What you should and shouldn’t worry about

The S&P 500 took fright last Monday and skidded -1.6% after falling -0.8% the previous Friday. Talking heads attributed the decline to worries about the rising incidence of the Delta variant around the world.     Fears over the Delta variant slowing economic growth are overblown. However, there are two other key risks that equity...

How to engineer inflation

Both the June CPI and PPI came in hot and well ahead of expectations. There was the inevitable debate about the transitory nature of the price increases. Looking longer-term, however, the conventional models for explaining inflation have been unsatisfactory.   Notwithstanding the numerous failures by Japanese policymakers, consider the US as another example. Let’s begin...

Seven reasons to fade the growth scare

It is astonishing to see the market narrative shift in the space of only a few months from "inflation is coming" to a growth scare. In late March, the 10-year Treasury yield topped at over 1.7% and the 2s10s yield curve was steepening. Today, the 10-year has decisively broken support and the yield curve is...

The Fed’s next challenge: Wage pressure

Stock markets were rattled by the Fed's hawkish tone in the wake of the FOMC meeting. Markets took a risk-off tone, but Jerome Powell walked back some of the hawkishness during his Congressional testimony the following week. The Fed Chair stuck to his familiar refrain that inflation is transitory, dismissed the idea of 1970s-style inflation as...

NFIB conservatives grudgingly turn bullish

Investors received some data points today that is highly revealing about the economy. The most important was the NFIB small business survey. Small business sentiment is especially important as they have little bargaining power and they are therefore sensitive barometers of the economy. The other is the March JOLTS report of labor market conditions, which...

How Powell, the Un-Volcker, is remaking the Fed

Jerome Powell may turn out to be the Un-Volcker Fed Chair. Paul Volcker wrung all the inflation expectations out of the system and convinced everyone that the Fed is an inflation hawk. By contrast, Jerome Powell is attempting a mirror image policy of convincing everyone the Fed is an inflation dove.   A considerable gulf...

Has the reflation trade become too crowded?

In light of last week's partial NASDAQ reversal, I had a number of discussions with readers about whether the reflation trade has become overly consensus and crowded. To be sure, bond prices have become wildly oversold while the cyclically sensitive copper/gold ratio has surged upward and appears extended.     Is the reflation trade, which...

Here comes the recovery

Preface: Explaining our market timing models We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.  ...

60/40 resilience in an inflation age

The fiscal and monetary authorities of the developed world are engaged in a great macroeconomic experiment. Governments are spending enormous sums to combat the recessionary effects of the pandemic and central banks are allowing monetary policy to stay loose in order to accommodate the fiscal stimulus. Eventually, inflation and inflation expectations are bound to rise....

2020 is over, what’s the next pain trade?

Preface: Explaining our market timing models We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.  ...

The Democrats’ trifecta win explained

Last weekend, I conducted an unscientific and low sample Twitter poll on the market perception of the Georgia special Senate elections. The results were surprising. Respondents were bullish on both a Republican and Democratic sweep.     As the results of the Georgia Senate race became clear, the analyst writing under the pseudonym Jesse Livermore...

The Roaring 20’s scenario, and what could go wrong

Happy New Year! Investors were happy to see the tumultuous 2020 come to a close. The past year has been one with little precedent. A pandemic brought the global economy to a screeching halt. The stock market crashed, and it was followed by an unprecedented level of fiscal and monetary response from authorities around the...

Time for another year-end FOMO stampede?

In late 2017, the stock market melted up in a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) stampede as enthusiasm about the Trump tax cuts gripped investor psychology. The market corrected in early 2018 and rose steadily into October, though the advance could not be characterized as a melt-up. In late 2019, the market staged a similar...