Cover story: Regardless of how U.S.-China trade talks play out, the global system of trade is being realigned as a decades-long drive toward free trade across borders begins to reverse and globalization increasingly becomes overwhelmed by populism, nationalism, and protectionism.
Features: 1) Positive on BA: Previous crashes involving the aerospace giant’s planes have sent shares down, only for the market to see them rise again, precedents today’s shareholders can look to as a reason not to panic about the recent Ethiopian Airlines Max jet crash—though they shouldn’t count on a quick recovery; 2) Positive on NUE, STLD, X, CMC: Shares of the four leading U.S. steel producers trade well below historical averages, and given the industry’s volatile history, investors should be cautious on the stocks—among potential catalysts is the fact the U.S. is short of steel production and needs imports to satisfy demand, making imports the price setters; 3) Members of Barron’s 2019 energy roundtable say certain integrated oil-and-gas companies are poised to benefit as projects long in the planning finally come on-line, and they don’t foresee a big surge this year in oil prices—though $60 crude shouldn’t hamper well-managed companies.
Tech Trader: Cautious on SQ: Company was among the first to see an opportunity helping small businesses accept credit-card payments, but its move into lending, cryptocurrencies, and software raises the question of whether it should leave its roots behind and become part software provider, part bank.
Trader: Though much of the recent economic data has been weaker than expected, Torsten Sløk of DB says he sees very early signs of a possible recovery in both the economy and corporate earnings; Solar demand is back on the upswing, and solar stocks have already responded—TAN is up 30% this year, nearly erasing all of its 2018 drop; There are several factors working in favor of small-cap stocks, which still look cheap relative to large-caps, says Lori Calvasina of RBC Capital Markets.
Profile: Natasha Sibley, co-manager of the $250M AlphaGen Castor Fund at JHG believes that European stock dividends are trading too cheaply and that a surer way to make money amid the political uncertainty is to capitalize on the discrepancy between the price of European stock dividends.
European Trader: Positive on Phoenix Group Holdings: Brexit-weary investors in European stocks might want to take refuge in the firm—which acquires closed lines of pensions and life insurance and winds down the books of business—whose shares have limited downside and the potential for lasting income.
Emerging Markets: After a strong January, emerging market stocks are once again underperforming their U.S. peers, but conditions remain ripe for a further rally in the sector as macro risks that have frightened investors appear to recede.
Commodities: Oil is among the biggest commodity gainers in 2019, with prices up by more than 20%—but cuts may run head-on into the effects of increased U.S. shale production and more output from other sources.
Streetwise: Columnist Jack Hough comments on the recent college-admission scandal, noting that anyone with a reasonable shot of completing a college degree should do so—but the fact that so many kids will lose money on a product that ought to be cheap is the real scandal about which people should be concerned.