Last week, Composite PMIs came in below expectations across continental Europe and in China. Stagflation is the fear in Europe, while deflation is the fear in China. Neither public sector appears ready to supply the liquidity required to ignite animal spirits within their respective economies and financial markets. Regarding the Composite PMI data specifically, only four (Japan, Russia, Brazil, and US) of the 13 economies that have reported thus far posted MoM accelerations in August. Only Japan, China, India, Russia, Brazil, and the US reported figures greater than 50, indicating expansion. Europe was a noteworthy laggard with Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Eurozone, and UK all slowing sequentially to sub-50 readings, indicating contraction.
It is now fashionable to make the short-USA/long-RoW (rest of world) call, citing valuation differentials, but we disagree with that view. Valuation is not a catalyst for market developments, Rather, valuation merely acts as an accelerant when flows reverse. FWIW, we do not believe valuations matter all the time; in fact, most of the time valuation is irrelevant because the overwhelming majority of investors cannot take risk in accordance the time horizons (3, 5, 10 years) that valuation metrics are most instructive on. Retail investors generally operate on short to medium-term time horizons because of FEAR and FOMO; institutional investors generally operate on short to medium-term time horizons because of career risk.