THE WOLF STREET REPORT

Market Exuberance Ends, Pain Starts

In the 14 months from the presidential election through January 2018, the Dow soared 49%. Housing prices soared too. The real economy followed. Consumers went on a spending spree. But now, this phenomenon — the surge in exuberance among consumers, investors, homebuyers, speculators, business-decision makers, and the like, often called the “Trump Bump,” whether or not Trump had anything to do with it — is petering out. So what will happen as this exuberance deflates? (13 minutes)

Further reading:

In the Seattle metro housing market, inflection point was July. Conditions have deteriorated since. Read… Bubble Trouble: Seattle-Bellevue Metro Housing Market Goes South

In the San Francisco and Silicon Valley housing market, sellers got the memo and cut prices. Read…. Housing Downturn Arrives in Silicon Valley & San Francisco

It has been a wild ride for the US oil & gas sector, fueled by cheap money and by dashed hopes of high oil prices. Read…  How US Oil Booms & Busts Hit Industrial Production  
 

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  56 comments for “THE WOLF STREET REPORT

  1. Rowen
    Nov 18, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Wolf, excellent report, but you forgot a huge macro trend from 12/16-1/18, the sell-off of the USD (the 3-year highs and lows basically bookend the 14 month period). The reversal started around 4/18. It could be higher interest rates; it could have been repatriated earnings under the Trump tax cuts; it could be a flight to safety.

    Now, I’m trying to figure out which is the cart, and which is the horse.

    • Nov 19, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Rowen,

      I like to use the WSJ dollar index (BUXX) rather than the DXY because the currency basket is much larger than that of the DXY. It includes currencies of the largest US trading partners, such as Mexico, China, South Korea, the Russian ruble, etc. This is a much more accurate reflection of the dollar’s position against the rest of the currency than the DXY (limited to EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, SEK, CHF).

      And the dollar as per BUXX is not at a multi-year high. It just recovered some but not all of the massive plunge in 2017 and early 2018. The BUXX is at 90 right now. In late 2016, it was at 93.5.

      The dollar ran up right after the election in late 2016, but in early 2017 it began plunging against the currencies in the BUXX basket, even as the Fed was unwinding QE and raising rates. This was counter-intuitive. From Jan 2017 through mid-Feb 2018, it dropped about 12%, the worst drop in over a decade.

      I think the dollar is in a pretty good place right now, back where it had been through much of 2015 and early 2016, but below the highs in late 2016.

      Given current monetary policies in the US vs the Eurozone, UK, Japan, and China, the dollar should be fairly strong.

      The US runs a huge trade deficit (no matter what the dollar does). But a strong dollar helps keep import inflation low. So this is a good thing.

      US companies complain because they have to translate their foreign revenues and earnings into stronger US dollars, and that doesn’t look good during their earnings reports. But that’s their problem, and it’s a paper problem, and investors can make their own decisions about it.

      But for the US economy, the dollar is in about the right spot.

      Anything but a weak dollar is painful for emerging market companies and government that borrow in dollars. But it’s their own fault. They shouldn’t borrow in dollars to begin with.

      Borrowing in dollars (a currency they don’t control and cannot print) regularly caused these reckless governments to default (Argentina et al.). Countries should manage their own currencies properly, and then they could borrow cheaply in their own currency, which they can control.

      Greed makes them borrow in dollars, and greed is now getting expensive. It’s a problem they willfully created on their own volition while chasing someone else’s cheap money, and they and the investors that, also driven by greed sent their dollars that way, need to pay for it now. It’s an endlessly repeated cycle.

      • Dan Romig
        Nov 19, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        Well stated Wolf. Greed is usually expensive – sooner or later.

        • Tom Jones
          Nov 19, 2018 at 8:13 pm

          Unless you’re a US Banker, then you get a free ride and bailout so you can start being greedy all over again.

      • J.M.Keynes
        Nov 19, 2018 at 12:42 pm

        – There’s another force at play in the emerging markets. Some countries are also getting squeezed/”ground up” between the USD and the EUR/european currencies.
        – A good example was the Asia crisis in the 2nd half of the 1990s. Between 1984 and 1995 the USD fell against the DEM. It boosted (export) profits in SE-Asia and Argentina. But when the USD started to rise against the DEM between 1995 and 2001 those same economies saw all the beneficial trends go into reverse.

