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(Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,065 words, ~ 4 minutes.)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Investors have been basking in the glow of the "phase one" trade deal between the U.S. and China, but farmers, who are supposed to be the main beneficiaries of the agreement, have reason to be wary, experts say.
What's happening: U.S. farmers have been suffering this year. Chapter 12 bankruptcies have risen 24% over the previous year and farm debt is projected to hit a record high $416 billion.
What we're hearing: That's "definitely not the normal," Farm Bureau chief economist John Newton tells Axios.
The big picture: Newton says the amount of U.S. agriculture buys from China that Trump has cited — $40 billion to $50 billion — would go a long way toward getting farmers "back to a level playing field," along with the revamped NAFTA deal. But, analysts have expressed some doubts about the reality of such figures.
Between the lines: Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products totaled $24 billion in 2017 and peaked at $29 billion in 2013, according to U.S. government data. Imports fell to $9 billion last year as a result of the trade war.
The bottom line: The trade deal, which is supposed to be signed in a matter of weeks, is largely dependent on China agreeing to meet that $40 billion to $50 billion metric. If the deal falls apart it's likely Trump will again escalate the trade war.
The Dow joined the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq in touching an all-time high on Monday, as U.S. equities continued to roar higher.
By the numbers: The U.S. has been outperforming other global markets for much of the year, but international bourses are starting to pick up the pace.
Chinese companies are taking an increasingly larger share of the Fortune Global 500, an annual ranking of the world’s top 500 companies by revenue.
What's happening: In 2008, China had just 29 companies on the Global 500 and none in the top 10. This year, the list includes 119 Chinese companies that have a combined revenue of nearly $8 trillion, which represents almost a quarter of the revenue generated by all the companies on the list.
Yes, but: The U.S. remains on top, with more than 24.2% of the companies on the Global 500 and 28.7% of the total revenue generated by companies on the list. It's also home to the largest company on the list, Walmart.
Municipal bonds are on pace to see the highest inflows on record, data provider Lipper notes, surpassing the previous high set in 2009.
What's happening: Not only has the asset class almost surpassed the previous record already, but by mid-year, 2019's inflows were also "more than 10 times the amount of new investor money gathered over the whole of 2018," notes Mark Marinella, a portfolio manager at Capital Group.
What it means: The buying spree has been prompted by the Fed's rate cutting cycle, which has reduced the attractiveness of other bonds that don't carry munis' tax-friendly status, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Lipper senior research analyst Pat Keon points out in a recent post.
Why you'll hear about this again: "Even with muni yields near multiyear lows, after-tax yields have continued to exceed those of taxable bonds for anyone whose marginal tax rate is 24% or higher — well below the top tax rate of 37%," Marinella says.
Go deeper: Municipal bonds are 2019's hottest asset
Despite a stronger-than-expected jobs report on Friday, the Conference Board's Employment Trends Index, which follows every U.S. payrolls report, decreased in October, with negative contributions from seven of its eight components.
Marijuana companies may be in serious trouble, as their declining stock prices are putting the cash-reliant businesses in a bind.
The big picture: Those expansion plans are being put on hold these days, as capital is drying up quickly. Per WSJ...