With stocks in Europe and the U.S. falling to 7-week lows and plenty of gloom around, investors may be hard-pressed to find cheer this Thanksgiving. But if you were forced, in between turkey bites, to list some reasons to be thankful for, we’re offering you five.
1. No Currency Crisis, Yet: Even as Europe grapples with a fiscal and banking sector crisis, the euro has shown surprising resilience. Axel Merk, the President of Merk Investments, points out that the euro has been one of the least volatile major currencies of 2011.
But Callum Henderson, the head of global FX strategy at Standard Chartered Bank, believes the euro will eventually tumble. "When the crisis attacks the core and that's Germany and France, you'll see foreigners repatriate their holdings of European investments and when that happens the euro will fall a lot further," he said.
2. Forced Reforms: Surging government bond yields have been a key factor behind the global stock selloff. But on the upside, bond market vigilantes are forcing reforms that politicians have failed to make for decades. In the case of Italy, political and sexual scandals couldn't end Berlusconi's 17-year rule, but the bond markets took care of that in a matter of weeks.
"The only language policy makers are listening to is the language of the bond market," says Merk. "In Europe, the bond markets are forcing policy makers to engage in dramatic reform. In the U.S., the bond market is behaving. As a result, we don't have any reform."
3. Lower Inflation: Commodities have not been spared in the flight from risk, and the lower prices are helping to ease inflation, especially in emerging markets. Shane Oliver, Chief Economist at AMP Capital in Australia, expects inflation in China to fall further to 4.5-5 percent in October, from a 37-month peak in July.
Renowned investor Jim Rogers has predicted a 1970s-style stagflation for the U.S. economy, citing the massive amount of money being printed by the Federal Reserve. Thankfully that hasn’t happened, yet.
4. China has Bullets: Investors were especially spooked after the PMI data on Wednesday showed that China's manufacturing sector is slowing. And analysts CNBC spoke to say the figures will prompt China's central bank to eventually ease monetary policy by cutting bank reserve requirement ratios (RRR).
The key takeaway: China still has ammunition to fire if its economic environment sours further. Fraser Howie, managing director at CLSA, believes the policy makers could announce a mixture of measures including boosting domestic consumption, easing monetary policy and unleashing fiscal stimulus.
5. There's Always Treasurys: If all hell breaks loose, there's always Treasurys as a safe haven. The latest stock market selloff has once again led to a rally in government bonds, with yields on the 10-year now at 1.88 percent. Some predict that the U.S. could face a Japan-style lost decade, which would boost the case for even lower yields.
Robert Kessler, CEO of The Kessler Companies, says Treasurys have outperformed commodities and stocks over a 30-year period, and he expects them to continue to do well as consumers and banks deleverage.