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Money Moves Markets

PMIs weaken on schedule; earnings next?

June 27, 2023 by Simon Ward

DM flash results released last week suggest that the global manufacturing PMI new orders index fell sharply in June, having moved sideways in April and May following a Q1 recovery – see chart 1. 

Chart 1

Global Manufacturing PMI New Orders, & G7 + E7 Real Narrow Money (% 6m). Source: Refinitiv Datastream.

The relapse is consistent with a decline in global six-month real narrow money momentum from a local peak in December 2022. A recovery in real money momentum during H2 2022 had presaged the Q1 PMI revival. 

Real narrow money momentum is estimated to have fallen again in May, based on partial data, suggesting further PMI weakness into late 2023. 

The global earnings revisions ratio has been contemporaneously correlated with manufacturing PMI new orders historically but remained at an above-average level in June, widening a recent divergence – chart 2. 

Chart 2

Global Manufacturing PMI New Orders, & MSCI ACWI Earnings Revisions Ratio. Source: Refinitiv Datastream.

Based on monetary trends, a reconvergence is more likely to occur via weaker earnings revisions than a PMI rebound. 

Charts 3 and 4 show that revisions resilience has been driven by cyclical sectors – in particular, IT, industrials and consumer discretionary. Notable weakness has been confined to the materials sector. Cyclical sectors may be at greater risk of downgrades if the global revisions ratio heads south. 

Defensive sector revisions have underperformed recently but are likely to be less sensitive to economic weakness. 

Chart 3

MSCI ACWI Earnings Revisions Ratios - Cyclical Sectors. Source: Refinitiv Datastream.

Chart 4

MSCI ACWI Earnings Revisions Ratios - Defensive Sectors. Source: Refinitiv Datastream.

The positive divergence of earnings revisions from the PMI may reflect firms’ ability to push through price increases to compensate for slower volumes. The deviation of the global revisions ratio (rescaled) from manufacturing PMI new orders – i.e. the gap between the blue and black lines in chart 2 – has displayed a weak positive correlation with the PMI output price index historically (contemporaneous correlation coefficient = +0.41). 

Any earnings support from pricing gains is now going into reverse: the output price index has crashed from an April 2022 peak of 63.8 to 49.8 in May, with DM flash results suggesting a further fall last month.

NS Partners Ltd.
June 27th, 2023