directly subtract’s from its GDP growth. From that observation, you can see what the two most important structure drags on growth for many developed nations like the US have been.

The first has been the drag of the large trade deficits. The second has been the drag on lower domestic investment growth, as multinational corporations like Caterpillar, General Electric, and General Motors, have built more plants in other countries and fewer plants in the US.

Where have most of the offshoring of productions gone? The answer is China.

It’s no accident that the start of America’s era of slow growth in 2001 coincided with China joining the World Trade Organization or WTO, which gave China full access to American markets.

Contrary to the rules of the WTO, China began to flood the US with cheap, often illegally subsidized exports, and over the next decade and a half; the US would see the loss of over 60,000 factories and more than 5,000,000 manufacturing jobs.

The Emergence of Structural Trade Imbalances

During this time the economies of Europe, India, Brazil, among others, would likewise begin to have significant growth-sapping trade deficits with China and this would reduce global growth below what it would otherwise be.

The result would be the structural emergence of a growth-sapping global trade imbalance, as illustrated in the following set of figures.

Here, we see chronic annual trade deficits on the order of 200 to 400 billion dollars annually, with the heavily exported China.

By the year 2012, these deficits would help slow growth dramatically in both Europe and the US, and as a result, China’s two biggest customers would thereby be too weak to sustain China’s export-dependent growth.

In a ripple effect, slow growth in China, in turn, would lead to slower growth in so-called commodity countries like Australia, Brazil, and Canada, whose economies depend heavily on the sale of natural resources like coal, iron ore, and soybeans to China. More broadly, these structural trade relationships would lead to a new type of butterfly effect the world had not yet seen.

Here, we see that weak demand for Chinese exports from Europe and the US leads to weak import demand from China for commodities and other natural resources. In this way, chronic trade imbalances between China and other countries around the world would make it very difficult for a robust, global economic recovery.

Why Keynesian Stimulus Failed

From this butterfly effect, you can see why expansionary, Keynesian fiscal and monetary stimulus in the US and Europe, did not have the full effects anticipated. Indeed, this short-run Keynesian approach did nothing to address the underlying, chronic, long-term structural trade imbalances, acting as a drag on both the U.S. and European economies and by extension, much of the rest of the world.

3D Printing and China Manufacturing

China is rapidly losing ground to 3D printing technology. The business model of it being cheaper to manufacture goods in China could come to an end over the next ten years.

US companies will soon be able to make most things in small 3D printer factories right in your neighborhood or town. Factories, as we know them today, will get broken up and made smaller and local. Newsweek writes

In the distributed manufacturing scenario, the carbon footprint, so to speak, of each shoe drops precipitously. Asian manufacturing is toast, probably upsetting the global balance of power. And factory jobs—well, they’re likely never coming “back.” 3-D printing automates a lot of what factory workers would’ve done. The hope is that distributed manufacturing creates a whole new set of opportunities for middle-class workers and keeps money local instead of funneling it overseas.

Coming Trade War With China

A Trump Administration will be placing tariffs on Chinese-produced goods effectively penalizing US corporations that manufacture products in China. China will retaliate by blocking the sale of US goods inside of China.

This trade war with China will only speed up the adoption of cheaper and faster 3D printing facilities inside the US IMO.

Many US businesses could increase their purchases of 3D printing machines as a result of the worsening trade relationship with China as well as the public outcry over the loss of millions of US jobs to China.

The earnings recession which began in Q1 2015 prevented businesses from buying 3D printers as consumer demand was uncertain. This last quarter we saw an end to the earnings recession, and if corporate earnings continue to rise, we could see more companies buying 3D printers.

Big Players and Big Money Flowing Into 3D Printing Technology

In September of 2016, General Electric acquired Arcam for $1.4 billion as it makes a major move into 3D printing.

In May of 2016, the 2D printing giant HP revealed that it has been spending billions of dollars developing 3D printing technology and announced the release of its Jet Fusion 3D 3200 and 4200 printers. The more powerful 4200 was slated to begin shipping in the fall of 2016, while the 3200 will be available in 2017. HP claims these polymer 3D printers are up to 10 times as fast and twice as cost-efficient as current 3D printers powered by the leading technologies. HP sees the incredible future for 3D printing and aims to become the leading 3D printing company.

