What Could Slay The Stock & Gold Bulls

Put/call ratio didn‘t lie, and the anticipated S&P 500 upswing came on Friday – fireworks till the closing bell. Starting on Thursday, with the rising yields dynamic sending value stocks higher – and this time technology didn‘t stand in the way. What an understatement given the strong Friday sectoral showing, acocmpanied by the defensives swinging higher as well. And that‘s the characterization of the stock market rise – it‘s led by the defensive sectors with value stocks coming in close second now.

Still last week, the market confirmed my early Friday‘s take:

(…) While it‘s far from full steam ahead, it‘s a welcome sight that the reflation trade dynamic has returned, and that technology isn‘t standing in the way. I think we‘re on the doorstep of another upswing establishing itself, which would be apparent latest Monday. Credit markets support such a conclusion, and so does the premarket turn higher in commodities – yes, I am referring also to yesterday‘s renewed uptick in inflation expectation.

Neither running out of control, nor declaring the inflation scare (as some might term it but not me, for I view the markets as transitioning to a higher inflation environment) as over, inflation isn‘t yet strong enough to break the bull run, where both stocks and commodities benefit. It isn‘t yet forcing the Fed‘s hand enough, but look for it to change – we got a slight preview in the recent emergency support withdrawal and taper entertainment talking points, however distant from today‘s situation.

Commodities have indeed turned again higher on Friday, as seen in both copper and oil – and so did inflation expectations. While some central banks (hello, Canada) might be ahead in attempting to roll back the emergency support, the Fed isn‘t yet forced by the bond market to act – which I however view as likely to change over the coming months.

With 10-year Treasury yields at 1.67%, last week‘s decline didn‘t reach far before turning higher. Remembering stock market woes the first breach of 1.50% caused, stocks have coped well with the subsequent run up – while in the old days of retirees actually being able to live off interest rate income, a level of 4% would bring about trouble for S&P 500, now the level is probably just above 2%. Yes, that‘s how far our financialized economy has progressed – and I look for volatility to rise, and stocks to waver and likely enter a correction at such a bond market juncture. As always, I‘ll be keeping a close eye on the signs, emerging or not, as we approach that yield level.

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