Saturday Night Quarterback says, For the week ahead expect…

Saturday Night Quarterback says, For the week ahead expect…

Expect the the debate to go on. Are we seeing a top for this extraordinary rally? Are stocks headed to their first correction since dinosaurs walked the earth? (Actually stocks had their last 10% correction in February 2020 but almost nobody remembers because it didn’t last very long and soon stocks were on their way to infinity and beyond.) And will this correction be led by technology stocks, the stars of the last rally? Or is the huge and very quick drop in technology stocks and the smaller but still significant fall in a wider index such as the Standard and Poor’s 500 merely a rotation from one sector into another? For the record, as of the close on Friday, December 3, the S&P 500 was down 3.47% from its November 24 high. The NASDAQ Composite, with its heavier weighting in technology, was down 6.05% from its November 11 high.

Friday’s jobs report for November is even more important than usual for stocks

Friday’s jobs report for November is even more important than usual for stocks

Right now the stock and bond markets can’t decide if the Omicron Variant will crush the global economy badly enough to lead the Federal Reserve to delay its timetable for raising interest rates or if the U.S. economy is so strong and inflation so persistent that Jerome Powell and company will be pushed to accelerate the Fed’s tightening. Which makes Friday’s jobs report for November even more important than usual since it might provide the tipping data to send the Fed’s decision one way or the other. Right now economists at Argus forecast that the economy added 550,000 new jobs in November. That would be an increase from the 531,000 jobs created in October and from the 32,000 created in August.

Federal Reserve’s Powell stops calling inflation “transitory” and stocks tank–except for Apple

Federal Reserve’s Powell stops calling inflation “transitory” and stocks tank–except for Apple

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation in testimony today in front of the Senate Banking Committee. And, Powell continued, the Fed might accelerate the pace at which it is winding down its purchase of Treasuries and mortgage-backed assets. “It is appropriate, I think, for us to discuss at our next meeting, which is in a couple of weeks, whether it will be appropriate to wrap up our purchases a few months earlier.” The Fed is currently scheduled to complete its asset-purchase program in mid-2022

Federal Reserve’s Powell stops calling inflation “transitory” and stocks tank–except for Apple

A Biden vote of confidence in Powell at the Fed is a vote of no confidence in the economy

This morning President Joe Biden announced that he will renominate Jerome Powell to another four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Wall Street sounds like it’s generally happy with the move–continuity is usually seen as good by the financial markets–although bond yields are up as of 2:30 p.m. this afternoon with the 10-year Treasury yield climbing to 1.62%, a gain of 7 basis points. That’s a reflection, in my opinion, of a little bond market disappointment that Biden didn’t nominate Lael Brainard to replace Powell, She was seen as more likely to hold interest rates lower for longer than Powell. Powell’s nomination faces opposition from progressive Democrats who don’t like the financial deregulation that has continued during his term or who don’t think the U.S. central has done enough on global warming. Powell also faces opposition from conservative Republicans because they believe the Fed should be moving faster to stomp on inflation. My view is a little different than either Democratic or Republican objections. I think that if Biden had been more confident of the economy recovery he would have nominated Brainard. That would have put a Biden stamp on the U.S. central bank.

With stocks at record highs, what’s priced in (or not)?

With stocks at record highs, what’s priced in (or not)?

With stocks trading at record highs, I’d argue that nothing is as important as what “news” is priced in–or not. If stocks have priced in all the likely good news, then there’s much less to drive prices higher–and much more expansive possibilities for drops on disappointments. If there’s likely good news that’s not yet priced in, then stocks have potential fuel to move high. And, on the other hand, if bad news is priced in and fails to materialize, then, hey, we’re going higher from here. And if bad news isn’t priced in, then current record prices aren’t sustainable.

Beware the bond market’s duration bomb

Beware the bond market’s duration bomb

As bond yields have tumbled because of the Federal Reserve’s lower interest rates for longer monetary stance, investors have compensated by buying longer duration bonds. The logic is pretty simply. A one-year Treasury now yields 0.11%. A two-year Treasury pays 0.45%. A five-year Treasury yields 1.18%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was paying 1.61% at the close today, October 26. Want more yield? You can buy the 30-year Treasury for a yield of 2.04%. The problem is that the longer the duration of a bond–the more time until maturity–the bigger the downward move in bond prices if/when the Federal Reserve decides to raise interest rates or if/when the financial markets decide to anticipate a Fed move by selling bonds ahead of any move by the U.S. central bank.

Is the Goldilocks market ready for challenges from the bears?

Is the Goldilocks market ready for challenges from the bears?

You can see yesterday’s stock rally and its continuation today as a return of the Goldilocks market. Yesterday, for example, inflation, if you look just at core inflation–that is without food and energy prices–looked strong enough to make the Federal Reserve very cautious about removing monetary stimulus from the economy, but core inflation wasn’t so strong that it sent up warning flares. And today, the drop in initial claims for unemployment to 293,000 (for the week ended October 9) for a new Pandemic low argues that the economy continues to improve but that the economy in general and the job market in particular are neither too hot nor too cold In other words a Goldilocks scenario.

Friday’s jobs report for November is even more important than usual for stocks

Tomorrow’s September jobs number is the BIG DEAL for this week

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are expecting the economy to have added 500,000 jobs in September. Anything way above or way below the number will move expectations on when the Federal Reserve will begin to reduce its monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed assets from the current level of $120 billion a month. That taper is being widely watched as an indicator of when the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates themselves.

PCE Inflation accelerated in August

PCE Inflation accelerated in August

The Personal Consumption Expenditures index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, acce... To subscribe to JAM you need to fill in some details below including, ahem, some info on how you'll pay us. A subscription is $199 (although if you're subscribing...