Archive for the ‘Fed’ Category

Notes From Underground: Powell Seeks to Reestablish the Authority of Markets … Maybe?

October 7, 2018

I am positing this idea because I think it’s critical to current valuations of various asset classes. The nine-year rally in the U.S. (and to some extent the global equity markets) has stretched valuations as ultra-cheap money has pushed investors into taking risks larger than what many money managers and retail investors would do “normal” circumstances. This was ultimately the Bernanke plan the former chairman laid out at Jackson Hole in 2010 (simplified in Bernanke’s Washington Post op-ed as the PORTFOLIO BALANCE CHANNEL). The long-term problem for investors is that Bernanke and Janet Yellen were terrified of market reactions whenever they desired to halt the massive QE programs and their beloved use of FORWARD GUIDANCE.

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Notes From Underground: Powell Confirms It Ain’t Rocket Science

September 26, 2018

Over the last nine years, a major theme from the wit and wisdom of Notes From Underground has been that FED policy is not rocket science, the premise being that no matter how much math is applied the forecasting ability of the FOMC has been less than stellar because of the use of flawed models. Unlike genuine rocket science in which astrophysicists can land a vehicle on the moon and return the capsule to a pre-programmed landing site, the FED cannot predict the economy with any sense of proximity. Yet the FED built a massive balance sheet depending on those flawed models. The financial media was awed by the high maths of the FED‘s models so mainstream pundits offered little to no pushback, genuflecting at the altar of academia.

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Notes From Underground: Fed Forecast — 100% Chance of a 0.25% Rate Hike

September 25, 2018

The market is absolutely, positively certain that the FOMC will increase the FED funds rate by its Greenspanian 25 basis points, although there are some Wall Street pundits suggesting the possibility of a 50 basis point hike because of the recent return of robust data. I have suggested that the FED would have done well by raising rates in a more aggressive fashion. But with the November elections within polling range, Trump’s trade policy causing angst in the emerging markets and several of U.S. trading partners, it’s looking very unlikely (less than 5 percent chance).

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Notes From Underground: Trump Moves Markets Without Moving His Fingers

August 21, 2018

The noise just keep on coming and each are disrupting the markets in its own way and the president. Monday’s headlines from the financial press had large impacts on GOLD, COPPER, EQUITIES, and, of course, CURRENCY markets. Let’s look at the substance of the comments.

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Notes From Underground: Chairman Powell, Ask the Wizard for Some Courage

August 1, 2018

The FOMC issued a very bland statement on Wednesday after its two-day meeting. Why did they bother convening for two days to deliver a policy statement that they phoned in last month. In my opinion, Jerome Powell missed a perfect opportunity to flex the FED‘s independent muscles by NOT RAISING RATES. The recent GDP data, inflation measures and robust jobs market provided ample evidence that the market is in need of another interest rate hike.

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Notes From Underground: Areas of Global Macro Concern

July 24, 2018

President Donald Trump’s continuous tweeting creates volatility in the markets but the impact lessens as participants become hardened to the vagaries of the tweets. An area that does concern me, though, is the amount of insider trading I suspect is taking place.

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Notes From Underground: The Sins of Wages

July 17, 2018

Tuesday was the first round of the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony to Congress. The Senate Banking Committee questioned Powell about recent Fed decisions and looked for some guidance as to how the FOMC viewed the current state of the domestic and global economy. There were many questions about the impact on the economy from the Trump tariffs, which the Fed chairman adroitly evaded and put the onus on Congress, where it rightly belongs.

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Notes From Underground: The Summer Doldrums

July 10, 2018

There are storms brewing but for the moment markets are stuck in the Doldrums waiting for the winds to increase in velocity. The issues confronting the market are all too familiar as NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND has been categorizing for the previous months.

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Notes From Underground: Headlines Drive the Algos and the Circle Remains Unbroken

June 12, 2018

I’m going to be off for a few days, even if this Fed meeting proves to be the most market-moving week in many years.

The news from North Korea proves to be a non-event (as suspected). On Wednesday, we get the FOMC statement, which OUGHT to meet market expectations with a 25 basis point increase and some sense of the interest on excess reserve (IOER) rate in reference to fed funds. There is much discussion about the FED reaching “normal” interest rates, meaning neither too weak nor too strong to reach its dual mandate.

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Notes From Underground: Bored By Italy, But I Digress

June 5, 2018

Sorry. The current situation in the European Union has been well forecasted by NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND so until the storm clouds clear and the Italian ruling coalition begins to initiate some of its campaign proposals I treat everything in Europe as a trade and not an investment. Even the talking heads are waking up to the potential financial damage that bank balance sheets loaded with ZERO RISK-WEIGHTED sovereign bonds can cause a healthy bank’s bloated balance sheet.

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