      • Alex
        Nov 19, 2018 at 8:07 pm

        So BUXX is only on WSJ website?

      • J.M.Keynes
        Nov 25, 2018 at 2:48 pm

        – Argentina actually made a (much) worse decision in the early 1990s. It pegged its currency to the USD in 1990/1991. And the country paid dearly for that decision.
        1) Interest rates collapsed with this peg instituted. It allowed the argentinian governments (plural) to increase their debts even more.
        2) Exports of socalled “soft commodities” (priced inUSD) (massively) benefitted from this peg because the USD continued to fall in the 1st half of the 1990s against european currencies.
        – But between 1995 and 2001 the USD rose against european currencies/DEM and that squeezed profits of exports to Europe.

  2. Howard Fritz
    Nov 18, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    The gradual increase in interest rates and the continued deflation of the market houses are the forces that will normalize asset prices, barring any major crisis of course. This will also be a major boon for savers as well, in fact, Wolf has written about this for a while now, the real questions when will rates for cash deposits at financial institutions actually increase by appreciable levels?

  3. Louis I Margolis
    Nov 18, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    this move in nat gas is unsustainable. it makes economic sense in BTU terms but the price is unlikely to hold above $4.

    • Unamused
      Nov 19, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Natural gas prices are sure to decline, but that’s the least of it. U.S. solar and wind plants are not only cheaper than coal plants, they are also cheaper than new natural gas plants, and that’s before operating costs. The bad news is that they won’t save you from catastrophic climate change, even if economics were allowed to drive the changeover from fossil fuels to alternatives.

      McNamee’s confirmation guarantees that coal, oil, and gas will be increasingly subsidised, and alternatives will be increasingly restricted, to make fossil fuels ‘competitive’. It is US national policy and the policy the US increasingly imposes on the rest of the world.

      It’s too late anyway. You can watch the desertification of the US west coast in real time, along with the glib policies which ensure it. News of related processes elsewhere in the world are suppressed, as is news of increasing pollution of all types. Europeans are already avoiding the US because the food supply is unsafe, but that is another story and shall be told another time.

  4. Louis I Margolis
    Nov 18, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    during the Obama administration, very little was written about the $20 TRILLION that was transferred from savers to borrowers as a result of the zero interest rate policy. ZIRP
    One could call this the greatest tax increase on the wealthy by a wide margin in history.

    • Si
      Nov 19, 2018 at 6:23 am

      I see it more as a tax on ordinary savers which went TO the wealthy.

  5. 2banana
    Nov 18, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    The irony is in a normal non post QE economy – falling oil prices would been seen as a very positive factor for the US economy.

    • Nov 19, 2018 at 1:38 am

      Well, it is good for part of the US economy; and it’s bad for another part of the US economy.

  6. Ishkabibble
    Nov 18, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Absolute proof of the failure of the experiment called capitalism is now before our eyes.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/11/17/national/future-foreign-worker-influx-met-hope-concern-kansai-business-world/

    Capitalism is a failure because it requires a wildly expanding human population as well as perpetual war — either of which will inevitably sound the death knell for humanity. The Japanese Elite would rather start importing population than seek an alternative to a system in which the vast majority of wealth and large scale capital equipment is owned/controlled by a microscopic percentage of the population for its own astronimical profit.

    I’m sure the new immigrants are going to just love competing with the local people who are literally working themselves to death.

    • nofreelunch
      Nov 19, 2018 at 8:57 am

      The alternative system is where no one has a reason to work at all, because there is no incentive to do so, creating food, medical, and fuel shortages. Work yourself to death, or starve to death. Capitalism is a system where man exploits man, but socialism is the reverse of that. If people would voluntarily work collectively on collectively owned property, I should see people bringing cleaning supplies with their picnic food to the park on a sunny Sunday to scrub the public toilets in the park. I never see that.

      • Ishkabibble
        Nov 19, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Who cleans the toilets in this community?
        https://www.twinoaks.org/
        Do you think that necessary work in that community is peformed by desperate Filipinos or desperate Mexicans or desperate Guatemalans, etc., who are imported to do all the dirty work?

