Art of the Tariff
Yesterday’s White House announcement that newly imposed tariffs on Chinese goods would be delayed three months sent stocks higher. The trade dispute hasn’t hurt the U.S. that much, although there’s widespread evidence of financial distress among farmers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue showed his sledgehammer wit in a joke aimed at farmers complaining about tariffs. China recently stopped buying U.S. agricultural products entirely in response to the latest U.S. tariffs. Farmers vote, and the White House has modestly recalibrated its approach. Trump clearly enjoys the relatively unfettered freedom of action afforded the president on trade.
Trade friction threatens global growth. The IMF recently called for a quick resolution between the U.S. and China. It’s blamed for the continuing drop in bond yields, with some investors openly contemplating whether the U.S. could soon join other developed country sovereign debt with negative interest rates. U.S. ten year yields of 1.7% are the highest in the G7, and among those who shop for value in government bond markets they probably look enticing.
America’s higher yields reflect our relative immunity to trade war fallout. The S&P500 recently broached 3,000 for the first time before retreating on new tariffs. But yesterday’s bounce took it back to within 3% of recent al-time highs. We noted last week how the Equity Risk Premium provided a compelling case for investors to allocate towards risk assets (see Stocks Offer Bond Investors an Opening).
Although Trump’s protracted dispute with China has broad domestic support, we continue to believe that a resolution will be found within the next few months, so as to avoid any economic fallout in an election year. Expect to see agricultural exports and natural gas heralded as big winners.
The U.S. energy sector could certainly use a confidence boost. Pipeline earnings have generally been at or ahead of expectations. The bull story relies on the growth in free cash flow (see The Coming Pipeline Cash Gusher). 2Q19 earnings reports provided further confirmation that growth projects peaked last year, leaving more cash available for dividend hikes.
Traders betting on a global slowdown are quick to short crude oil, and recent weakness in energy prices has hurt the sector’s stocks too. No matter that pipeline company earnings are generally not sensitive to commodity prices. The most asked question by clients recently centers around the incongruity of good operating performance with falling stock prices. The short answer is that several years of dividend cuts left income-seeking investors betrayed. So far this year, this traditional buyer hasn’t rushed back, as shown by flows into retail-oriented funds.
Improving fundamentals and compelling valuations are attracting private equity buyers. Public market buyers will surely follow.
SL Advisors is the sub-advisor to the Catalyst MLP & Infrastructure Fund. To learn more about the Fund, please click here.
SL Advisors is also the advisor to an ETF (USAIETF.com).
The information provided is for informational purposes only and investors should determine for themselves whether a particular service, security or product is suitable for their investment needs. The information contained herein is not complete, may not be current, is subject to change, and is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by, the more complete disclosures, risk factors and other terms that are contained in the disclosure, prospectus, and offering. Certain information herein has been obtained from third party sources and, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. No representation is made with respect to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of this information. Nothing provided on this site constitutes tax advice. Individuals should seek the advice of their own tax advisor for specific information regarding tax consequences of investments. Investments in securities entail risk and are not suitable for all investors. This site is not a recommendation nor an offer to sell (or solicitation of an offer to buy) securities in the United States or in any other jurisdiction.
References to indexes and benchmarks are hypothetical illustrations of aggregate returns and do not reflect the performance of any actual investment. Investors cannot invest in an index and do not reflect the deduction of the advisor’s fees or other trading expenses. There can be no assurance that current investments will be profitable. Actual realized returns will depend on, among other factors, the value of assets and market conditions at the time of disposition, any related transaction costs, and the timing of the purchase. Indexes and benchmarks may not directly correlate or only partially relate to portfolios managed by SL Advisors as they have different underlying investments and may use different strategies or have different objectives than portfolios managed by SL Advisors (e.g. The Alerian index is a group MLP securities in the oil and gas industries. Portfolios may not include the same investments that are included in the Alerian Index. The S & P Index does not directly relate to investment strategies managed by SL Advisers.)
This site may contain forward-looking statements relating to the objectives, opportunities, and the future performance of the U.S. market generally. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of such words as; “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “estimated,” “potential” and other similar terms. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, estimates with respect to financial condition, results of operations, and success or lack of success of any particular investment strategy. All are subject to various factors, including, but not limited to general and local economic conditions, changing levels of competition within certain industries and markets, changes in interest rates, changes in legislation or regulation, and other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory and technological factors affecting a portfolio’s operations that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Such statements are forward-looking in nature and involves a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and accordingly, actual results may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements. Prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or examples. None of SL Advisors LLC or any of its affiliates or principals nor any other individual or entity assumes any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, subsequent events or any other circumstances. All statements made herein speak only as of the date that they were made. r
Certain hyperlinks or referenced websites on the Site, if any, are for your convenience and forward you to third parties’ websites, which generally are recognized by their top level domain name. Any descriptions of, references to, or links to other products, publications or services does not constitute an endorsement, authorization, sponsorship by or affiliation with SL Advisors LLC with respect to any linked site or its sponsor, unless expressly stated by SL Advisors LLC. Any such information, products or sites have not necessarily been reviewed by SL Advisors LLC and are provided or maintained by third parties over whom SL Advisors LLC exercise no control. SL Advisors LLC expressly disclaim any responsibility for the content, the accuracy of the information, and/or quality of products or services provided by or advertised on these third-party sites.
All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be suitable or profitable for a client’s investment portfolio.
Past performance of the American Energy Independence Index is not indicative of future returns.
Leave a ReplyWant to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!