"This is not a good Fed. They aren’t making decisions on a predictive, forward-looking basis. They are very concerned about optics, appearances—how things look. And to them, right now the optics of having Fed funds at 0.375% with unemployment at 5% are very bad. But that isn’t how it’s supposed to work."
Say what you want about Donald J. Trump, but he is correct about one thing: the Federal Reserve has, with near certainty, been holding interest rates down for political purposes - namely, to aid Hillary Clinton in getting elected president of the United States.
Wall Street is maneuvering to propose and implement a new retirement tax on Americans under a Hillary Clinton Administration. Leading the charge is billionaire financial oligarch Tony James, who is COO of private equity giant Blackstone. Mr. James is a generous contributor to Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run, and is listed as a “Hillblazer” by her campaign for having raised at least $100,000 toward her candidacy.
The big day has finally arrived: starting today, many prime money market mutual funds (those that invest in non-government issued assets such as short-term corporate and municipal debt) to float their net asset value. More importantly, these prime MMFs are allowed to delay client withdrawals under adverse market conditions.
Global stocks are pressured this morning after a plunge in the Thai stock market and currency on concerns about the king's health and Fed hikes coupled with some more bad news out of Samsung which cut profit estimates by a third, while European stocks are suffering after Swedish telecom giant Ericsson issued a profit warning, sending its shares plunging 17%.
Having jawboned rate-hike odds up near cycle record highs (December odds at ~70%), The Federal Reserve's Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI) is crashing. Following a brief dead cat bounce in July, LMCI is now accelerating lower.
Global markets and US equity futures fell on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 contagion concern, while the dollar rose to its strongest level in 11 weeks and U.S. bonds declined as investors boosted wagers that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.
In the US focus will be on the market's reaction to the second presidential debate, FOMC Minutes but also retail sales, import and producer prices and Michigan sentiment. We also hear from various Fed speakers throughout the week, and Chair Yellen gives a keynote speech on Friday.
While the entire nation was transfixed on last night's latest, and most scandalous yet "debate", in which there was little actual debating and a lot of talking points and character assassination attempts, index futures were little changed throughout Sunday's 90 minutes event, suggesting that no clear winner had emerged on either side.
How do we create value in an economy that is increasingly dependent on knowledge? The answer is complicated by the reality that knowledge is increasingly digital and "unownable" and therefore almost free. Financialization as a substitute for creating value has run its course.
Relative to disposable income, the value of household financial assets now far exceeds the last two bubble peaks. And that has happened in an economic environment which suggests just the opposite. To wit, valuation multiples and cap rates should be falling owing the fact that the productivity and growth capacity of the US economy has been heading south ever since the turn of the century. So here’s the danger...
"...to be blunt, given the aforementioned fundamental risks and the poor risk/return skew, history is clearly not in favor of those who remain long equities banking on the Fed to continue to levitate valuations and prices with limited tools and faulty narratives."