        What if there were NO human beings living outside of Japan, with its decreasing population? Just exactly HOW would a system in which the vast majority of wealth and large scale capital equipment is owned/controlled by a microscopic percentage of the population for its own astronimical profit carry on? WHO in that society is going to clean the toilets and how much will the Elite have to pay them to do it?

        • earl d
          Nov 19, 2018 at 12:12 pm

          One curious historical observation is that, in Europe, the plague can be seen as a stimulus for the industrial revolution and an over all economic plus rather than minus. Among the reasons is that the severe, cross-class, population declines it caused encouraged capital formation, increased the value of labor, and stimulated the creation of technology to minimize labor costs. Similar counter-intuitive results can also be seen in the operation of colonial systems and in institutional slavery in the US political South. That doesn’t directly confirm or refute the assertions in the above comments, but it should encourage one to be wary of arguments that are heavy on moral polemics and light on quantitative data and objective perspective.

        • Cynic
          Nov 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm

          There’s always someone to do the worst imaginable jobs.

          The lowest level in the tannery industry used to be the dog shit collector who prowled the streets.

          The next step up, apprentice tanner: stirring the diluted dog shit by hand.

          ‘I got you a great start in life son,and you can only go up!’ ‘Thanks dad, what is it?’ ‘Well….’

        • MooMoo
          Nov 22, 2018 at 9:05 am

          real socialism might start when government forgoes the benefits it brings them. like their ridiculous gold-edged pensions and benefits.

          we’ve just lived through a socialist experiment… free stuff everywhere… and government issued so much debt we’re going to drown in it.

          oh yeah, lets have more government… that’ll work.

      • RangerOne
        Nov 19, 2018 at 10:42 am

        I just want to point out that the reverse of “man exploiting man” is man exploiting man.

        • earl d
          Nov 19, 2018 at 11:46 am

          Indeed. That’s the joke

        • Setarcos
          Nov 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm

          Man exploits man versus Man exploits man… true and a very clever way of putting it

          I would add that as a worker who has been productive, I have been exploited to varying degrees by capitalists. However, I have possessed and actually increased 5 key things – 1 the ability to make choices about what labor I supply, where and how I supply it, 2 competition and compensation for my labor 3 wages that were not spent and provided capital to others and most importantly 4 self esteem and 5 happiness.

          The underlying concepts do not work in reverse – Force is ultimately required if the unproductive wish to exploit the productive. And forced labor is the least efficient labor so the standard of living must decline.

          My guess is that most read the good work written on this site to improve their ability to make choices about their labor and/or their capital. If that ability to choose was lost, this site would have far fewer readers and may well cease to exist.

    • Nicko2
      Nov 19, 2018 at 10:25 am

      We are quickly heading to a 10 billion human global population. That’s 2 billion MORE people over the next 25 years – or, nearly 100 million more people every single year here on planet Earth. With Japan’s NEGATIVE population growth, they desperately need more immigration. Isolationism, anti-globalism, and xenophobia is the path to ruination.

      • Rowen
        Nov 19, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        I’m still can’t comprehend whether the BoJ understands that increasing asset prices requires a broad population pyramid; it’s the buying pressure from the next generation that pushes current prices up.

        So how in the world will that happen in Japan. Bringing in foreign workers as second class citizens doesn’t solve the buyer problem.

        Maintaining artificially high asset prices so that there’s no family formation sure doesn’t solve the population problem.

        To earl d above, I’ve always been of the belief that WWII was the perfect storm in getting the US out of the Great Depression. 1) culled the 18-54 male population (ugg, reducing unemployment, also higher wages/benefits because of worker shortage). 2) reshaped the population pyramid, by decreasing the top increasing the bottom. 3) punitive top tax rates (90+%) decentivized wealth accumulation, therefore spreading over a wider base, and 4) broken windows all over Europe/Japan.

        So, what I think we’re seeing is 30 years of monetary policy attempting to maintain asset prices, despite the unwinding of those above factors.

        The “meta” question i’ve been wrangling with all weekend. Is it possible to have positive interest rates in a closed system that facing population decline??? I don’t think it is; I’m just wrestling with the mechanism.

        • Briny
          Nov 19, 2018 at 2:21 pm

          Gee, thanks! Now you have me wandering about in my models on this.

