"The current P/E expansion cycle is now one of the largest in history. Since September 2011, S&P 500 forward P/E has grown by 75% (from 10x to 18x). This expansion has only been surpassed twice since 1976, when the multiple rose by 111% from 1984-1987 (ending with the 22% Black Monday collapse) and by 115% from 1994-1999 (ending with the Tech Bubble pop)." - Goldman Sachs
Caution is called for because of Fed’s limited ability to reduce policy rate, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley says, Dudley comments in text of speech in Bridgeport, CT. “Although the downside risks have diminished since earlier in the year, I still judge the balance of risks to my inflation and growth outlooks to be tilted slightly to the downside”
"[There was] a lot of ‘let’s not forget the far more hawkish statements other Fed officials made last week,’ [but] this was not a bolt out of the blue. As she spoke, I couldn’t help picturing a mother lion swatting her misbehaving cubs back into line."
At the end of the day, it was all about the dollar and the reason for this morning's stock surge around the globe, as we noted last night, is absurdly delightful: Yellen signaled "weakening world growth" and "less confidence in the renormalization process." In other words, the "bad news is good news" mantra is back front and center.
Nefarious foreign hackers, blacked out CCTV systems, corrupt local bank managers, shifty go-betweens, and $30 million in cash delivered to an anonymous man of "Chinese origin" who disappeared into the shadows of Manila and will likely never be heard from again. This story has it all. It even has Bill Dudley.
Jason Gross was the latest former banker to make a mockery of the US judicial system when he was spared prison on Wednesday, for stealing NY Fed secrets on behalf of Goldman Sachs. Instead Gross, 37, was fined $2,000 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in Manhattan and sentenced to a year of probation with 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft of government property.
It seems monetary policy is exhausted and the next exogenous lever to pull would be political fiscal initiatives. If/when they fail to stimulate demand, there would be only one avenue left – currency devaluation. If/when confidence in the mightiest currency wanes, we would expect the US dollar to be devalued too - not against other fiat currencies, but against a relatively scarce Fed asset.
In the fourth quarter, lending standards tightened for the second consecutive quarter. This is problematic because as DB's Jim Reid writes, two consecutive quarters of tightening standards "has never happened before without it signalling an eventual move into recession and a notable default cycle. Once we have 2 such quarters lending standards don't net loosen again until the start of the next cycle."
"A weakening of the global economy accompanied by further appreciation in an already strong dollar could also have "significant consequences." I read that as saying we're acknowledging that things have happened in financial markets and in the flow of the economic data that may be in the process of altering the outlook for growth and the risk to the outlook for growth going forward."