Everything Going Down The Inflation Drain?

The inflation scare amplified by CPI data caught the mainstream off guard, and the S&P 500 made no attempt at the opening gap. Both the VIX and put/call ratio sharply rose to levels unseen in quite a while – while volatility remains well below the late Jan, Feb, or early Mar spikes, the options ratio keeps trending higher since late Feb.

Technology disappointed and so did the tech heavyweights, but these might put up a fight in the tentative support zone reached. The heavy selling didn‘t spare value stocks or the Russell 2000 either. Emerging markets suffered too, amplified by the rush into the dollar. While steeply up on the day, the greenback is having issues meaningfully extending gains today as not only the USD/JPY pair highlights.

Are there any bright spots in the indiscriminate selling across the many assets?

Credit markets certainly aren‘t one – neither corporate nor Treasury ones. Unless these turn thus facilitating the Nasdaq and S&P 500 rebound, the relief stock market rallies can‘t be trusted yet. Commodities and precious metals held up relatively well, but their test is coming – should the Fed get serious about fighting inflation, commodity superstars such as lumber, copper (extending to silver) would suffer – don‘t look for that though – all we‘re experiencing now, is:

(…) a risk-off move driven by the growing inflation threat – the market is getting attentive again. How long before it forces the Fed to talk, act and not play ostrich? The evidence isn‘t strong thus far, but there is a lot of time left till the Jun Fed meeting. Needless to say, bold moves would crater risk-on assets, which is why I‘m not expecting any real action yet with the 10-year yield…

… at 1.69% only, which isn‘t yet serious enough to spur the Fed into action.

Gold and miners remain relatively resilient, and one isn‘t leading the other to the downside. With high inflation already here (don‘t look for too much relief once the low year-on-year comparison base is history), real rates are turning more negative – and nominal ones aren‘t yet catching up onto what‘s coming. Seriously, I don‘t know why majority of market participants have been caught this much off guard by the inflation data, which is the basis of cost-push inflation I had been talking quite many times already.

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