Global PMI: The Trend is Your Friend
U.S. Global Investors
By Frank Holmes
July 6, 2012
Manufacturing around the world weakened in June, according to the JP Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Its reading of 48.9 was the lowest in three years and the first dip below 50 since September 2011. The current reading is also below the three-month moving average for the second month in a row. As you can see on the chart, PMI crossed below the three-month in May.
While Europe, China and the U.S. were primarily responsible for the slowed activity, we believe the trend is your friend. In April, global PMI crossed above the three-month moving average, and historically, when a “cross-above” has happened, it’s signaled higher prices for many commodities. Take a look at the chart below which shows the following:
Ninety percent of the time, copper rose 10 percent over the following three months. Eighty-five percent of the time, West Texas Intermediate oil has also increased. Its median three-month change has been an increase of 11 percent.
Materials and energy were also positively affected, with modest results: When the PMI crosses above the three-month average, 70 percent of the time, the S&P 500 Materials Index rose, with a median return of about 3 percent. The S&P 500 Energy Index had a median three-month return of about 5 percent, with an 80 percent chance of the three-month change being positive.
Using history as a guide, this suggests that by the end of July, we could see strength in these commodities and energy and materials stocks. Although volatility and uncertainty rule the markets these days, we believe that the world’s central bankers are taking note of slowed activity and will act if deemed necessary.
All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.
The Purchasing Manager’s Index is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI index is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment. The S&P 500 Energy Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the energy sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the material sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
(c) U.S. Global Investors