Thursday, May 21, 2015

Signs of a Recovery in Eurozone Profits (excerpt)

The ECB isn’t buying stocks (just yet), but the bank’s officials are certainly doing their best to boost stock prices by depressing the euro and keeping a lid on interest rates. Last Thursday, ECB President Mario Draghi countered any notion that the bank’s QE might be tapered ahead of schedule. He was clearly concerned about the recent backup in bond yields, strength in the euro, and weakness in stock prices. To make sure everyone got the message, another member of the ECB’s executive board said on Monday evening that the bank will front-load some of its purchases of sovereign debt in May and June.

The forward earnings of the EMU MSCI seems finally to be turning up as both 2015 and 2016 earnings estimates have stopped falling recently. NERI turned positive during April (1.3) and rose to a five-year high in May (4.0) following 48 consecutive months of negative readings. The upturn is widespread including Germany, France, and Spain, though not Italy so far.

The weaker euro finally might be starting to boost profits in the Eurozone. There is probably more upside for the region over the rest of the year barring a Grexit.

Today's Morning Briefing: Central Planners. (1) Does kicking the can beat the alternative? (2) Why can’t a series of short-term fixes be a long-term fix? (3) The Greek example. (4) Central bankers have turned into central planners. (5) The latest plan is to do more of the same to drive up stock prices. (6) China’s new plan is to pump up stock prices. (7) BOJ buying ETFs. (8) Profits finally showing signs of life in Eurozone. (9) US lags while FOMC plays Hamlet. (10) What do Fed economists do all day? (11) Fed staff attacks Piketty and other Progressives. Read all about it! (12) Fed debates seasonal distortions. (More for subscribers.)

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