Notes From Underground: Friday’s Wall Street Rally?

May 31, 2020

Friday’s Wall Street rally into the close of month end was the ultimate statement of the FED listens. Yes, only to the needs of the financial world as ULTRA CHEAP MONEY pushes equity prices ever higher in the search for yield beyond 50 basis points. The BONDS remain bid as short sellers live in fear of central bank intervention. When the 10- and 30-year yields begin to rise the FED speakers discuss the increased possibility of YIELD CURVE CONTROL, or YCC, making it difficult for any type of signaling mechanism to develop.

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Notes From Underground: A Podcast for the Long Weekend

May 21, 2020

This Memorial Day weekend I’m going to take some time to reflect on those who gave their lives to provide the opportunity for all of us. This epidemic has made a shambles of everything we thought was a certainty just three months ago. In that spirit I present a 50-minute discussion with the highly respected Louis Gave of GaveKal on all things macro. Be at peace and enjoy.

Also, a note to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Tone down the China rhetoric, especially on the Taiwan issue. A thermonuclear war is not a quality vaccine against COVID (Where are you Tom Lehrer?)

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Notes From Underground: The Economic Consequences of President Trump

May 17, 2020

(NOTE: The following post is not political in any sense, but just a criticism of a major ill-conceived POLICY.)

This is a story of two pivots.

The first is Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in January 2019. The second is President Donald Trump in May 2020.

Powell’s pivot away from interest rate increases and balance sheet shrinking created a significant rally in equity and asset prices. Trump’s pivot on the DOLLAR will have disastrous results that are manifested in the GLOBAL DEFLATION that central banks have been trying to prevent. What is the reasoning behind the President’s recent shift away from a weak dollar to promoting the positive outcomes of a strong currency?

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Notes From Underground: Myopic Gibberish

May 12, 2020

The Tweeter-in-Chief on Tuesday was pushing on a string as he called for NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES (again). The Federal Reserve is also debating in public the idea of negative interest rates and seemed to believe there are better tools to be utilizing than rates below zero.

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Notes From Underground: Courting Disaster

May 10, 2020

Friday’s unemployment report was as bad as forecast and probably worse. Yes, the unemployment rate was not as high as suspected but once the data was analyzed it appears the actual number was close to 20%. The most problematic data point going forward is the AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS (AHE). The jobs report revealed a historic 4.7% monthly increase but this was for the worst reason.

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Notes From Underground: Been Down So Long, Looks Like Up To Me

May 7, 2020

As I reflect on the past eight weeks it seems that Richard Farina’s cult novel title is very apropos. The weekly rise in jobless claims has resulted in even the less informed becoming aware of the possibility of the unemployment rate rising above 20%.

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Notes From Underground: SNB, Paradigm or Pariah?

May 4, 2020

Question: Why does the Swiss National Bank become an important topic for discussion?

Answer: Since Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” and “no taboos” comments in 2012 about saving the euro. The SNB has been in a defensive position of trying to prevent a dramatic appreciation of the FRANC as the SWISS acts as a haven for Europeans. The geographic location provides for what economists refer to as home basis.

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Notes From Underground: May Day or Mayday Mayday Mayday?

May 3, 2020

On Friday the world “celebrated” May Day, when the red flags of the world’s workers united in solidarity are traditionally unfurled. The fall of the Berlin Wall unleashed the rush for economic development and a plethora of workers in search of capital to lift its productivity. And for the past 30 years have capital and wages have been elevated for the emerging economies yet stagnant for the developed region. It has been capital that has been the recipient of increased profits as global capital went to the lowest wage regions.

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Notes From Underground: Tomorrow the Fed, Then the ECB

April 28, 2020

On Monday, the Bank of Japan promised to buy all the bonds (or as much as necessary). On Wednesday, the FEDERAL RESERVE will offer little as they will be following Dr. Fauci’s lead and proclaim to know little about the end of Covid-19, as Chairman Jerome Powell should. But the key will be the market’s search for a timeline in response to a turn in the economy. Wall Street is looking for forward guidance as to when the Powell Fed will PIVOT from the massive liquidity injections. Will it be an inflation target, employment condition or a return to positive GDP? Powell will use DON’T KNOW and will be patient in removing stimulus as wanting to see any secondary effects.

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Notes From Underground: Whatever Happened to the Taylor Rule?

April 27, 2020

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the Santa Mike/Covid relief at St. Vincent de Paul, a long-standing charity that gives every penny to those seeking help for hunger, clothing and medical assistance. Thanks to you, we have contributed more than $30,000 and for that Santa Mike is very grateful. As Mike keeps telling me, “Do you know how much $30,000 dollars of food is when bought in BULK?” This truly makes a difference for those struggling to get by in these extremely difficult times. SO THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH. Every donation matters and there are multiples because Peter at St. Vincent de Paul has procured some donors who are doing matches. That only makes NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND worth doing in even bigger ways.

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