        • Briny
          Nov 19, 2018 at 5:42 pm

          For my sins, I used to be a “special projects” field engineer and when I no longer could work in the field, went back to the uni and drifted into economics. (Scarcity and constraints are equivalent.) The only way I can that happening is through ever increasing levels of automation and would depend on tax policy, namely the differential between productivity ROI and allowed depreciation. There may be a feedback loop I’m not seeing here, though.

    • Nick
      Nov 19, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      This is utter nonsense. That is not “capitalism” that is corporatism. Capitalism is simply the ownership of the means of production nothing more nothing less…….everything else is just a variation, a corrupt one at that.. I.e. land and natural resources at the heart of it. Ask yourself wihy government and people like Ted Turner own most of the natural wealth in this country. Ask yourself why private logging companies, mining companies, etc. are irreversibly extracting OUR natural resources. EVERY American should be given several acres of forest land, farm land, mining rights to do with it as they see fit. Sell it, farm it, mine it, etc. They can open up a business with the profits. They can go buy real estate whatever. Point is from birth we should ALL be mini capitalists with a right to ownership to a piece of this planet. Is there enough to go around? 6 billion plus people? Of course not but that is how capitalism finds a balance. The FED is completely anti-capitalism by printing endless amounts of fake money.

      Our founding fathers never ENVISIONED corporations to be equal to people. That right there is the problem. They should not have legal personhood etc.

      • Unamused
        Nov 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm

        ->Our founding fathers never ENVISIONED corporations to be equal to people.

        Untrue. Even in the 18th century it was one of their primary fears. They envisioned that corporatism would eventually rule and the Constitution would become hollow, including most presidents up to Eisenhower, after which they seem to have shut up.

  7. OutLookingIn
    Nov 19, 2018 at 3:32 am

    Where is the capital going?
    In the month of October more than $53 billion was withdrawn from US based taxable bond funds. The largest withdrawals on records dating back to 1992. Just in this past week there were $131 million of withdrawals from municipal bond funds. This marks eight straight weeks of withdrawals.
    Investment grade funds are suffering from major outflows of liquidity, as investors turn their backs on US corporate credit. Losses are mounting as liquidity wanes. Where exuberance ends, fear begins.

  8. Mick
    Nov 19, 2018 at 4:05 am

    I would argue that the glacial pace of rate hikes has only served to increase complacency, despite the tightening credit markets. Then suddenly, the frog realized it was being boiled alive, but by that time it was too late to do anything about it.

    • MC01
      Nov 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

      The complacency was chiefly created by two factors: first the idea “something” would force the US Federal Reserve to reverse course and restart QE, cut rates or whatever. Second, the fact most of the world is still deep in Monetary Hell and unlikely to ever emerge from it.
      The first hasn’t got any further than the now infamous Wall Street crybabies and Trump tweeting furiously about stock markets. Nowhere near enough to even bother the Fed.
      The second… Reverse Yankee issuance has been slashed by 43% in 2018 over 2017 so far despite very favorable spreads (on average a smidge over 200bps). Uncertainty about what monetary course the EMU will take once we finally get rid of Draghi and his cohort reigns, so US corporations did the sensible thing and took advantage of Trump’s generous tax cuts to bring their cash home.

      Of course there are also other issues at play: for example Boeing and US aerospace contractors (from Pratt & Whitney, Hartzell and Hamilton-Sundstrand downward) have been literally flooded with orders for aircraft by Asian and European companies relying on perpetual dirt cheap credit, growing passenger volumes and low fuel prices (not everybody edges…) for their grandiose expansion plans. Personally I am extremely skeptical about these plans (see how most Indian carriers struggle despite all these conditions) and believe most of these orders will end up being savagely slashed if not canceled, and this will affect manufacturing.
      However I believe this will take a while to play out because order books are so huge at the moment deleted orders can be simply replaced by giving the delivery slot to the next in line, but eventually they will be felt.
      Stay tuned, same Bat-Channel, same Bat-Hour.

      • Maximus Minimus
        Nov 19, 2018 at 2:48 pm

        You said: “finally get rid of Draghi and his cohort reigns”. As I understand it, Draghi might go, but the board will remain, and the putatively more sensible fellow will have a struggle against it. Or not?
        The cutting down of airline expansion to size, on the other hand, couldn’t come soon enough.

