Update: This article ultimately leans toward the view that the reasons for a rising curve will be inflationary. But I woke up in the middle of the night and my thoughts drifted to the components of the article (yeah, that’s pretty sad, I know), and with further consideration I am leaning toward neutral or even a bit into the deflationary camp. The reasons will be the stuff of another article.
Think back to the blaring headlines about the Great
Promotion Rotation in the financial media in 2013. Perhaps the media circus started in January of that year when The Economist asked the question of whether the rise in bond yields signaled a “flight” out bonds and into equities. It was probably an earnest and right minded question asked by The Economist, but you know our friends in the greater financial media; get a good story and flog the hell out of it to harvest eyeballs. Reality be damned, man, it’s the eyeballs that matter!
As the mini hysteria grew that year we called it a “Great Promotion” (by the financial media) in expectation that the Continuum’s limiter (the red monthly EMA 100 on the 30 year bond yield chart below) would hold once again, just as it had during Bill Gross’s inflation hysterics that signaled a top in inflationary angst in early 2011. By the end of 2013, our ears were ringing with the media buzz and drone about the “Great Rotation”.
If you don’t immediately recognise the title for today’s post then I must first warn you that your knowledge of Lewis Carroll’s literary works is dangerously deficient.
So why am I thinking of Alice in Wonderland today? Well it is Fed day, and for me the Fed always bring Wonderland to mind. I was talking to my older son a few weeks ago explaining that in the same way that lawyers trained for years to achieve a state where they could swallow (figurative) camels and yet still strain at gnats, economists went through a process where after years of patient study that seemed to require at least a PhD, they achieved a state where measures that looked reckless or even suicidal to the less trained eye were revealed as both sensible and necessary.
He asked whether the Fed’s track record at steering the economy in the past was impressive, and I told him that it had delivered a succession of ever greater disasters over recent decades. He then asked why people still nonetheless trusted the Fed to deliver policy, and I replied that people had to believe that the Fed knew what they are doing, as the alternative was just too terrifying. I added that the Fed never admitted to making a mistake, which reassured many, and that Ben Bernanke had an impressively bushy beard that had inspired confidence, though Yellen had needed to manage without one so far for technical reasons. (more…)
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.