US Stocks finished slightly lower on Friday but in a way that could herald some more downside this week with tech and momentum stocks performing the worst and above all closing on a little rush to the downside in the last minutes which left confidence shaky. Eurostocks gained +1.1%, outperforming as did EM stocks, FX and local debt markets. The tape and EM were saved by a rally in the oil sector on Friday on the prospect of an OPEC oil deal and a 3% gain in oil prices but still closed sharply lower on the week. Besides this pocket of strength on Friday, there was not much positive to report from the Trump tweeter feed over the week end either. Not only has D. Trump started to speak like Julius Caesar saying the “United States wants this and the United States wants that…”, as he tweets his opinion, not necessarily shared by the majority of Americans or Congress for that matter, but there was no sign of appeasement on the trade front from his Tweeter freed with the scenario of tit for tat responses to his increasing aggressivity stance becoming all the more likely now. “The Treasury Department is planning to heighten scrutiny of Chinese investments in sensitive U.S. industries under an emergency law, putting Washington’s trade war with Beijing on a potentially irreversible course”, Bloomberg commented. As we noted last Friday, we are de-risking and continue to do so this morning. The economic surprise index for most economic areas is sending some dire signals. For sure, the US economy is bucking the trend for now and is keeping some bulls excited and perhaps overconfident about recent late cycle earnings reports but the US curve keeps moving towards inversion which remains a reliable indicator of recession as well. Cross asset correlation is sending warning signals as does EM FX volatility. Our risk aversion/appetite indicator has now turned red into risk aversion territory as well.
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