The most important number in finance is moving higher once again...
This is big news. This number spent 2017 in freefall. It declined a full 10%. Now, that trend appears to be over.
It's once again moving higher... And that should continue, as I’ll show.
It could hit multiyear highs in the process. And that could affect nearly every investment around the globe.
Let me explain...
So what is the most important number in finance?
It's not interest rates or the unemployment rate. The Federal Reserve doesn't control it. It's completely market-driven, and beyond the thumb of the U.S. government.
The most important number in finance is the value of the U.S. dollar.
The U.S. dollar has a value just like everything else. It's measured against a basket of global currencies and affects just about everything in global finance.
A falling dollar, for example, makes life easier for U.S. companies selling overseas. It also boosts returns for U.S. investors putting money to work outside the country.
That worked great last year. German stocks, for example, jumped 13% in euro terms last year. They were up 28% in U.S.-dollar terms, thanks to a 10% decline in the dollar.
The falling dollar had a huge effect on global finance last year. But the currency staged a major reversal in recent weeks. Take a look...
The recent rally has been strong. The dollar is up nearly 6% from its February bottom – a big move for a currency.
This should continue, too.
You see, the dollar's recent rally came off a major sentiment bottom. Futures traders hit extreme bearish levels in recent weeks. The chart below shows it...
The chart shows the commitment of traders (COT) report for speculative bets on the dollar. This is what real futures traders are doing with their money. And you can see that their bets hit a multiyear low recently.
Specifically, the COT bets on the dollar fell to a multiyear bottom in November. They've come up as the dollar rallied. But futures traders are still bearish... And that’s a contrarian signal that the dollar's rally could continue.
We've seen similar negative levels 13 times over the past decade. Twelve of those 13 instances led to gains over the next year, with typical upside of 8%. And peak gains topped out at 20%... so the recent rally could be just the beginning.
This is big news.
A further 10%-plus dollar rally could be a boon for U.S. companies buying goods abroad... but it'll also be a headwind for investment in foreign markets.
The value of the U.S. dollar is the most important number in finance. It's currently rallying for the first time in months. And history says that should continue.
That makes this a major trend to watch for the rest of this year.
A strong dollar could lead to headwinds for some foreign investments, while supporting many U.S. companies. It's another reason to stay onboard with the "Melt Up" in U.S. stocks... Learn what Steve's indicators are saying about the U.S. market today, right here: What the Early Warning Indicators Say Now.
We pay close attention to investor sentiment. As Steve says, "It's the last, best way to outperform the markets." And right now, it's telling us something important... Read more here: The Last Great Buying opportunity of the 'Melt Up.'
A rising U.S. dollar could be a tailwind for U.S. companies. And my colleague Dave Eifrig believes this U.S.-based company stands to benefit as businesses invest in their infrastructure...
HIGHS AND LOWS
NEW HIGHS OF NOTE LAST WEEK
American Express (AXP)... financial powerhouse
E-Trade Financial (ETFC)... online brokerage
Microsoft (MSFT)... "digital utility"
Adobe Systems (ADBE)... software
Shutterfly (SFLY)... digital photos and prints
Netflix (NFLX)... streaming "game changer"
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)... "cord cutting" winner
Electronic Arts (EA)... video games
Callaway Golf (ELY)... golf equipment
Vail Resorts (MTN)... ski resorts
Tiffany (TIF)... high-end jewelry
Nike (NKE)... "one of the strongest brands in the world"
Ralph Lauren (RL)... iconic clothing brand
Boston Beer (SAM)... Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea
Costco Wholesale (COST)... membership-only bulk retailer
Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI)... discount retailer
W.W. Grainger (GWW)... safety gloves, ladders, motors, and more
O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY)... auto parts
J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT)... trucking
CSX (CSX)... railroads
Union Pacific (UNP)... railroads
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A)... oil and gas
BP (BP)... oil and gas
ConocoPhillips (COP)... oil and gas
Hess (HES)... oil and gas
Rio Tinto (RIO)... "World Dominator" in mining
AstraZeneca (AZN)... Big Pharma
Boston Scientific (BSX)... pacemakers, catheters, and stents
Align Technology (ALGN)... "invisible" orthodontics
NEW LOWS OF NOTE LAST WEEK
JC Penney (JCP)... "veering toward the abyss"
Coty (COTY)... cosmetics
Campbell Soup (CPB)... soups, sauces, and more
Sanderson Farms (SAFM)... poultry
Alaska Air (ALK)... airline