15 March 2018 · 2 min read

2018 Earnings forecasts: US stable, modest declines in Europe

Watch for ebbing economic momentum as survey data peaks

Despite the increase in equity market volatility, there has been little follow-through to economic fundamentals to date. US earnings forecasts have stabilised and are indicating mid-teens profits growth for 2018, of which approximately one-half appears to be due to US tax reform. US economic surprise also remains relatively strong. In Europe however, unweighted earnings estimates have continued to fall, if modestly, and perhaps more importantly here economic surprise indices have turned sharply lower. We view this as partly due to Brexit uncertainty in the UK and a rising EUR exchange rate in continental Europe.

Elaine Reynolds
8 March 2018

Exploration Watch - Trinidad: New energy to a low cost, low risk region

Trinidad is a well-established oil and gas producing region, with continuous production since the first field came onstream in 1902. The hydrocarbon sector has been predominantly producing gas since the 1990s and offshore gas development is dominated by the majors: BP, Shell, BHP and EOG resources. This has created an opportunity for independent companies to operate in the onshore oil fields located in the south of the island. Columbus Energy Resources (CERP), Range Resources, Touchstone Exploration and Trinity Exploration and Production all operate producing onshore oil fields, while Trinity also operates offshore in the Columbus Basin. Recent management changes or new funding at these companies has resulted in a boost to activity across assets that offer low cost, low risk development, although there are challenges in producing from older well stock in geologically complex structures.

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Elaine Reynolds
20 February 2018

Barents Sea: greater success in 2018?

One of the most high profile wells to be drilled in 2017 was Statoil’s Korpfjell exploration well in the Barents Sea. The well found only a small non-commercial volume of gas, and contributed to a year of disappointing results for the region. In 2018 there are no similar multi-billion barrel potential prospects scheduled to be drilled, however we do see a sustained commitment to the Barents, with seven exploration wells confirmed and options for a further five wells announced to date. Statoil and Lundin remain as key explorers in the region, but AkerBP will also make a major contribution to the number of wells drilled, as it plans to operate or partner in six wells in the Barents, out of its total Norwegian exploration programme of 12 wells in 2018.

Elaine Reynolds
7 February 2018

Lower break even for Johan Sverdrup

With the world class development almost 70% complete, estimated costs have been reduced and the resource estimate increased, bringing the break even costs down to below $15/bbl for Phase 1 of the Statoilt operated project, offshore Norway.

6 February 2018 · 3 min read

Volatility spike: Investors have only themselves to blame

The only mystery is why markets were so placid in the first place

Perhaps controversially, we view the intellectual horsepower being consumed by the legions of writers commenting on every second’s movement in markets over the last few days not dissimilar to the wasted electricity consumed to validate speculative bitcoin transactions. Both activities are in our view of relatively modest economic value, even if there is currently heightened demand. There have been, in a historical context, only modest declines from the highs for major stock markets, albeit concentrated in the stronger local currency year to date performers of the US and Japan. In volatile times, investors must remain focused on the long-term outlook.

1 February 2018 · 3 min read

Rising bond yields: Mini-drama perhaps, but not a crisis

Rising yields a ‘known’ risk – declining economic momentum would be a bigger concern

This week’s modest declines in equity markets may be the largest of the last nine months but that is only an illustration of just how far equity market volatility has fallen. The narrative of rising bond yields and inflation expectations is being used to explain the market declines. This is understandable and we ourselves have previously highlighted the anomalously low level of global bond yields. However, rising yields are a known risk for 2018 and unlikely to create a major sell-off in equity markets by themselves. We would be more concerned if there was firm evidence of a meaningful slowdown in economic momentum. Such evidence is - for now - largely absent in either Europe, the US or China.

Maxim Jacobs
30 January 2018

Edison KOL Call


The seventh in our KOL series, Edison sponsors an interview with Dr. Nanette Silverberg, Chief of Pediatric Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Health System. The conversation featured a discussion on emerging Acne and dermatologic treatments.

18 January 2018 · 2 min read

Earnings: The real Trump bump

Median per share earnings upgrade of 4% for S&P 500 following tax reform

Analysts’ profits forecasts have edged modestly higher in the first month of the year in continental Europe and the UK, as would be expected during a period of above-consensus global economic data. In the US however, tax reform has added to the cyclical economic strength, pushing median 2018 profits forecasts dramatically higher, up 4% over the past month alone. This represents 2/3rds of our total expected benefit to US earnings from tax reform. Earnings revisions data supports our strategic view of strong momentum carrying over into Q1/Q2 2018. However we also note that economic surprise indices may have peaked in January and combined with forecast rate increases, markets may yet tread water as the year progresses.

20 December 2017 · 3 min read

Canaries in the monetary coal mine?

High profile difficulties in a hot corporate debt market are intriguing

Steinhoff and HNA Group are from different regions and sectors. Yet they are making the headlines for the wrong reasons as the market raises questions over their debt sustainability. What these firms do have in common is that have pursued a policy of debt-financed acquisitions during this cycle. Now, LIBOR rates are pushing markedly higher. These signals of tightening credit bear watching in our view, even if they are presently not a cause for immediate alarm. It is however our important to be alert to early signs of a turn in credit availability. This is likely to first occur at the margin of the credit risk spectrum, as in 2007/8.

14 December 2017 · 5 min read

Market volatility unsustainably low as bonds and equities diverge

Bonds and equities appear to be simultaneously pricing two scenarios – so why is volatility so low?

There is now a growing disconnect between low global government bond yields which appear to indicate that the global recovery of 2017 may prove transient and high equity market valuations which discount an extended period of strong profits growth. In addition, starting from Q1 17 there has been an astonishing and sustained decline in equity market volatility. While there is nothing which suggests a market regime change is imminent, we continue to believe that re-normalisation of monetary policy is likely to result in the re-normalisation of volatility, bond yields and equity valuations over the 2018-19 period. This is not in our view a good time to be seeking to maintain returns by increasing portfolio risk.