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3 Things Under the Radar This Week

Investing.com - Here are three things that flew under the radar of the market this week.

1. Sell in May if You Believe the 3 Cs?

The near-term outlook for stocks is hardly encouraging as a record number of investors are betting against a swashbuckling summer, according to the latest Bank of America Fund Manager Survey.

A record 34% of investors are hedged for a sharp decline in equity markets over the next three months, the BofA survey for the period of May 3-9 indicated.

Worryingly for bulls, the record bets on a decline in equity markets did not price in the prospect of a U.S.-China trade-deal breakdown, according to BofA Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett.

The turn in sentiment comes as traders see little chance that the 3Cs - credit, consumer, China - will surprise to the upside, Hartnett said

Looking further down the road, there are few willing to bet on an imminent recession, though some are expecting global growth to stutter over the next 12 months.

Of the 250 fund managers polled (with a cumulative $687 billion in assets under management), 5% expect global growth to weaken over the next year, while 66% don't expect a global recession until the second half of 2020 or later.

The survey also pointed out that traders have sought refuge in tech stocks during the rocky month of May, so far, while negative bets on European equities have continued to prove popular.

2. Are You Cool, S&P 500?

Just how mainstream is cannabis? In the business world it’s mainstream enough for some the biggest companies in the world to come knocking, according to a major cannabis producer.

Canadian company Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) reported earnings this week and results came in ahead of expectations, helping shares.

“As we see cannabis disrupting a number of other industries, we have been inundated with contacts from Fortune 500 companies who are interested in exploring partnerships with Tilray,” President and CEO Brendan Kennedy said. "And it's a range of companies from a broad variety of industries."

Those industries are the obvious ones, like tobacco and beverages, but also consumer packing (CPG) companies and retailers.

“So, obviously, lots of other tobacco companies are looking at the industry, lots of other CPG companies are looking at the cannabis industry from all different categories within CPG, and we're also starting to have lots of conversations with U.S. retailers who are interested in carrying CBD products in the second half of this year,” Kennedy said. “Some of the conversations are focused around carrying our products and other conversations revolve around essentially contract-manufacturing some of their in-house brands using Tilray-sourced cannabidiol.”

3. Leading Indicator Gauge Echoes 2009

It’s never a good sign when numbers start looking reminiscent of 2009, but that’s what Charles Schwab’s Liz Ann Sonders spied this week.

The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a measure of future economic activity and it did not bode well.

The OECD’s U.S. Composite Leading Indicator (CLI) fell 0.2 in March to 98.8, which is the weakest level since November 2009, Sonders pointed out.

“(M)ost other times, historically, this level was during recessions” with exceptions in the late ‘60s and mid-‘90s, she tweeted.


The CLI is basically a single indicator with several different forward-looking inputs (leading) designed to anticipate economic turning points.

“The composite leading indicator is designed to provide early signals of turning points in business cycles showing fluctuation of the economic activity around its long-term potential level,” the OECD says. “CLIs show short-term economic movements in qualitative rather than quantitative terms.”

The components that make up the U.S. CLI are housing starts, durable goods net new orders, the NYSE Composite index with 2015 as a baseline, the University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index, weekly manufacturing hours worked and the spread of interest rates from the Fed.

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