Posts Tagged ‘Jerome Powell’

Notes From Underground: Chatting With Bill Laggner of Bearing Asset Management

February 4, 2019

On Jan. 30, I had the pleasure of sitting in with Bill Laggner and Richard Bonugli for another Financial Repression Authority podcast. These discussions provide a forum to discuss pertinent issues regarding the efforts of policy makers that impact the creation of wealth, as well as its distribution. I refer to this as POLITICAL ECONOMY. The podcast was recorded four hours before the release of the FOMC statement and Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference. The FED chairman provided further insight into the walk-back of “automatic pilot” as he addressed concerns about the headwinds building in the global economy.

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Notes From Underground: Hello, 2019

January 6, 2019

“I am a sick man. I am a wicked man.”

So opens the Dostoyevsky novella Notes from Underground. Sometimes I seem to be caught in a similar existential trap as I analyze the global macro data and fundamentals. I am sick because I continue to pursue the opportunities that explode before me. I have taken a turn for the worse and become sick because of the constant flow of manipulated headlines crafted to purposely activate the trading algorithms. Tweets and headlines with no context have become the coin of the realm, especially for high frequency trading operations. But their role in the market jungle does little to dissuade meĀ  from honing my craft. The bottom line: Greater preparation and more patience is needed.

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Notes From Underground: And To All a Good Year

December 23, 2018

We are heading into the last trading week of the year and it’s setting up to be volatile, to say the least. The FED is in motion. Equity investors are harvesting profits from a long-run bull market. Bond markets are uncertain as how to react to the end of QE since the central banks are now beginning to shrink global reserves (at least the Fed is). Commodity prices are struggling due to the fear of a global economic slowdown. And the political backdrop adds great uncertainty as the Trump administration never misses an opportunity to open its mouth and detract from any policy success it may experience. China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and even Saudi Arabia are watching the Western Democracies to see how they respond to Trump’s efforts to disrupt the current trading system and, more importantly, the rollback of PAX AMERICANA.

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Notes From Underground: The Umpire Strikes Back

December 19, 2018

The Fed chairman is situated as the key arbiter of the economy and rules via its DUAL MANDATE. Given that it has a research staff of at least 500 economists the FED positions itself as ALL KNOWING, which is certainly okay as long as it accepts the consequences and lays aside the use of counterfactuals when its policies may turn out to be very misguided.

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Notes From Underground: Seasons Greetings From 1850 K Street

December 18, 2018

On Wednesday the most discussed FOMC meeting in years will take place. The FED has put itself into a box through its use of forward guidance and of the DOT PLOTS to direct investor sentiment. By skipping a rate hike at its November 8 meeting Chairman Powell put the burden on December with a heightened sense of a rate rise as it has a scheduled press conference. There is a murderers row of financial heavyweights arguing for the FED to ABSTAIN FROM A RISE IN RATES and wait for more data to ascertain whether the equity markets are signaling a genuine concern on economic problems, or are merely repricing risk that had premiums WAY TOO LOW during the halcyon days of harmonized QE. As the FED shrinks its balance sheet, the ECB is finished with liquidity. Once you add the BOJ dancing to the tune of a decimated bond market, global liquidity is being restrained.

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Notes From Underground: Markets Are Rounding Third and Sliding Into Home

December 16, 2018

As we head into the final two weeks of the year, the global equity markets are “sliding into home.” Equities sold off again on Friday as the Chinese tariff saga is failing to provide support to the market. Weekend news conveyed the idea that the market was reacting to this week’s FED meeting and the very high probability of another increase in the central bank’s target range. This is a stretch because investors have been aware of the FED‘s limitations under its own “forward guidance,” trapped into a rate hike for fear of spooking the market if no increase was decided.

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Notes From Underground: Seriously, It Ain’t Rocket Science

November 28, 2018
I know my readers are tired of my typical line of cynicism but it has never been more relevant than this week. On Monday, NASA succeeded in landing a space vehicle on Mars. HOWEVER, the FOMC can’t even define what the NEUTRAL RATE of interest is for the U.S. economy.

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Notes From Underground: Mario Draghi, The Magician of Frankfurt

October 24, 2018

After the Swedish Riksbank’s decision on Wednesday to keep rates at -50 basis points and pledging to raise rates in the coming months, the Bank of Canada met market expectations by raising its overnight rate by 25 basis points. The most important information from Governor Poloz is that the BOC raised rates even though last week’s inflation data was much softer than expected. The BOC official statement noted that the global economy is solid, the reconciliation over the USMCA is positive and “rates to rise to a neutral stance to achieve inflation target.”

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Notes From Underground: A Fresh Glance at Markets

October 21, 2018

Exactly two weeks ago we at Notes From Underground published, “Powell Seeks To Reestablish The Authority of Markets…Maybe?” While I was off enjoying my daughter’s wedding, the December S&P futures had closed at 2895 on Oct. 5 (unemployment Friday). I warned that the market was misjudging Chairman Jerome Powell as he seemed impervious to equity and bond market corrections. The algos are built on the FOMC being quick to defend the elevated levels of the bond and equity markets.

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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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