Pizzaflation is creeping through the nation. Inflation is slow, and subtle, and making our favorite things like Pizza unaffordable. Pizzaflation explains the deterioration of the US Dollar in something we all love; Pizza.
So what do you do? Play the short-term chase the market game or the longer-term wealth devastation game. The choice is yours to make, the consequences will be for all to share. “I will tell you my secret: I never buy at the bottom and I always sell too soon.” – Baron Nathan Rothschild
"How do you know this is just a short squeeze, and not the beginning of something much more substantial? While equities are trying to send a bullish tune, the 200 day moving average is now trending down for S&P, Dax and the Nikkei. This is not bullish. Furthermore, yield curves in the US, Japan and Europe have flattened. This is not bullish. Yen is rallying. This is not bullish. We have seen substantial covering by the market. This is not bullish."
What is clear is that the Federal Reserve has gained control of asset markets by gaining control over investor behavior. “Are you afraid of a market crash? Yes. Are you doing anything about it? No.” Again, it’s back to fundamentals versus expectations. Someone is going to be very wrong.
Even if "this time is different," we don’t expect it will be different enough to sustain valuations at current obscene levels in the absence of favorable market internals. Refrain from placing too much faith in the "fast, furious, prone-to-failure" advances that occasionally clear oversold conditions.
The US Dollar Index is sitting at 94.62, just above a critical support zone at 93-94. Meanwhile, the Trade-Weighted Dollar Index has pulled back ~3.4% from its high on Jan20’16. It is hard to tell that long USD is a consensus trade because investors have lost their conviction.
“The typical investor has usually gathered a good deal of half-truths, misconceptions, and just plain bunk about successful investing.” With the month of April winding up the seasonally strong time of the year, earnings season just ahead and economic growth weak, the risks to the downside far outweigh “hope” of higher prices. Or, is “bad news” still the bear market deterrent?
"My view is still that the Fed does not actually do anything more than jaw-bone until or unless the S&P500 cash index is into the 1500s and the outlook for growth, employment and inflation get significantly worse – perhaps with the unemployment rate inching higher not lower.... I am also even more convinced now that we are about 10 months through a multi-year bear market that likely won’t bottom until late 2017 or early 2018. This will be a stair-step decline with all the strength to the downside punctuated by occasional (very) violent bear market counter-trend rallies driven by short covering, hope and residual belief in policymakers"
One thing that may be instructive about the massive Q1 reversal which saw the Dow Jones rebound off its low by the most since 1933, is the overall investment climate in which they occur. The three prior events took place within secular bear markets. Additionally, there were 26 other quarters since 1900 which saw the DJIA recover at least 8% off its quarterly low after being down at least 10%. All but 2 of those quarters (4Q, 1987 and 4Q, 1997) occurred within a secular bear market.
Falling profit margins and rising valuations (as earnings fall) make for a pretty bearish one-two punch for the stock market. Investors will surely become less eager to pay higher valuations for companies growing more slowly. That equation usually works in reverse. And there’s no reason we can see to expect these challenges to corporate profit margins to let up any time soon. The S&P 500 now trades at its highest price-to-earnings ratio since the bull market began even as the index remains well off its recent price highs. And profit margins still could have a long way to fall before even reaching their average level since 1950.