Stephen Pope

Macroeconomic Strategist

Stephen Pope is the Managing Partner of Spotlight Group. He has worked in the world of finance since 1982 and has performed duties as a market making trader, salesman and analyst. Stephen brings this wealth of experience gained at American, British, French, and Japanese institutions to bear in his analytical work.

He traded Euro Dollar Bonds for Japanese, Scandinavian and Supranational names, using risk weighted analysis to hedge the trading books. As a trader he often had telephone calls from Tokyo in the early hours to make prices for Far East clients.

He has a broad base of client service and his career progressed rapidly as he rejected a “smile and dial” approach in favour of methodical client profiling and building an open exchange of information with traders. This led to actively scanning the markets for “Rich/Cheap” analysis for relative value trades that could maximise portfolio switches either in a similar maturity or via modified duration weighted yield curve plays.

This progress led him to being a leading figure in the world of central banks bond sales as he advised national agencies such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Bahrain Ministry of Finance, The Central Bank of Kuwait, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Central Bank of Oman,  State General Reserve Fund of Oman, Bank of Botswana and South African Reserve Bank.

Portfolio management by state authorities actively uses the repo market. In this area, Stephen provided all clients with an active list of repo opportunities, especially highlighted issues that were on “Special” as against just “General Collateral”. Indeed, he brokered the first repo trade with the Central Bank of Iran and Nordic Investment Bank.

In an active career clients have been covered in all geographic regions and time zones embracing 36 nations.

As an analyst/strategist Stephen was a regular speaker at investor meetings and conferences as well as a much-sought guest on global financial television: ABC (Australia), ABC (U.S.), Al-Jazeera, BBC, Bloomberg, BNN (Canada), CNBC, CNN, Fox, New Delhi Markets, Reuters and Saxo Bank TV.  With Reuters Stephen was the first guest to be interviewed for a “live” broadcast into The People’s Republic of China.

In addition to, Stephen is also currently writing for Forbes and previously for Saxo Bank. His insight into the tobacco industry is regularly used by The Winston Salem Journal.  On the radio he is a regular guest on the Resonance FM programme that covers the hedge fund industry, “The Naked Short Club”.

Stephen gained his BA (HONS) Economics (II.I) from the University of Warwick in 1982 and his MBA from Henley Management College in 1995.

He gained professional examination awards from the Association of International Bond Dealers (Now called the International Capital Markets Association) in 1988, is a member of the Financial Conduct Authority and has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

He currently lectures as an adjunct Professor with the University of Maryland in the field of Business Management and Economics. In addition, he is a guest lecturer for Economics at the London Academy of Trading and the London School of Wealth Management as well as training summer interns and new graduate recruits at leading commercial and investment banks in Europe and the U.S.


Gold Still In Focus

Gold and U.S debt levels are highly correlated The path of U.S. debt cannot go higher forever There may be a lag until Q3, however, I fully expect prices to shoot higher Following on from last week’s analysis paper on gold, I thought it useful to stay with this subject as one has to consider … Continued


Gold at Month High on Trump’s Tariff

Gold offers a safe haven as the threat of a trade war leave markets in a malaise. Gold prices jumped in the past week with the precious metal up nearly 2.7% to trade at $1347.20/Troy Oz at the New York close on Friday. The move of +$19.80 or +1.49% came amid continued weakness in broader … Continued


Bitcoin Embracing The Death Cross

Bitcoin Dollar slips on South Korean raids Spot has crossed under the 200-day moving average Now look for the 50-day moving average to do the same The process of mining in New York state just became more expensive Brace yourself for more excessive downside movement Bitcoin has fallen dramatically against the U.S. Dollar so that … Continued


Earnings and Tariffs Pressure Dollar

The Dollar slips on soft wages and the Trump tariff threat Average hourly earnings rose a paltry 0.1% The chance of four rate changes this year just receded U.S. employment data released on Friday showed a particularly strong February, with the Non-Farm Payroll coming in at 313K. This was a 20-month high that was over … Continued


