Is 3.80 The Scariest Number For The Bulls?
'Nothing can stop us now' appears to be the message we are being fed as Bullard et al. confirm we should rest assured that the Fed will pump as long as there's a sun in the sky. However, there is a little fly in that ointment that just keeps on popping up. As Barclays' Barry Knapp notes, gas prices have risen high enough to hurt stocks if history is any guide. Gas prices, which have risen every day since January 17th are pressuring the critical $3.80 level that has capped valuations for the equity market in the last three years. The last times gas prices have risen this high, consumer spending growth has stalled and just as we have noted previously, it appears the only thing that can tame the enthusiasm of a liquidity-addicted equity market is a cash-strapped consumer pulling back. The double-edged sword is simple, Knapp notes: any slowing of economic growth that stems from higher gas prices may prevent companies from meeting earnings projections; whereas sustained expansion would increase the risk of inflation and put pressure on the Fed to scale back its QE4EVA. Rock meet hard place.
Chart: Barclays and Bloomberg