  9. KPL
    Nov 19, 2018 at 4:58 am

    “I would argue that the glacial pace of rate hikes has only served to increase complacency, despite the tightening credit markets.”

    I would agree with this. I think it has to do with what the Fed has done to save the markets since 2009 everytime it has fallen. So no one believes the Fed and are sure it will drop everything and come running to its rescue should it look like falling apart. Incidentally this shows the moral hazard that is the norm in the markets today courtesy the Fed’s intervention (talk and action whenever the market sneezed) during the last decade. This anchor will be broken ONLY when the ed does not intervene when the markets fall hard. That has to be seen to be believed!

  10. earl d
    Nov 19, 2018 at 6:01 am

    One lesson that I don’t think was properly absorbed from the dot.com 1.0 crash, which has now receded to into a historical event with litter more relevance than the stock market crash of 1929 or 1987’s black Friday, was that many of the companies that succumbed knew they were in an era of irrational exuberance and thought they had a clear path to solvency, i.e. had cost structures that simply required them to cut back on marketing to create cash positive financials.

    What doomed many of those that operated in the Internet media and what would come to be called social media space was that the bulk of their sales came from the marketing budgets of other Internet companies, who were likewise planning on cutting back on marketing spending. Thus the colossal scale of the die off. What has also been forgotten is how little effect that implosion had on the real economy. The US economy did in fact go into a very mild recession approximately one year after the bust, but that could be just as well attributed to compounding effect of the early 2001, Enron engineered rolling blackouts in CA, which inflicted $40 – $45 ($57 – $65 in 2018 dollars) billion in direct damages to the US real economy.

    That interlocking of tech (one can’t really even call them Internet companies because that’s redundant, e.g. Apple is much more of an Internet digital media syndicate than it is a hardware or software firm) companies is quite likely just as extensive now as it was in 2000, the big difference being that that now tech *is* the real economy. If dot.com 2.0 blows up in the same way dot.com 1.0 did, there would simply be nothing left.

  11. mark
    Nov 19, 2018 at 6:34 am

    So kind of “….a permanently high plateau…” ???

    • Nov 19, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Long-drawn-out zigzagging lower.

      • andy
        Nov 19, 2018 at 10:32 pm

        Well, Nvidia went straight down, didn’t it. Lost half in vertical line. So far.

        • Nov 20, 2018 at 12:39 am

          Yeah, and there will be plenty that will go to zero. But there are thousands of stocks and they’re not going there all at the same time, thank goodness :-]

      • MooMoo
        Nov 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

        The Dow has gained 50% in three years and is flat YTD… and 10% off the highs

        I don;t see a crash… I see a correction… and seeing the move since 2009…. this market needs one. A 33% retrace would be healthy.

        So yeah, stand aside if you like…. that’s trading over investment… but I don’t know why everyone is screaming like the sky is falling, cause it ain’t.

        • Nov 22, 2018 at 10:19 am

          MooMoo,

          The S&P 500 (by a hair) and the Dow aren’t EVEN in a “correction” yet.

          But for your amusement, in a few hours, I’ll post an article on the 438 NYSE stocks that have plunged 40%-85% from their 52-week highs. These are just stocks traded on the NYSE, not Nasdaq stocks. There are about 2,051 stocks on the NYSE. This list will include big names. There are plenty of stocks like this on the Nasdaq too.

  12. Iamafan
    Nov 19, 2018 at 8:25 am

    After reading this article:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-19/-nothing-safer-than-cash-tech-rout-puts-silicon-valley-on-edge
    I can maybe say it’s time to get scared at little bit.

    Wolf, I wonder why the Treasury Yields have been weak for the last 2 weeks given the amount of money the Treasury needs.
    Care to tell us what is going on?

    • Nov 19, 2018 at 9:41 am

      If you look on a multi-year chart, the daily and weekly volatility in yields looks right in line with overall rising rates.

      That said, some time ago (earlier this year or last year, I can’t remember), the Treasury made a strategic decision to issue more of its debt concentrated on shorter maturities, five years and down. This I think is helping keep the 10-year yield lower. If the Treasury tried to take advantage of the still very low 10-year yield (today 3.08%) and issue more of it, yields at the long end of the curve would rise, and the curve would steepen. I would love to have been the fly on the wall when those decisions were discussed and made.