Silver Could Be Golden

Silver is increasingly attractive as the Dollar slips on the Trump tariff threat The 200-day moving average is proving supportive Prices could rally to $19.45/Troy Oz, a gain of 17.6% More most investors that turn their eye to the commodity space tend to concentrate their efforts on Gold, Crude Oil and maybe, Copper.  Silver has … Continued


Copper Inventories Worrying Rise

Copper inventories are rising on a global basis Rise in copper prices since 2016 cannot offset transportation costs Chinese activity slowed as “New Year” approached Trump’s infrastructure plan has not catalysed prices Market is at a resistance; longer-term sentiment looks for a gain of 6% What’s going on in the world of copper? There are … Continued


€ and $; Tug of War

Euro’s good week fell apart on Friday The Dollar has supported but may struggle to break 1.2132 Eurozone economy improves; ECB could start normalising earlier than expected Treasury yields have broken higher That could unsettle the US economy and Dollar demand There can be no argument that EURUSD had a great run this past week … Continued


GOP, Donald and Debt

Trumps plans are adding %1.5 Trillion to America’s debt burden This is the cost of his tax cut programme and new infrastructure investment Treasury yields have broken higher after months of decline Is the given that foreign accounts will keep on buying a certainty? There used to be an infallible rule of western politics. Parties … Continued


Bitcoin…Cut & Run Amid the “FUD” or

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies suffered a woeful week The potential for much tighter regulation grows each day The diehard believers think this is the right time to buy Is the risk that it is all a Ponzi Pyramid worth it…probably not Bitcoin has been under pressure in the past week like never before. Just as … Continued


Global Growth Shows

Global growth is expected to reach 3% in 2018 The potential for much faster growth is limited This time there is less reliance on one growth engine Do not overlook potential flat-spots in America, China and Europe It is now a decade since the world descended into a devastating economic crisis. A key signal of … Continued


The Dollar, DC, Deutschland & Draghi

Dollar found few friends in the ring last week The fear of a shutdown in the Federal Government kept many away German party leaders want a “Grand Coalition”, but their parties must approve it On Thursday, Draghi has to sweet talk the Euro down from lofty heights In the past week, many major currencies rose to … Continued


Gold’s Glitter to Keep its Glow

Gold has posted another good week of price gains The upside keeps coming despite the prospect of Fed Funds rate rises The withdrawal of monetary stimulus has a diminishing effect The start of the week may see selling, but prices will soon bounce back   Gold prices posted a four-month high on Friday to record … Continued


Picking Equity Sectors in 2018

High expectations of a good equity market in 2018 What will be the appropriate mix of equity exposure? Spotlight Indices has embraced a new psychology Look for ongoing “cyclical” and “sensitive” exposure At moments of economic uncertainty, it is only natural that questions arise pertaining as to the best approach toward making investments in the … Continued


Equities are not Donald Trump’s triumph

Equities have made good gains since Donald Trump was inaugurated The gains are overshadowed by the returns under Obama and H.W. Bush Their rally is mostly down to coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus It is disingenuous for the 45th President to seek all the glory We are almost through a full calendar year of Donald … Continued


Crude Oil Rally Fizzling Out

WTI has slipped into a corrective channel, cannot hold above $58/barrel The action by OPEC and Non-OPEC producers just encourages shale output The market has edged toward to balance, but demand will fall again next year Without a quick break over $62, then a retreat toward $54 is on the cards This week I want … Continued


Strap Yourself In As Bitcoin Futures Arrive

Bitcoin futures launch creates excitement as they surge past $18,000 There are many powerful voices for and against the concept It marks the most dramatic financial leap into the dark since the 2008 crisis Questions are being raised if the contract will soar high, or crash and burn? Bitcoin, the best known of all the … Continued


