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(Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,088 words, ~ 4 minutes.)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The S&P 500 has enjoyed a strong year and equities around the globe have delivered solid returns, but every one of the world's major stock markets has underperformed 2019's grand champ: Greek government debt.
Why it matters: Long-dated Greek sovereign bonds have been one of the best-performing assets in the world in 2019, having delivered returns more than double the S&P 500 through Tuesday.
Background: Left for dead after a near-collapse of the economy, a debt and currency crisis, and a series of bailouts as recently as 2015, Greece is now so attractive investors are demanding less of a premium to hold Greek government bonds than comparable debt from the United States.
What they're saying: "Greece appears to have put the bailout era behind it," Joseph Trevisani, senior analyst at FXStreet, tells Axios in an email.
While the yield on Greek bonds is low by historical standards, it is still significantly higher than similar government bonds from other countries in the eurozone and is attracting major inflows thanks to investors' continued search for yield.
What's happening: Thanks to the ECB's recently restarted bond-buying stimulus program, declining inflation and debt, and a new center-right government in the country, Greece's 10-year bonds have seen yields fall by more than 300 basis points year to date.
With the market's current appetite for risk, the bonds are poised to continue their outperformance, Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex, tells Axios.
Greece's strong performance in 2019 comes after 12 rounds of tax increases, spending cuts and austerity reforms from 2010 to 2016 that triggered nationwide protests and a threat to leave the eurozone and euro currency.
By the numbers:
The U.S. services sector roared back in October, with the ISM's non-manufacturing report jumping to 54.7, up from 52.6 the month before, and beating expectations.
The report's details also were strong:
Why it matters: The services sector makes up almost 70% of the U.S. economy and has been consistently trending lower, following the manufacturing sector for most of this year.
Shares of Uber closed down almost 10% on Tuesday even though the company beat analysts' expectations on earnings and revenue.
What's happening: After years of ravenous buying, Wall Street turned bearish on new unprofitable companies and even investors' newfound risk appetite hasn't been enough to reverse the trend.
By the numbers: An S&P index tracking U.S. companies worth over $1 billion that have IPO’d or spun off within the last five years, has underperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 12% over the last 6 months.
The big picture: Before this year, unprofitable had been exactly what investors wanted.
The bottom line: Bennett notes there have been growing "signs of trouble in tech paradise, with Uber and Lyft’s post-IPO struggles and WeWork’s 'failure to launch' highlighting the potential challenge of transferring private valuations onto the public stage."
Investors have cheered largely better-than-expected company earnings in the third quarter, but those beats are masking an ugly truth, UBS investment bank equity strategists wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.
The big picture: "There is NO debate on S&P 500 forward earnings: a contraction appears imminent."
Between the lines: There were only 68 companies in the S&P 500 with negative forward earnings at the beginning of the year but today 164 S&P 500 companies are predicting lower earnings — almost a third of the companies in the index.
U.S. consumers are getting more responsible with credit cards, data shows. Though Americans increased spending in the second quarter, they are opening fewer new accounts and fewer people with bad credit are getting credit cards.
Editor's note: Story number 4 was clarified to show the equity strategists were from UBS investment bank (not UBS). Also, the third item has been corrected to reference the S&P U.S. IPO & Spinoff Index (not the S&P U.S. Spinoff Index).