      • Iamafan
        Nov 19, 2018 at 11:54 am

        I guess there are many folks like me – retired.
        I rely mostly on un-earned income and might not have enough time to wait for a recovery after a nasty downturn. That said my investments are mostly in short-term Treasuries at this time. Living on a yield of 2.6 to 2.8 isn’t that bad. I’m more concerned about the return OF income. Besides Treasury Interests are not State taxable and are “safe”.

        That said, an increase on Treasury Yield is what I look forward to. For this reason, timing is very important – especially the timing on when to shift my short-term vision to longer term, like 10 Year notes.

        https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=m7sW

        I have noticed that 10 year tends to peak near the time the Yield Curve Inverts. If the last two decades sort of repeats itself, then we might be looking at 10Y yields around 4%, maybe more.

        But rate inversions tend to happen with high effective Fed Funds rates. Therefore, I am looking for the Fed Funds Rate to increase and the Yield Curve to invert before I move from short-term (2 years or less) to 10 Year so I can get a decent yield for longer before the Fed eventually lowers the Fed Funds rate to deal with the impeding recession.

        So Wolf what do you think of this “retirement” plan?

        • Bobber
          Nov 19, 2018 at 12:41 pm

          I would consider moving it gradually over a long period of time, according to a strict schedule, to avoid making any big mistakes. That type of plan is also less stressful and easier to live with. Who needs more regrets in old age.

  13. Marcus
    Nov 19, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Every time I see a historic chart of unemployment rates, I’m struck by the way rising rates have a steep vertical slope while falling rates ease down over many years. And when I look at where we are now, I cannot expect anything but a rapid jump in unemployment. It happens over and over and over again. Why would it be different this time? And this is what I think will be the trigger for the acceleration of this downturn. The low unemployment has actually been bringing some modest improvements in wages. Once jobs become more scarce, this will stop and the asset bubble will become even more outsized.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE/

    • Nov 19, 2018 at 11:16 am

      This is really key: the Fed WANTS the unemployment rate to tick up to a “sustainable” level. A low unemployment rate and tight labor market causes wages to rise, in theory, which is a form wage inflation, which in theory triggers consumer price inflation.

      So the labor market overheating is something the Fed is trying to prevent — hence the return to “neutral” (ca. 3% federal funds rate). This is official policy.

      Until the federal funds rate reaches “neutral” (ca. 3%), the Fed is just removing stimulus in order to keep the labor market (among other things) from overheating.

      There has never been a period of zero interest rates that lasted this long. And moving away from it “gradually” will create all kinds of new dynamics that we have not seen before, and that may yet surprise us.

      • Marcus
        Nov 19, 2018 at 3:07 pm

        To your point about what the Fed WANTS versus what has happened every time in history… Looking at the unemployment numbers from the past, they are always rising or falling. There aren’t stable times at all. It’s gotta be the most cyclical measure out there. And when unemployment increases, it shoots up rapidly to a peak. Why would anyone think the Fed could ease into more unemployment. It literally never happens. Every single time the numbers hit a bottom, they launch (I’m not being dramatic. The charts support this). I’m also not arguing with your position… rather trying to extend the conversation, because I look at the historical charts and I think that unemployment will be in the 7-8% range in no time. That seems important when the everything bubble is so perfectly inflated.

      • Setarcos
        Nov 19, 2018 at 4:05 pm

        Ah yes, where the Fed’s goal of stable prices is in conflict with their goals for maximizing employment.

        There are still former workers who are willing or want to work on the sidelines even as many others have been re-entering the workforce. Would assume the folks coming off the sidelines best possess skills required and/or stand to benefit more from actually working. The folks who have remained on the sidelines aren’t in the unemployment number, so would be interesting to know how the Fed views them. For example, are they considered differently versus those in the unemployment number relative to inflation pressure and the FED’s goals of maximizing employment?

