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3 Things Under the Radar This Week

Investing.com - Here’s a look at three things that were under the radar this past week.

1. Inflation, Stocks Prices Seen Slipping

Inflation will ebb and job prospects will improve, but stock prices aren’t likely to follow, according to a recent regional Federal Reserve survey.

The New York Fed’s May survey of consumer expectations showed that consumers expect inflation to decline in the shorter and longer term.

Over the next year, prices are anticipated to rise 2.5%, down from April’s reading of 2.6%. Over three years the outlook is for inflation of 2.6%, down from 2.7% recorded the month before. Both readings are above the Fed’s inflation target of 2%.

“Median inflation uncertainty -- or the uncertainty expressed regarding future inflation outcomes -- increased at both the one-year and three-year horizon,” the New York Fed said.

Looking to the labor market, the perceived probability of finding a job among those unemployed rose to 61.5% in May from 59.3% in April. That’s the highest level since June 2013.

Those with household incomes of more than $50,000 were the most optimistic of gaining new employment.

The percentage of those who expect stock prices to be higher 12 months from now ticked down to 40.8% from 41%.

2. Gold (and Recession Talk) Back in Fashion

Gold, Gold, Gold. The yellow metal has returned to the list of fashionable investments, rounding off the week with its highest close since May last year, as Wall Street sounds the alarm on a possible Trump-spurred recession.

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said he is "certainly long gold" as he predicted a 40% to 50% chance of a U.S. recession within the next six months and a 65% chance of that happening in the next 12 months, in a webcast to clients late Thursday.

The smart money backs Gundlach's bullish call on the precious metal as gold funds, typically bought during times of uncertainty, saw the largest inflow in more than two years last week, data from EPFR showed. S&P 500 funds, meanwhile, saw outflows of $10.3 billion last week.

Gundlach highlighted outgoing trade tensions as one of the reasons for his ominous outlook on the U.S. economy.

And he's not alone.

JPMorgan’s chief quant strategist Marko Kolanovic warned earlier this week that President Donald Trump’s trade battles have cost U.S. companies trillions and could trigger a slump that would likely be dubbed the "Trump recession."

Echoes of a looming recession grew louder as the week progressed, with Morgan Stanley joining in. The bank warned that its Business Conditions Index fell by the most on record in June to a level of 13, nearing levels not seen since the slump of 2008.

Against the backdrop of souring sentiment on growth, investors have raised bets that the Fed will swoop in to save the day. This, too, will keep gold in vogue, according to Ross Norman, chief executive at bullion dealer Sharps Pixley.

Investors are getting ahead of the curve by buying gold in expectation that the Fed will have to reverse its previous tightening policy, by extension pressuring the dollar and lifting gold, Norman added.

3. Oil Output at Record Highs and Expected to Slow Too? Ask the EIA

It's the keeper of all energy statistics in the United States and the market's final arbiter of supply-demand for U.S. oil and gas. Yet some of the Energy Information Administration's recent data and estimates have resulted in more than a few disbelieving traders and analysts .

In its monthly Short-term Energy Outlook issued June 11, the EIA forecasts in a table that 2019 domestic crude production will be at 12.32 million barrels per day, down 1% from its May estimate.

But in the preface of the same document, the agency said it expects production to continue setting new record highs in 2019 and 2020, culminating with an average of 13.5 million bpd by end of 2020.

“Either U.S. oil producers are producing a lot more oil than they say they are, or imports and exports in the reports are being miscounted,” said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, who’s typically bullish on oil.

It hasn’t been an easy time for oil bulls, who’ve seen the lofty 40% annual gain in crude at April’s highs slashed to around 15%, partly because upward adjustments made by the EIA to its weekly dataset on oil. For the week to June 7, it estimated a record high production of 12.4 million bpd. It also cited a 2-million-barrel build at the Cushing, Okla. storage hub for U.S. crude -- considered unseasonable for this time of year.

“We still believe that we should see draws even with the increasing supply at Cushing,” Flynn said. “The only thing we have to fear is the EIA adjustments itself.”

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