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Schwab’s Kleintop: 5 Developments Investors Missed While Watching Greece

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Investors focused on events in Greece over the past week may have missed unrelated developments that could be at least as influential on the direction of global stock markets in the second half, according to Jeffrey Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Charles Schwab.

Greek voters on Sunday decisively rejected austerity measures following the failure of Athens and its creditors to reach an agreement.

“In our view, the negative consequences are likely to be limited outside of Greece,” Kleintop said Monday.

Separately, Bill Gross of Janus Investments suggested that Greece’s exit from the euro might be the “best-case scenario.”

Kleintop laid out five developments that some market watchers likely overlooked in the runup to the weekend referendum vote.

For one, the eurozone’s Purchasing Managers Index, a measure of sentiment among manufacturing firms in Europe, went up again in June to 52.5. This metric has been steadily rising since November, Kleintop said, and is not showing any sign of negative spillover from the Greek drama.

Meanwhile in China, the national average new home price rose in May for the first time in more than a year, following steady improvement in the magnitude of price declines this year, Kleintop reported, citing the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Worried about falling housing prices in China, investors have recently been focused on a potential property bubble and overbuilding leading to “ghost cities,” he said.

Kleintop also cited a Baker Hughes report that the oil rig count in the U.S. rose for first time since December. He said the stabilization in oil drilling could mean that June marked a near-term top for global oil prices.

A renewed downturn in oil may further support solid consumer spending in the eurozone, which reacted favorably to last year’s falling oil price.

Kleintop said Britain’s Office for National Statistics had reported that the U.K.’s inflation rate rose above zero in May following the economy’s brush with deflation in April. This increase, the first in four months, may indicate receding risk of deflation after two years of falling prices, Kleintop said.

He noted that a new YouGov/Citi survey of inflation expectations showed a rebound in June in British consumers’ outlook for prices over the next year, rising 0.4 percentage points from May to 1.4%.

Also, he said, the British currency has been rising against the U.S. dollar in recent months as fears of deflation have receded.

Finally, Kleintop said the Bank of Japan’s recent Tankan survey revealed that Japanese business sentiment had improved to levels unseen since before the economy fell into recession last year. The poll found that big companies planned to increase capital expenditure at the fastest pace in a decade.

— Check out Sonders, Gross, More: What to Expect in Second Half of 2015 on ThinkAdvisor.