A NFP preview

Mid-week market update:  I know that we mostly focus on the outlook for the stock market in these pages, but investors should cast their eyes on the bond market once in a while, as they might learn something. Bond prices staged an upside breakout, which is a signal of economic weakness.     As the...

Double-dip recession of 1980-82 = False dawn of 2023?

One of these cyclical indicators is not like the others. While many cyclical industries are in relative uptrends, which is a technical signal of economic expansion, the 2s10s yield curve is deeply inverted and shows few signs of steepening. This is one of those occasions when the stock market and bond markets disagree.    ...

Fight the tape, or the Fed?

In addition to the hot January PCE print, the other surprise of last week was the upbeat flash PMI from S&P Global Market Intelligence (formerly IHS Markit) showing upside surprises from the G4 industrialized countries. Increasingly, the market narrative is shifting from a growth slowdown to no recession and continued growth. The markets are behaving...

A risk of transitory disinflation

The main event last week for US investors was the FOMC decision. As expected, the Fed raised rates by a quarter-point and underlined that "ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate". Powell went on to clarify that "ongoing increases" translated to a "couple" of rate hikes, which would put the terminal rate at...

FOMC preview: Party now, pay later

As investors look ahead to the FOMC decision on February 1, the market is expecting two consecutive quarter-point rate hikes, followed by a plateau, and a rate cut in late 2023.     The rate hike path and subsequent pause are consistent with the Fed's communication policy. Already, the Bank of Canada raised rates by...

Wall Street is fighting the Fed, should you join in?

Fed Chair Jerome Powell made it clear at the post-FOMC press conference. The Federal Reserve is nowhere close to ending its campaign of rate increases. While last two CPI reports show "a welcome reduction in the monthly pace of price increases...It will take substantially more evidence to have confidence that inflation is on a sustained downward path."...

A cyclical rebound mirage?

I highlighted a widening gulf between the technical and macro outlook in August (see "Price leads fundamentals", or "Don't fight the Fed"?). At the time, the technical indicators were wildly bullish because of strong price momentum, while the macro outlook was cautious. The macro view eventually won out.   A similar divide may be appearing...

The Fed cratered stock-bond diversification, what’s next?

The performance of balanced funds has become especially challenging in 2022. In most recessionary equity bear markets, falling stock prices were offset by rising bond prices or falling bond yields. The fixed income component of a balanced fund portfolio has usually acted as a counterweight to equities.     Not so in 2022. You would...

Peering into 2023: A bear market roadmap

In the wake of the November FOMC meeting, Fed Chair Jerome Powell summarized Fed policy very clearly with two statements: "We will stay the course until the job is done". He added, "It is very premature to think about pausing (rate hikes)".   It was a hawkish message, though Fed Funds expectations were largely unchanged...

The anatomy of a failed breadth thrust

Many technical analysts turned excited in late August when the percentage of S&P 500 stocks above their 50 dma surged from below 5% to over 90%. Historically, such breadth and momentum thrusts have signaled a fresh bull market with a track record of 100% accuracy.     Since then, the percentage of stocks above their...

What the Fed and FedEx are telling the markets

Both the Fed and FedEx had messages of recession for the markets. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the Fed would raise rates until there was clear and convincing signs that inflation was headed toward its 2% target, and its projections amounted to a recession that begins either late this year or early next year....

Why a financial crisis could be the bulls’ best hope

I pointed out two weeks ago the strong disagreement between technical analysts, who were bullish because of strong price momentum, and macro investors, who were bearish because of concerns over hawkish central bank policy and a slowing growth outlook (see "Price leads fundamentals", or "Don't fight the Fed"?). In the wake of the market reaction...

Why this isn’t your father’s recession (and how to profit from it)

There is a growing acceptance among investors that the global economy is sliding into recession. S&P Global, which was formerly known as IHS Markit, reported:   The global manufacturing PMI survey's Output Index, which acts as a reliable advance indicator of actual worldwide output trends several months ahead of comparable official data (see chart 2),...

How the Fed is acting like a bull in the china shop

The June CPI and PPI reports both came in higher than expectations. The good news is core CPI is decelerating. The bad news is both core sticky price CPI and Owners' Equivalent Rent, which is about one-third of core CPI, are rising rapidly.    These readings confirm the market's expectations that the Fed will continue...

What if the market bottomed and no one realized it?

It's stunning how market psychology has changed. In the space of a few months, we've swung from "everyone is bullish" to "everyone is bearish". These results from the BoA Global Fund Manager Survey were done in early June and sentiment has likely deteriorated since then.     The good news is the market is becoming...

The seven reasons why this cycle is different

One of the key risks to the stock market is earnings expectations. As recession risk rises, it has been unusual to see forward 12-month EPS estimates continue to rise. The latest update finally shows that earnings expectations are beginning to stall. S&P 500 estimates are flat for the week, up a miniscule 0.01, while small-cap...

Bullish omens from the factor gods

Recession fears are rising everywhere, both on Wall Street and in Washington. Fed eonomist Michael T. Kiley formulated a recession model based on unemployment rates. The probability of a recession over the next four quarters is now over 50%, but the economy has never avoided a recession when readings were this high.     The...