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Inflation

“V” vs. “u” and the Flawed Inflation Narrative

The equity markets finally took a breather last week (ended January 15th), with the S&P 500 falling a mere 1.5%; that’s down from its record high a week earlier.  Perhaps the really poor economic data played a role, but then again, equity markets like such poor data because it means more stimulus (Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan), and markets know that much of the stimulus always finds its way into the …Read More

We Don’t Live in “Normal” Times

The equity markets are in one of those rare moods where they continue to rise no matter the news, even when there are riots in the nation’s capitol complex, and when non-farm payrolls fall -140K.  Would you say this is “normal?” Regarding inflation expectations, interest rates rose rapidly along the Treasury yield curve with the 10-year T-Note yield rising from 0.93% (93basis points) from its close on January 4th to …Read More

Inflation Expectations Rise Even as the Economy Cools

It has now become clear, and mainstream, that the economy weakened significantly in November, and that such weakness will carry forward to year’s end, at a minimum.  The weakness occurred primarily in the services sector as the virus’ resurgence caused some governors to mandate new or additional service business restrictions. As a result, jobless claims have spiked, travel and hotel occupancy fell to even lower levels, and restaurant and other …Read More

The Real Recession Is Just Starting

At month’s end, we are going to see the BLS announce a 30%+ bounce in real GDP (the Atlanta Fed’s forecast is now above 35%). Much of this is already priced into the equity market, so a positive or negative reaction will only occur if the reported number is significantly above or below the consensus view. In addition, this is old news, as Q3 will have been in the rear-view mirror for …Read More

The Recovery Stalls; Fed Pledges “Lower for Longer;” Equity Markets Pause

With the Fed pledging to keep rates low even when (or if) inflation rises above its 2% target, it is hard to see why long-term Treasury yields (and those of other quality issuers) won’t move toward yields of similar debt in the world’s other industrial economies (i.e., Europe and Japan). The economic lull is now showing up in both the labor market (Initial Claims) and in retail sales, likely because …Read More

The Fed’s Ill-Designed Inflation Policies

On Thursday, August 27, Fed Chair Jay Powell spoke at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium. His talk was much anticipated, as it was expected that the old 2% inflation objective would be updated. In fact, the Fed had telegraphed the change; and the Fed has been following the newly announced policy for several months. The policy change allows the Fed to permit inflation to exceed the Fed’s announced 2% target without …Read More