We had to get back home
And when we opened up the door
We had to get back home
And when we opened up the door
Janet Yellen and the FED take center stage tomorrow and the consensus is for NO CHANGE. The market believes the FED will be on hold until March. BUT I OFFER THIS: If I was the FED chair I WOULD RAISE RATES 50 BASIS POINTS to take some of the risk out of the U.S. equity markets. The S&Ps are virtually unchanged since the December FOMC meeting but the market’s enthusiasm for anticipated tax cuts, regulatory relief, and possible currency intervention means the FED cannot wait to let the economy run “hotter for longer,” especially because of the 4.7% U3 unemployment level. If Chair Yellen wishes to burst the TRUMP exuberance it is time to move aggressively to stem the rise of a potential inflationary threat.
Today I did an interview with Anthony Crudele, a trader’s trader, on Futures Radio. It was a fifteen-minute discussion about the Fed’s actions yesterday. Rather than writing up my thoughts I feel it is better for my readers to turn into listeners. This is an in-depth way to convey my thoughts, and, as with Rick Santelli, when a person of market intelligence asks questions the conversation is at a much higher level. If only Rick Santelli and I had this much time. Oh well, it’ s just a podcast away.
Yes, the day of decision is upon us and everybody is SURE of a 25 basis hike from the FOMC. IF I WAS IN CHARGE–NO, NOT JOSE CANSECO, WHICH WOULD BE MONETARY POLICY ON STEROIDS–I WOULD RAISE RATES 50 BASIS POINTS AND ISSUE A WARNING OF MORE AGGRESSIVE INCREASES TO COME. Alas, I am but ashes and dust. The FED has prepared the market for a certain 25 but here are the things to watch:
The first Friday of the month brings big news for the data dependent Fed. The market consensus is for 185,000 job gain and average hourly earnings increase of 0.2% and the work week to remain unchanged at 34.4 hours. In my opinion, a HUGE increase of 300,000 jobs with another 0.4% increase in wages (similar to last month) would bring great pressure on the FOMC to increase FED FUNDS more than the market’s expectation of 25 basis points. What I am saying is purely THEORETICAL but it would make for an interesting discussion for the DATA DEPENDENT FOMC. It’s especially interesting as the exuberance of the tax cuts, infrastructure projects, rollback of regulation, the equity markets should prompt the asymmetrical nature out of the FOMC decision-making process.
Sometimes looking back provides perspective in moving forward. As December begins we know the year-end is the global market’s attempt to position themselves for the coming year. The rise of populist voices has certainly sent tremors through financial markets. The most interesting aspect is how short-lived the disruptions have been. Brexit, no problem; coup in Turkey, no problem; Chinese economy sputtering, no problem; Donald Trump becoming the U.S. President, no problem; and this week’s Italian referendum, no problem.
The world’s central banks believe that the massive accumulation of bonds in a global condition of continued QE will be no problem. That is something we will continue to examine in 2017. The FOMC is certainly constrained by its continued asset purchases. The question at the FOMC should be: Why don’t we raise rates by 100 basis points if the TRUMP administration is going to pursue a robust fiscal stimulus? The FOMC model maintains the U.S. is at full employment and a retreat from austerity in the time of full employment OUGHT to be met with a rapid rise in interest rates or at the least beginning the aggressive reduction of the balance sheet. The year ahead will be rife with volatility as politics and debt overhang prove the motors of turbulence.
The world is all abuzz with the good feelings radiating from the aftermath of the Trump victory. However, no matter how long the U.S. equity market rallies, be certain that Trump is not draining the swamp of Washington, D.C. He is proving to be a caretaker. Today’s pick of Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary is just more of the same. Ms. Chao is certainly qualified. After all, she has an MBA from Harvard, but being a past member of the Bush Cabinet means we are using old, worn-out tires. The Transportation Secretary will be overseer of many of the INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS the Donald has promised to deliver. The pork barrel these projects will be dipped in will be beyond lucrative and the wife of Mitch McConnell ought not to have been given this role.
Everybody has opinions on the recent election outcome but as usual most of the opinions are from the echo chamber and not factual in any way. This blog is dedicated to seeking profitable investment and trading opportunities as I sort through the noise of the financial media. As with Brexit, the punditry found itself trapped in its own rhetoric and every prediction but the weakness of the pound proved to be WRONG, at least in the short to medium-term. British Gilts (10-year notes) rallied substantially in the post-Brexit confusion and most importantly the Footise stock index rallied 15% off its election night bottom. The POUND did weaken substantially against the U.S. dollar and the euro currency but I have argued for a few years that the British current account made the relative strength of the POUND to its key trading partners unsustainable.
So Jamie Dimon is being considered for Secretary of Treasury as the theme of Wall Street Insiders being the only “Stuarts” of the financial system remains on the front burner. What is interesting is that the rumors persist even as JPMORGAN is fined more than $280 million for providing jobs for the offspring of the Chinese elites in order to secure an inside track to the China power center. Hey, why not put Dimon in charge of the Treasury? That way he can hire the New York elite’s Ivy League kids for internships and other such jobs. It would really secure the fidelity to JPMorgan wealth management teams even more than being a bank recognized as too big to fail. Again, the most competent person to be the Secretary of Treasury is Sheila Bair for her wisdom, regulatory experience and strength in combating the Wall Street “wizard,” Tim Geithner. Jamie Dimon for Treasury ought to be a non-starter and he would be crazy to take the job for the intense scrutiny he would undergo. Enough of this rumor. Let’s get back to the Fed.