While the celebration over Jerome Powell’s “Christmas Capitulation” lingered throughout February, we’re still awaiting signs the capitulation consisted of anything more than words.
Throughout the spring and summer, the market could alternatively be characterized as “divergent” or “disjointed”—but until very recently it could not be considered “distributive.” Now, Mid and Small Caps have hit a short-term air pocket and breadth figures were exceptionally poor at September’s scattered highs in the DJIA and S&P 500.
Yes, bulls and bears now hold their respective positions for the same reason—i.e., the U.S. economy is exceptionally strong. The stock market is accommodating this rare bipartisanship with sufficient reason to support either position.
Evidently, being a bull in a bull market is no longer good enough.
The S&P 500 has gained about 5% on the year, respectable but hardly consistent with the “melt up” scenario we thought might occur.
We have mentioned a number of times that China had experienced a very unpleasant “second-hand” tightening due to its peg to the dollar. Its trade competitiveness has suffered tremendously. With a weaker dollar the Chinese Yuan can re-gain some of its competitiveness while maintaining its peg to the dollar. A rare win-win in today’s convoluted world of finance.
We’ve written before about retail investors’ tendency to “conflate” stock market action with movements in the underlying economy. Misunderstanding this interrelationship generally causes the public to liquidate stocks when the economy is weak, only to ultimately buy them back when the economic recovery is obvious to all.
There’s an overwhelming consensus that the U.S. economy has slipped into a long-term phase of declining growth in real GDP and chronically higher unemployment. Here’s a dissenting opinion from a client, along with Steve Leuthold’s response.
It is very possible that the early part of 2008 will see a brief period of higher inflation combined with slowing real growth in the U.S. economy.
What little discussion of a possible U.S. recession there had been in the first half of the year has dried up with an apparent pick up in the economy. “Inside The Stock Market” this month presents a 2008 Recession Watch, identifying some indicators which may prove useful in assessing the possibly of a coming recession.