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...

China rides to the rescue?

The headlines from last week sounded dire. It began when China’s May economic activity report was disappointing, with industrial production, retail sales, and fixed-asset investment missing market expectations.      Then the Federal Reserve took an unexpected hawkish turn. The statement from the FOMC meeting acknowledged that downside risks from the pandemic were receding as vaccination...

The market’s instant FOMC report card

Mid-week market update: It's always difficult to make any kind of coherent market comment on FOMC meeting days. The market reaction can be wild and price moves can reverse themselves in the coming days.   Nevertheless, experienced investors understand that it's not the announcement that matters, but the tone announcement compared to market expectations. Bloomberg...

The bond market tempts FAIT

Remember when I called for a bond market rally (see What a bond market rally could mean for your investments). The 10-year Treasury yield broke support last week and shrugged off a hot CPI print. Is the bond market tempting FAIT, or the Fed's Flexible Average Inflation Targeting framework?     Here are some of...

The inflation red herring

Rising inflation fears are all over the headlines. From a top-down perspective, inflation pressures are clearly rising.     The Transcript, which monitors earnings calls, documented companies reporting rising inflationary pressures from supply chain bottlenecks and commodity price strength, which have the potential to create margin squeezes.   “…the inflationary pressures, particularly surrounding some of...

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...

The sum of all fears: Inflation! Inflation!

The latest BoA Global Fund Manager Survey shows that respondents believe the biggest tail-risks to be inflation and its effects on the bond market.     Are these worries overblown? How will these concerns affect asset prices?     How transitory are inflation pressures? Recently, there has been a spate of reports about rising supply...

Will rising yields sideswipe equities?

Jerome Powell's Congressional testimony last week made the Fed's position clear. Monetary policy will remain easy for the foreseeable future. Inflation dynamics change, but not on a dime. While Fed policy will leave short-term interest rates anchored near zero, the market's inflation expectations have been rising. Last week, the 10-year Treasury yield briefly breached 1.6%...

Debunking the Buffett Indicator

There has been some recent hand wringing over Warren Buffett's so-called favorite indicator, the market cap to GDP ratio. This ratio has rocketed to new all-time highs, indicating nosebleed valuation conditions for the stock market.     Worries about this ratio are overblown. Here's why.     Dissecting market cap to GDP Let's begin by...

Will Powell twist?

Jens Nordvig recently conducted an unscientific Twitter poll on the FOMC's action at the December meeting/ While there was a small plurality leaning towards a "steady as she goes" course, there was a significant minority calling for another Operation Twist, in which the Fed shifts buying from the short end to the medium and long...

Oh yeah, it’s also FOMC week

What's on the calendar this week? Did you forget?   Oh yeah, there's an FOMC meeting this week, and there's the November Jobs Report on Friday. While not much policy change is expected from the Fed this week, Barron's has already anointed Jerome Powell as "the winner". (Has anyone started to call him the Maestro...

Buy the cyclical and reflation trade?

The global economy seems to be setting up for a strong recovery. We are seeing a combination of easy monetary policy, slimmed-down supply chains, and a rebound in consumer confidence.     The cyclical and reflation trade is becoming the consensus view. However, there may still be time to board that train. Futures positioning in...

Broken Trends: How the world changed

The world is changing, but it changed even before Trump's COVID-19 news.     In the past few weeks, a couple of key macro trends have reversed themselves. The US Dollar, which large speculators had accumulated a crowded short position, stopped falling and began to turn up. In addition, inflation expectations, as measured by the...

How the Fed’s Policy Review received an incomplete grade

It has been over a week since Jerome Powell's virtual Jackson Hole speech in which he laid out the Fed's revised its updates to its Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy after a long and extensive internal review. There were two changes. one was a shift towards an "average inflation targeting" regime, where the...