Despite the Fed’s tough-talk about getting the funds rate above 5%, monetary and liquidity measures are significantly less bearish. Thank SVB depositors, who required a bailout big enough to reverse five months of QT in just two weeks. The market reaction looks like that after September 2019’s Overnight Repo-market turmoil, which forced the Fed to end its first experiment with QT.
In 2019 and 2020, our regard for time-tested valuation tools resulted in tactical portfolios being underexposed to stocks during a pair of tremendous rallies. Now, the critique is that we don’t appreciate the brilliance of today’s policymakers and their miraculous ability to pivot just when the stocks (and, in the latest case, the economy) need it most.
Based largely on the bearish trends in our monetary and liquidity measures, we were correctly negative on stocks throughout most of 2018. It’s therefore especially painful for us that 2019’s market rebound has been credited almost entirely to the “pivot” in most of those measures.
We always do our own work and draw our own conclusions. Lately, though, we’ve wondered what the late “Monetary Marty” Zweig might say about the stock market’s current liquidity backdrop.
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.