74-year-old bond guru Lacy Hunt is among a rare breed in finance today: people who actually traded during a period when bonds continuously lost value. Today, as hints of inflation start to bubble and calling the next bear market becomes the industry’s favorite pastime, Hunt says no, "I’m still long bonds, especially the long-end."
They’re at it again. It isn’t enough that the Federal Reserve’s tighter monetary policies are hamstringing global economic growth, but over the past week a few different Fed officials floated the idea of reducing the size of the Fed’s balance sheet. They seem intent on tightening until something breaks.
European shares rose as Fiat rebounded on hopes concerns about parallel to Volkswagen are overblown, Asian stocks were little as Chinese shares fell to the lowest level of 2017 after poor export data, and U.S. equity-index futures rose ahead of a deluge of bank earnings. The dollar is headed for a weekly loss and gold trades at the highest price in almost two months.
The history of previous civilizations rising and eventually collapsing is well documented. Our current economy seems to be following a similar pattern... Our fundamental problem is the fact that neither high nor low energy prices are now able to keep the world economy operating as we would like it to operate.
The main economic release this week is US retail sales, ECB minutes and a series of Chinese economic releases. There are several scheduled speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including a webcast address by Chair Yellen on Thursday. However, the highlight of the upcoming first full week of 2017 might well be President-elect Trump's first news conference on Wednesday since his election win.
In spite of being exposed in what is either a self-exculpating lie (the claim that bubbles can only be seen after they burst) or a sign of gross incompetence (the failure to see two of the largest financial bubbles in history), no Fed official has ever been asked to explain or rationalize the Fed’s contradictory positions on bubbles.
"Markets don’t have a purpose any more - they just reflect whatever central planners want them to. Why wouldn’t it lead to the biggest collapse? My strategy doesn’t require that I’m right about the likelihood of that scenario. Logic dictates to me that it’s inevitable..."
Global markets begin the last full week of trading of the year in subdued fashion, with U.S. equity futures rising 0.1%, to 2,258.5, European shares decline, halting two straight weeks of gains, and Asian shares hitting a four-week low.
It would be nice if we could figure out a way to make our economy last forever, but it is doubtful that we can. Ultimately, the battle between diminishing returns and increased complexity seems likely to be settled in a way that causes the economy to collapse.
The key economic releases this week are ISM non-manufacturing on Monday and University of Michigan consumer sentiment index on Friday. Away from the US economic calendar, initially focus will be on the Italian referendum result, which appears to have been mostly digested by the market as bullish. It will then shift quickly to a critical ECB meeting.
“The market is expecting an interest-rate hike in December, and there is no fundamental reason for the Fed” to disappoint according to DZ Bank's Birgit Figge, and judging by the spike in futures-market-implied rate-hike odds post-Trump, it's a done deal.
After taking a one day breather, the "Trumpflation Rally" returned with a vengeance as global government bonds tumbled and the dollar rose on renewed speculation the economic outlook is strong enough to allow the Federal Reserve to hike in December (odds are now 94%). Asian shares rose, industrial metals and crude oil fell, European shares and US equity futures were pressured.