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The Rate Spike Will Damage the Recovery

Fed Intervention Needed There was quite a spike in interest rates the last week of February with the 10-Year T-Note spiking from a 1.36% level as of the close on Wednesday to as high as 1.60% intraday with a close of 1.55% on Thursday.  Friday’s close was 1.45%.  But, a lot of damage was done. It is naïve to think that this spike was caused by the inflation narrative, i.e., …Read More

Despite Wall Street Hype, Inflation is Not Imminent

Retail sales rose a record 5.3% M/M in January after three months in a row of decline.  No doubt the $600 checks from the late December “helicopter” money drop played a large role.  The Atlanta Fed now says that their GDP model pegs the current quarter’s growth at +9.5% (Annual Rate (AR)).  In addition, Industrial Production was up nearly 1% (0.9%) in January.  So, why worry?  Infections and hospitalizations are …Read More

Markets Are Bubbly – The Economy, Not So Much

Not a Bubble?  The equity markets have been driven by momentum and speculation these past few weeks, not by underlying business fundamentals.  We had GameStop, followed by Silver, then Pot stocks, and now SPACs, all driven by retail.  PE ratios are in the top 1% of their historical range.  Junk bond yields are at all-time-record low levels (sub 4%).  In January, the worst stocks based on business fundamentals, significantly outperformed …Read More

The Economy: Damaged Labor Markets; An Inflation Head Fake

On Friday, February 5, markets were set to rise no matter what the employment data showed.  If they beat to the upside, that would validate the reflation/pent-up demand narrative.  If they disappointed, well, that would simply mean more fiscal and monetary largesse (which financial markets love).  Either way, heads markets rise; tails, ditto. Labor Market Signals: Positive, Negative and Mixed As it turns out, there was validation for every viewpoint …Read More

Bubble Markets Display Bizarre Behavior

Right Before They Tumble Like the Dot.Com bubble of the late ‘90s, the typical signs of an approaching bubble bust were on full display in the equity markets last week (week ending January 29th).   GameStop (GME) and other failing or troubled companies (AMC, Blackberry, Nokia, Bed Bath) have become the darlings of the WallStreetBets (WSB) crowd (a gang of small retail investors tethered together via social media).  Last week, they …Read More

The Recovery Will Be Weaker And It Will Take Longer

While markets were slightly higher on the week (see table), there was a clear rotation back toward technology after several weeks of a lull for that sector.  This is clearly shown by the week’s Nasdaq outperformance.   January 22 January 15 % Change DJIA 30,997 30,814 +0.6% Nasdaq 13,543 12,999 +4.2% S&P 500 3,841 3,768 +1.5% Markets continue to ignore economic reality and continue to be focused on a rosy …Read More