  14. Nov 19, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    There are plenty of reasons to assume markets can continue higher from here, for one thing many major stocks have already corrected. On a individual selection basis many are attractive buys. The Feds next rate hike is a non sequitur. Rates are coming back, as money piled out of the market and into bonds. The basis for an extended market rally is low volume (the weapon of the bull) while sellers are absent. We are seeing capitulation in selling (year end) which is only money that will go back to work. The corporate bond bubble can wait until another day. Its really too big to move right now, markets achieve stasis on the basis of size. The Trump bump will transition to the Trump dump, without much problem. It’s like hiring a new CEO, that’s usually good for a company that has problems. No bogies on the horizon, liquidity, EM crisis, etc etc. Enjoy the ride

  15. J.M.Keynes
    Nov 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    – I still have to be convinced that the FED will raise in december this year.
    – When the US economy starts to weaken (more) then I am NOT convinced that the FED will raise (again/more) and even lower rates.
    – We also could already be in a new secular cycle with rising interests. Then the behaviour of short term rates, the yield curve will be much different. Then I expect that the FED will raise rates in spite of a weakening US economy.

    • Iamafan
      Nov 19, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      By the time the Fed meets in December 18-19, about a month from now,
      where do you think the 4-week T Bill High Rate Yield, the EFFECTIVE Fed Funds Rate will be?

      https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=m7Jl

      There is LESS than half a basis point between the 4-week, the EFFECTIVE FFR and the IOER. Chances are we will exceed the target withing one month so the Fed has to make a decision to make a new higher target.

      Of course, the bottom of the market can fall and the Fed panics.

      • Setarcos
        Nov 19, 2018 at 4:33 pm

        The sad part of this is we’re only talking about a few basis points. For example, a prudent saver who has accumulated $1 million for a “safe” investment can still only earn a paupers $20-30K per year. 2yr vs 10 year is only a $2-3k spread. The even sadder part is this person is now ecstatic because a couple years ago his $1 million produced a real loss each year.

        …and depending upon their consumption patterns, their real return is still easily only a small fraction of the $25K. If paying for insurance, healthcare or for someone to go to college, their purchasing power could still be declining.

  16. Iamafan
    Nov 19, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    I downloaded the Fed Balance Sheet.
    For November these are maturing Treasuries:

    U.S. Treasury Notes and Bonds
    Maturity Par Value Monthly SOMA
    Date (in Thousands) Totals Amounts

    11/15/18 3,842,000.0
    11/15/18 122,282.3
    11/15/18 30,339,856.6
    11/30/18 2,767,228.7
    11/30/18 5,652,000.0
    11/30/18 16,496,968.3 59,220,335.9 29,220,335.9

    Since the ROLL OFF is limited only to 30B a month, then about 29.22 Billion will be reinvested for November.

    The following are the weekly stats:
    November 7, 2018
    US Treasury Bills (T-Bills) 53,000.0
    US Treasury Notes and Bonds (Notes/Bonds) 2,115,516,723.2
    US Treasury Floating Rate Notes (FRN) 17,245,206.4
    US Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)* 115,578,709.4
    Federal Agency Securities** 2,409,000.0
    Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities*** 1,668,988,694.1
    Total SOMA Holdings 3,919,791,333.1
    Change From Prior Week

    November 14, 2018
    US Treasury Bills (T-Bills)
    US Treasury Notes and Bonds (Notes/Bonds) 2,115,516,723.2
    US Treasury Floating Rate Notes (FRN) 17,245,206.4
    US Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)* 115,578,709.4
    Federal Agency Securities** 2,409,000.0
    Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities*** 1,670,824,668.7
    Total SOMA Holdings 3,921,574,307.7
    Change From Prior Week 1,782,974.6

    Essentially the same amount of Treasuries (other than 53 mil. of T bills) are still held by the Fed.

    Considering that 29.22 billion is the planned REINVENSTED amount for November, does that mean that this amount (29.22 billion) has to be the SOMA Reinvestment (for 2 year up to 30 year bonds) for the remaining two weeks of November?

    This is a huge hidden QE in my opinion.
    No wonder the yields can be kept low.

  17. J.M.Keynes
    Nov 25, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    – Rising interest rates also have a MAJOR impact on (US) companies that bought back their stock with borrowed money. Those companies (e.g. GE) now have to roll over that debt at higher rates.
    – Perhaps W. Richter has more company names that have done this ? IBM ? ……………………. ?

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