The fickle and herd-like nature of the financial markets is on clear display right now, as conversations about the yield curve again take center stage. Last week, the 10-year note yield momentarily dipped below that of the 2-year yield (it did not close below that mark) and this has set off a frenzy of commentary that in my opinion, is completely misplaced.
Article Category: Oil
I’ve used this analogy before, but on days like today, one can’t help but feel like investors are nothing more than Pavlov’s dogs, salivating for the inevitable treat they’ve been conditioned to expect. As for Pavlov, he is of course played by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, also known as the Wizard of Oz.
When the market collapses as it did during December, it’s usually a function of ETF and futures driven selling. Rather than going through the process of selling individual stocks, larger investors use these baskets of securities to effectively sell everything at once. This is especially true when we’re talking about short-term, algorithmic style trading.
I’ve been in the retest camp for some time now, expecting the market to plumb the lows from Christmas Eve, but the market has steadfastly moved higher. In part this is due to earnings coming in better than expected (and guidance not being as awful), but I also believe a lot of it has to do with the marked shift from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.
This is one of those tricky times when it appears that both data and price action are pointing in a multitude of directions. Let’s go over some of the key variables.
First, to set the stage, I think it’s important to note that peak economic growth is probably behind us for this cycle. Thanks to fiscal stimulus measures that should’ve been reserved for periods of economic weakness, but were instead used as afterburners, the U.S. economy reached an annualized growth rate of 4.2% in the second quarter.