Taper Smoke And Mirrors

Once in a while, stocks close in red – is that a reversal or the most the bears could hope for these days? Thursday‘s hanging man got its follow through, yet the bulls staged a rebound into the close. Perhaps that‘s as good as the selling pressure gets, for I think the path of least resistance is still higher in S&P 500.

If you look at the VIX or the put/call ratio, Friday‘s setback is readily apparent, and stocks seem ripe for an upswing now. Fed‘s Kaplan did its job with the taper talk, yet I think he played the bad cop part – the Fed will really act ostrich in the face of not so transitory inflation, for as long as the Treasuries market doesn‘t throw a tantrum.

And the 10-year yield has been quite well behaved lately, closing at 1.65% only on Friday. The April calm seems to be over, and I‘m looking for the instrument to trade at 1.80% at least at the onset of summer. Then, let‘s see how the September price increases telegraphed by Procter & Gamble influence the offtake – will the price leader be followed by its competitors? That‘s one of the key pieces of the inflation stickiness puzzle – and I think others will follow, and P&G sales and profitability won‘t suffer. The company is on par with Coca Cola when it comes to dividends really.

Once there, we would progress further in the reflation cycle when inflation is no longer benign and anchored. We‘re though still quite a way from when the Fed tries to sell rising rates as proof of strengthening economic recovery – once the bond market would get to doubt this story though, it would be game over for its recent tame behavior.

Friday‘s retreating Treasuries though didn‘t lift gold, and neither helped miners – it‘s not that inflation expectations would be sending a conflicting signal, as these slightly receded too. Inflation at the moment is probably still too low for the complacent market lulled to sleep by the transitory story, but look for that to change.

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