Today and tomorrow, Yellen will be treating the world to her Congressional testimony. Her remarks have been released, and the summation of her entire disposition was boiled down to this one sentence:
““I see roughly equal odds that the U.S. economy’s performance will be somewhat stronger or somewhat less strong than we currently project…”
So has Janet joined the Elliott Wave brigade? Honestly, just take a look at that. She’s saying that, based upon the projections – – the projections, remember, of a building full of economics PhDs and luminaries – – that there is a 50% chance things could be better or a 50% chance that things could be worse. In other words……… (more…)
The minutes from the last Fed meeting, released a few minutes ago today and summarized as follows (courtesy of Nasdaq.com), present a mixed view of the economy…
The decline on NDX on Friday was over 4% high to low intraday, and that was the most powerful one day decline that I’ve seen on an equity index in some years. I was talking on Thursday last week about the resistance trendlines on NDX and AMZN still being in doubt, and both were nicely clarified at Friday’s high. I also mentioned in that post that before the swing high that we are expecting here Stan and I would ideally like to see new all time highs made on all of SPX/ES, NDX/NQ and RUT/TF, and we saw all of those made before the reversal on Friday. This is a high quality candidate swing high here, but I’m just going to talk about NDX/NQ today as that has been driving the equity bull bus this year, and is the most important place to see high quality highs being made. (more…)
I’ve been thinking about the current Fed Funds rate hike cycle, which is logically gaining forward momentum now that the Fed can stand down from its 8-year, ultra-lenient monetary policy cycle. That is because the Obama administration’s goals required a compliant Federal Reserve to continually re-liquefy the economy as its fiscal policies drained it.
With the coming of Trump mania and its very different fiscal policy goals, we will witness the end of much of what I considered to be the “evil genius” employed by the Federal Reserve, mostly under Ben Bernanke. When he oversaw the brilliant and completely maniacal painting of the macro known as Operation Twist in 2011, I knew we were not in Kansas anymore. We’d gone off the charts and off the balance sheet into a Wonderland of financial and monetary possibilities.
What else would you call a plan to sell the government’s short-term debt and buy its long-term debt in the stated effort to “sanitize” (the Fed’s word, not mine) inflationary signals on the macro? It was evil, it was genius, and it worked. So too did various other financial manipulations that took place before and after Op/Twist. And here we are.
I used to make fun of the FOMC rate hike “decision” language in the mainstream media because under the Obama administration and its economic policies overseen by the Fed’s monetary policy, there really was no decision, was there? It was ZIRP-eternity, interrupted by a lone and token rate hike in December 2015 (the Dec. 2016 hike does not count because the transition to a new administration and policy regime was already known; in effect, the Fed has already made its first hike under Trump).
According to the traders who make up the Fed Funds futures, there is no decision tomorrow, either. From CME Group, we have virtually no one predicting two successive rate hikes.
Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen was recently asked if she was comfortable with the Dow approaching 20,000. She replied “Rates of return in the stock market relative to – remember that the level of interest rates is low – and taking that into account. I believe it’s fair to say that they remain within normal ranges.”
Janet Yellen is not the first person to claim that high stock market valuations are normal when interest rates are low. In theory owners of stocks expect a risk premium over the risk-free rate available to holders of government bonds. When the risk-free rate is itself zero, the yield on equities will be nothing more than the risk premium, and a low yield on equities translates into a high price earnings ratio.
Same old FOMC yesterday with a lot of wind, a lingering smell, and a vast amount of analysis of a move that was difficult to detect without a microscope, and is largely irrelevant to real world interest rates in any case. Moving on …
SPX tested my target trendline for this move on Tuesday and I was watching for likely resistance there. With the 29 handle decline into yesterday’s low from there I think it’s fair to say that there is resistance there, and SPX may now be in the topping process for the December high, and as I’ve mentioned, we are expecting this high to last well into 2017.