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...

What gold tells us about Fed policy expectations

Mid-week market update: It can be difficult to discern the market's short-term outlook on an FOMC meeting day, but the Fed has spoken, and the market reaction has important signals for equity investors from an inter-market, or cross-asset, analytical basis. The first important signal comes from gold prices. Gold staged an upside breakout to a...

Bearish warnings, but no trigger

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...

Back to basics: Is this market overvalued?

There has been a recent continuing controversy about the usefulness of forward P/E as a valuation tool in the current recessionary environment. On one hand, past bear markets have typically bottomed out at a forward P/E ratio of 10, with a low of 7 (1982) and a high of 14 (2002). FactSet's reported market rating...

Earnings Monitor: Digging in for the long haul

We are continuing our coverage of earnings season during these turbulent times. With 90% of the index having reported, this will be the final earnings monitor of the Q1 earnings season. This week, we are seeing greater additional signs of stabilization, but companies are digging for the long haul. Let's begin with the big picture....

The bulls are losing control, what’s next?

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...