SocGen's Albert Edwards, who refuses to pull a Hugh Hendry and to "stop looking at himself in the mirror", remains one of the few coherent realists in a world where soaring nominal asset prices have managed to confuse virtually every pundit into believing central bank balance sheet and stock market expansion means an economic recovery. Today he shares the one chart which as he says "the importance of which we cannot emphasise enough", and which he believes highlights the biggest risk equity investors - hypnotized by the Fed's H.4.1 weekly statement and its weekly record high balance sheet - take when they put all their faith in the Bernanke/Yellen grand behavioral experiment.
From Albert Edwards:
One simple chart - the importance of which we cannot emphasise enough - is the divergence of commodity prices and the equity market during QE3 (see chart below). Why is this important? Because the market has firmly got it into its head that QE will always be good news for equities. So if the economy swoons (maybe due to excessive monetary tightening either via tapering or a strong dollar), equities will look through any short-term disappointment as more QE will save the day. Investors see bad economic news as good news for equities.
I do believe this to be utter nonsense. For in the same way as investors believe, axiomatically that QE will drive up equity prices, they believed exactly the same thing of commodities until 2012. Commodities are a risk asset and benefited massively from QE1 and QE2, so why has QE3 had absolutely no effect on commodity prices? Exactly the same thing could happen to equities if a recession unfolds and profits plunge at the same time as the printing presses are running full pelt. Do not assume equities MUST benefit from QE.