3D Printing Stock Chart

Chart Comments: Not a great looking chart. Twiggs Money Flow is rising but still below the 0% line. The 50-day moving average (blue line) at $15.21 is currently being tested, and a breakout above this level would be bullish.

Stratasys Stock Chart

Chart Comments: Stratasys’ chart looks even worse than DDD. The Twiggs Money Flow is rising nicely, but it is still below the 0% line.

HP Inc Stock Chart

Chart Comments: Twiggs Money Flow falls below 0% line after missing on revenue; however, overall, the strongest looking chart of the 3D printing stocks. Fantastic valuation at P/E 9.9 and forward P/E 9.2. Wait for candle over candle bounce before taking a long entry.

Disclosure: I do not hold any stocks mentioned in this article.

Here Comes Supply-Side Economics and the Laffer Curve

Increases in government regulation, taxes, environmental regulations, and ObamaCare on businesses, shifted the aggregate supply (AS) curve inward and thus reduced aggregate demand (AD).
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Frictional Unemployment and The Employment Situation Report

As traders, we track the monthly Employment Situation report closely. The market often does a short-term move on the first Friday of every month when the Employment Situation report for the previous month is released. Do you understand what the Employment report is showing? I bet many traders do not. As traders, we have to know a bit of macroeconomics, so we don’t make the wrong decisions with our money. Let’s briefly look at what the Employment Situation report shows.

There are different types of unemployment. When we talk about unemployment, most traders default to what is called cyclical or demand deficient unemployment.

Cyclical unemployment exists when individuals lose their jobs as a result of a downturn in aggregate demand (AD). If the decline in aggregate demand is persistent, and the unemployment long-term, it is called either demand deficient, general, or Keynesian unemployment. Demand deficient unemployment is caused by a lack of aggregate demand, with insufficient demand to generate full employment. Demand deficient unemployment shifts the AD curve left (inward) from AD to AD1.

GDP contracts from Y to Y1 and wages fall from P to P1. If wages “stick” at P rather than fall to the new equilibrium wage of P1 following a shift of demand, the result will be a much greater unemployment equal to Y – Y2.

Frictional unemployment is not caused by a reduction in aggregate demand. Frictional unemployment is due to people being in the process of moving from one job to another. The time, energy and monetary cost of searching for a new job is called friction. Friction is an unavoidable aspect of the job search process. Friction is a natural part of seeking new employment, but friction is typically short-term.

When most traders get the monthly Employment Situation report data of something like 150K jobs created in October, they don’t realize that those are net changes. What actually happened is that there are around 5 million new hires during the month, and 4.85 million new separations (quits or layoffs). The number you hear about each month is the net number or the difference between new hires and new separations. The net number is misleading. The net number hides the vast amount of job change which is happening.

Every month millions of people quit their jobs to get a new job. Some go back to school for more training and some retire. Other people start new jobs after graduating or finding new opportunities. This all leads to frictional unemployment and it’s a healthy part of a dynamic economy.

Macroeconomics of Rising Interest Rates

The prospect of a Federal Reserve rate hike is driving up the US dollar. The rising US dollar has a significant impact on the US economy and thus stock market. It’s important that traders understand the implications of a rising US dollar from a macroeconomic perspective.
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Guess Who Is On Trump’s Economic Team, SWEET!

Do you remember when the WSJ, CNN, CNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Bloomberg, Forbes, and Reuters ran stories at the start of the year about how no one even knows who was advising Trump on economic matters? They even went as far to say that Trump had no support of any economists.
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Microeconomics and Taxation

Most government revenue comes from the taxation of transactions and labor. Taxes impact both the supply and demand curves. Taxes cause a buyer to pay more for something and suppliers to receive less. The loss of value for both buyers and sellers is called the deadweight loss of taxation. Taxation has an enormous impact on the economy and thus stock market. Traders and investors need to understand the effects that taxation has on the economy and thus stock market. We will examine deadweight loss from a microeconomics perspective, ending with a macroeconomics viewpoint.

In a market without taxation, we will say that a package of socks will sell at a fair market price of $14. This $14 equilibrium price is set where the supply and demand curves cross.
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