Top 5 Charts Of The Week: Investor Confidence, Global Trade, Asian Currencies, US Labor Market

Here are some of the standout economic and markets charts on my radar. I aim to pick a good mix of charts covering key global macro trends, and ones which highlight risks and opportunities across asset classes. Hope you enjoy!

1. Institutional Investor Confidence - Panic Mode: The January reading of the State Street investor confidence index for North America entered into panic-mode territory. This is the lowest reading on record. I will be covering this topic in more detail in my weekly report on Friday (quite a bit to talk about).

(Click on image to enlarge)

2. Euphoria to Dysphoria: Similarly, my own Euphoriameter (a composite measure of investor sentiment) has undertaken a big reset from extreme euphoria in January last year, to mild dysphoria in December. As I noted elsewhere, the market has a lot of bad news priced in...

3. Global Trade:  The December readings for the Global Shipping Container Throughput Index showed rather ho-hum growth figures. Not accelerating, and *not* collapsing. Looking at the relative performance of global shipping stocks, they've largely priced in this benign outcome (rather than trading in a way which would imply further deterioration).

4. Asian FX Index - Breakout:  Following today's Fed announcements (rates pause and "balance sheet flexibility") the equal-weighted Asian FX Index from our latest Global Cross Asset Market Monitor has officially broken up through its 200-day moving average. Astute observers will note though that the writing was already on the wall for this one, and for a number of reasons my view is Asian currencies & EMFX are well positioned for some arguably well-overdue outperformance. The Fed catalyst only adds to the case.

5. US Labor Market Confidence: It's well known that employment statistics are typically lagging indicators, but with the latest consumer confidence numbers I wanted to highlight just how bullish the consumer is on the jobs market. As the chart says: small businesses are having trouble filling jobs, and consumers are saying it's easy to find a job. All I have to say on this one is watch out for inflation if we *don't* get a recession because capacity is (or at least was) tight... 

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