Trust (the bull), but verify (there’s no recession)

 It’s finally happened. The monthly MACD of the NYSE Composite turned positive at the end of July. This has been a reliable long-term buy signal in the past. The sell rule in this model is a negative 14-month divergences.     In the words of Ronald Reagan when he was negotiating an arms control treaty...

It’s not just about the Fed

Mid-week market update: The market reaction to the FOMC decision was mostly a yawn. The Fed raised rates by a quarter-point, which was expected, and Powell refused to commit to further hikes while repeating his data dependency mantra.  As a consequence, the S&P 500 was mostly unchanged from before the decision to after the close....

The risks to the disinflation and soft-landing bull case

Ever since the softer-than-expected June CPI report, the Wall Street narrative has pivoted toward disinflation and a soft landing. The disinflationary trend had been building for some time and inflation has been surprising to the downside around the world.      As a consequence, the markets have taken a risk-on tone in anticipation of less...

Is the Bidenomics electoral focus a contrarian economic indicator?

In many ways, politicians are worse than magazine covers as contrarian indicators. Magazine editors focus on an economic issue when it moves from page 20 to page 1 in the public’s mind. By that time, it’s been largely discounted by the market. Politicians are worse. They follow the trends raised by magazine editors and are...

A very hawkish skip

Mid-week market update: It's not easy to make a market comment on an FOMC day. Let's start by analyzing the Fed's projections. The latest Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) shows a stronger economy and tigher monetary policy in response to the revised projections.   The Fed revised up its GDP projections for this year by...

How the Treasury refresh may not be catastrophic

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 Trend...

A different kind of Fed pivot?

 Now that the debt ceiling drama is over, investors’ eyes are turning toward the Fed and the trajectory of monetary policy. The current Fed tightening cycle is one of the most aggressive in memory. After a series of staccato rate hikes, the Fed hinted that it was ready to pause. However, the recent stronger-than-expected April...

How the market could break up to a blow-off top

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 Trend...

A pause isn’t a pivot

Now that the market has had over a week to absorb the implications of the last Fed rate decision and incoming data since the meeting, here is where we stand.   The Fed made an important change in its statement that hinted it was preparing to pause interest rate increases. Even though the Fed raised...

It’ll feel like a tightening every meeting

Mid-week market update: As expected, The Fed raised rates by a quarter-point and hinted that it will pause rate hikes at the next meeting, but underlined its conviction that it will not cut this year. Fed Funds expectations are largely unchanged after the meeting. The market is expecting a pause and cuts later this year....

A fire and ice challenge to risk assets

 In case you missed it, the 10-year Treasury yield fell and broke a technical support level even as the 3-month T-Bill yield rose. This left the 10-year to 3-month yield spread inverted further, which has historically been a strong recession signal.       The 10-year and 3-month Treasury yield spread has inverted before every...

Why the dot-plot doesn’t matter

It was a closely watched FOMC meeting. The Fed raised rates by a quarter-point, which was widely anticipated, and signaled that it would likely raise another quarter-point before it's done. It was interpreted as a dovish hike. The Fed also  published a Summary of Economic Projections (SEP), also known as the "dot plot". In the...

Is the Fed’s glass half full, or half empty?

Mid-week market update: Investors and traders have been waiting for the moment of the FOMC announcement and subsequent press conference. How does the Fed respond to the twin challenges of a banking   John Authers highlighted analysis from Bespoke indicating the market was entering a period of extreme volatility in Fed Funds futures.   The...

Between the Scylla of inflation and Charybdis of financial instability

In response to the recent financial turmoil, Fed Funds futures is discounting a 25 bps hike at next week's FOMC meeting, followed by a brief peak and rapid rate cuts for the rest of the year.     Are those market expectations realistic? How will the Fed navigate between the Scylla of inflation and Charybdis...

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...

Is there an inflation threat in your future?

On Valentine's Day, the European Central Bank tweeted a poem to underscore its commitment to fighting inflation.     The ECB tweet is also indicative of the tight monetary policy undertaken by most major central banks. Only two central banks, the BoJ and the PBoC, are meaningful suppliers of global liquidity. The rest are raising...

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...