Market Briefing For Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Another example of resilience - leaves S&P near record highs ahead of Fed decision day, although there's mixed behavior in a number of sectors.


Sustaining this extended market is the obvious tough question, and now that everyone expects the Fed to 'go slow' with easing rates, that begs a question as to whether S&P's have a 'relief rally' should the FOMC still talk of plans to ease policy, even as they actually do nothing: 3.5 to 4.0 inflation pace likely.

There is a cyclical bias to the market's behavior, which is a classic hallmark of broadening-out, as we've indicated the key to this long-bifurcated zombie of a market. It's no longer just about relationships to bond yields but nuanced in a way that's less clear-cut than we saw say last year. And it's extended.

Keep in mind high Oil prices and barely slower pace of inflation data in most areas, so the Fed may denote that aspect, which would shuffle the matter. A continued uptick on inflation essentially strangle-holds the Fed and keeps the Fed from being eager to cut rates, simply put.


Market X-ray: 

Tomorrow we'll see if Chairman Powell (he is Chairman, not a 'Chair') acknowledges that dot-plots aren't policy and continues to talk ease, at least for later in the year...and not necessary as a 'nod' to Election Year.

The market has had weeks to ponder this, so maybe less than some expect will occur, as far as market volatility. It's more exciting to talk about Ai, but of course at the moment all eyes have to focus on the FOMC meeting a bit.

The companies that are somewhat excessive in price are those contributing the most dynamic economic growth, and some of the most repressed are at least (in some cases) in the same segments trying to develop their growth.

That's key to our speculating (maybe too much but a bit) in disruptive players in AI, and yes they are volatile, and yes there are shorts and manipulators I'm sure, but the ones with actually substantive products/services will migrate all of this angina and come thru. Can't be certain which, hence a 'sprinkling' as I like to call it.



We'll see if the Fed actually 'starts the process' of easing, but I suspect even if they do, it thrusts S&P higher only briefly before new selling, which may also be relatively brief. Then the Street goes back to an AI focus.

Overall 'Spring' starts rough, but absent the kind of ebullience usually seen at market tops of a broad nature, while there are evidences of parts of domestic economic sectors slowing, which can at least temper the Fed being hawkish.

If the Fed was too, hawkish they'd elevate the risk of recession, and should be content to let Oil prices alone increase the risks of being too restrictive.

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This is an excerpt from Gene Inger's Daily Briefing, which typically includes one or two videos as well as more charts and analyses. You can follow Gene on Twitter  more

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