The Fed is talking down the strong January PCE inflation result:
Feb 29 (Reuters) – “I expect things are going to be bumpy,” Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic said during an interview at a banking conference in Atlanta, Georgia, after a Commerce Department report showed the core personal consumption expenditures price index rose more than 5% on an annualized basis….Bostic said his eye remains on the longer-term trends and repeated his view that he sees the U.S. central bank beginning to cut rates “in the summer time,” if the economy evolves as he expects.
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, speaking with Yahoo! Finance later in the day, said three rate cuts is still her baseline view…..Mester said she expects employment and wage growth to cool in coming months, easing price pressures and giving her more assurance that inflation is headed sustainably back to the Fed’s goal.
Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Austan Goolsbee also shrugged off January’s inflation data as indicative of a setback, and said he believes the disinflationary effect of last year’s supply chain improvements and immigration-fueled rise in labor supply have a “decent chance” of continuing into this year. And that, he said, means there is still scope for the U.S. economy this year to continue on what he has dubbed the “golden path” of falling inflation alongside a robust labor market and economic growth, a historically unusual pattern.
March 1 (Bloomberg) – The S&P 500 topped 5,100 — hitting its 15th record this year. Traders looked past weak economic data amid bets policymakers will be able to cut rates as soon as June. US two-year yields sank as Fed Governor Christopher Waller noted he’d like a shift in the central bank’s holdings toward a larger share of short-term Treasuries…
The 2-year yield is testing support at 4.5%.
10-Year Treasury yields broke support at 4.20%, closing at 4.18% on Friday.
The S&P 500 broke resistance at 5100 — our target from December 2023 — to make a new high at 5137. Trend Index troughs above zero flag strong buying pressure.
Russell 2000 Small Caps ETF (IWM) closed above resistance at 205 but we expect retracement to test the new support level.
Spot Gold shot up to $2083 per ounce. We expect retracement to test support at $2060 but respect would be a strong bull signal, confirming a target of $2100.
Commercial bank cash assets, consisting mainly of reserve deposits at the Fed, continue their up-trend with an increase to $3.6 trillion.
Reverse repo (RRP) balances at the Fed declined to $570 billion as money market funds switched into higher-yielding T-Bills. The outflow cannot continue at the same rate for long and the Fed is likely to reduce the level of QT — from the current $95 billion per month — in order to offset this.
Moody’s Baa corporate bond spread fell to 1.55% — the lowest level in more than twenty years — indicating abundant liquidity in credit markets.
DJ Stoxx Euro 600 — the top 600 stocks in Europe — is making new highs as well.
In Australia, the ASX 200 broke resistance at its previous high of 7700, offering a target of 8000.
Crude Oil & Commodities
Nymex light crude is testing resistance at $80 per barrel. Breakout would confirm a fresh advance, with a target of $90.
Brent crude is also testing resistance at $83 per barrel. Narrow consolidation is a bullish sign (in an up-trend) and breakout would offer a target of $93.
Copper continues to test resistance at $8500 per metric ton despite weak manufacturing activity in China.
The bond market is getting excited about rate cuts around mid-year after plenty of dovish guidance from Fed officials. Ten-year Treasury yields broke support at 4.2%, warning of a decline to test primary support at 3.8%, but retracement is likely to test the new resistance level.
Strong growth in average hourly earnings, CPI and PCE inflation in January, warn that early rate cuts would be premature. Investors are piling into real assets as a hedge against an expected resurgence of inflation.
Stock indices broke to new highs, including the S&P 500, DJ Stoxx Euro 600, and the ASX 200 in Australia.
Gold jumped to $2083 per ounce. Retracement that respects support at $2060 would confirm an advance to $2100 per ounce.
Crude oil threatens a breakout that would likely see a $10 rise in the price per barrel, increasing expectations of a sharp rebound in inflation.
The Fed is under pressure to support the Treasury market, lowering long-term yields to reduce rising debt servicing costs for the US Treasury. Latest CBO projections show how interest servicing costs (pink) are likely to expand deficits in the years ahead.
Treasury debt held by the public is projected to rise to a precarious 160% of GDP by 2050.
As we mentioned in a recent post, the only way to solve this is through high inflation — which would expand GDP relative to nominal debt — and negative real interest rates.
Our long-term outlook is overweight real assets — stocks, Gold, critical materials, and industrial real estate — and underweight long-duration financial assets like USTs.
- Luke Gromen, FFTT: March 1, 2024
- Reuters: Fed policymakers look past ‘bumpy’ inflation toward rate cuts
- Bloomberg, March 1: S&P 500 Posts 15th Record This Year as Tech Roars
- CBO: Outlook 2024