Trump Tackles Tax

The US Senate passed a sweeping tax cuts bill This is President Trump’s first significant legislative victory It marks the biggest tax overhaul since the 1980’s Democrats complained it only benefits the wealthy and big business Weak week, in White House The week just passed was looking bad for Donald Trump’s administration. A genuine “Black … Continued


Oil is Overdone

This past week, crude oil speculation reached a new high for the year OPEC seeks to push prices higher by restricting output… …this just encourages more shale oil production I am looking for prices to decline in Q1 2018 The oil market has enjoyed a good run of late. It has been driven higher by … Continued


Philip Hammond, the boxed in Chancellor

This week, the Chancellor has to revive the Conservative Party He is so boxed in with limited money to spend and pressure all around The young need help and he needs to address housing and public sector pay He will be walking a tight line as he delivers his budget One could argue that the … Continued


Bitcoin…Currency or Commodity…It seems confusing

There is too much volatility in cryptocurrencies They fail the test of being “money” as there is no source of final accountability Delaying SegWitz2X is not progressive It is correct to call Bitcoin a commodity A lack of volatility can destroy a market. If an asset just goes up, or just goes down, there is … Continued


Trump names Jay Powell to replace Janet Yellen as Fed chair

There is a to be change at the top of the Federal Reserve Jerome “Jay” Powell will succeed Janet Yellen in February 2018 He is not that different in his approach to monetary policy He will be more business friendly, especially toward financial services Last week President Trump announced that Jerome “Jay” Powell was his … Continued


In a crowded week, the Spanish situation is critical

There is a growing crisis in the Kingdom of Spain The Basques and Galicia are also looking to break away Further afield, be wary of mounting tension in Italy and Germany Be under no illusion, this crisis will be far more damaging than Brexit The economic calendar is heavily laden with potentially market-moving data points … Continued


Is now the time for the UK face a rate rise?

It has been a decade since the UK last saw interest rates rise The economic data points offer a mixed picture Consumer debt is clearly a mounting problem High uncertainty of the economic outlook suggests no change is required The Bank of England (BoE) voted by seven to two to keep the Base Rate at … Continued


Stephen Pope interviewed by Bill Hubard

Here we have an interview with contributor Stephen Pope (also Managing Partner of Spotlight Group PLC) and Chief Economist Bill Hubard. They discuss the Fed Meeting Minutes released in early October and its impact on the US bond markets. Furthermore, the lack of follow-through on the fiscal side from the Trump administration. Also, … Continued


The Pain of Spain

Catalonia has 16% of the Spanish population It makes transfers worth 20% of Spanish GDP A split will see Spanish debt and equities collapse Catalonia may see its GDP decline by 30% The main market development, after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont decided to retreat from pressing the independence button and sought dialogue with Madrid was … Continued


Economic Efficiency and the Tax Regime

Tax rates are currently under scrutiny Rates of taxation should be fair, not cut too low nor cast too high Retrospective action should be against loose legislation, not legitimate practice The “Laffer Curve” is a theory developed in 1974 by the “supply-side” economist Arthur Laffer. It sought to demonstrate the relationship between rates of taxation … Continued


A Reality Check For Germany…and Europe

Federal elections were held in Germany on Sunday, 24 September They elected members of the 19th Bundestag Angela Merkel wins a fourth term She has diminished authority as “AfD” enters Bundestag ECB now faces a dilemma, the Euro is on the backfoot Angela Merkel, the longest serving of all significant world leaders secured a fourth … Continued


UK economic outlook lacks momentum

So far, there has been no advantage for the UK to leaving the European Union. Despite a massive decline in Sterling, exports are still struggling. Bank of England is staring at a low growth, high inflation horizon. “…It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, … Continued


Treasury Spreads: A Tale of Trump’s Timid Term

The Fed were planning a succession of rate rises. Data disappointment brings that schedule into doubt. Mixed messages from the Fed are misleading markets. The US yield curve reflects frustration with Trump’s lack of progress. A yield spread refers to the difference between the yields of two fixed income securities. One can compare two similar … Continued