Another Taper Mirage Comes And Goes

S&P 500 succumbed to the bears – partially. The ADP figures lifted the dollar and put Treasury yields under pressure, which equals encouraging speculation that taper is coming. Rest assured, it isn‘t in practice, apart from communication exercises otherwise known as forward guidance, all happening during a week when the Fed injected $32bn into the markets. Today‘s non-farm payrolls can modestly boost that fata morgana, but it‘s a taper bridge too far. They can‘t meaningfully tighten, and they know it – look what happened last time Powell emphatically insisted (Dec 2018).

But the market reaction is what matters, and yesterday‘s session in (not only tech) stocks, precious metals and commodities, highlights the degree to which the transitory inflation story has been swallowed hook, line and sinker, dialing back the inflation commodity trades meaningfully (sideways). Should the transition into a higher inflation environment be appreciated for what it is, the dive in gold, silver and copper wouldn‘t have been that steep. On the other hand, the sharpest moves tend to be the countertrend ones – yes, I‘m still of the opinion that the current reflationary period with reopening rush (more juice left in value over growth trades) is conducive to higher stock market and commodity prices. Including precious metals, naturally.

For more proof, look at the barely budging inflation expectations (TIP:TLT rather than RINF which got spooked a bit too much – similarly to tech yesterday), and have a read of my extensive Wednesday and Thursday analyses, well worth it each but best when combined for your daily dose of countenance in the markets. What‘s new now, are the taper starting date (as if the discussion was initiated in the first place at all) considerations:

(…) what‘s holding stocks then? Neither uncertainty about the Fed policy, nor surging inflation cutting into P&L, nor crashing bonds – what we‘re seeing is run of the mill volatility as stocks move both into a structurally higher inflation environment, and await Fed moves which are much farther down the time line than the markets appreciate. Heck, even the option traders keep undergoing the earlier announced shift to complacency.

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