Has the Fed Already Whipped Inflation?

To hear Jeremy Siegel tell it, the Federal Reserve has already won its fight over inflation and should start taking its foot off the monetary brakes.

“I think the Fed should be near the end of its tightening cycle,” the ubiquitous market prognosticator and Wharton School finance professor told CNBC last week. According to Siegel, current headline inflation may still be high, “but forward-looking inflation has really been stopped. And I think the Fed should really slow down the rate of hiking, and if we get a snapback in productivity that’ll put further downward pressure” on inflation.

Is he right, or is it just wishful thinking so stocks can resume their decade-long winning streak?

Right now the signals look mixed, based on the two most important and widely-followed economic reports issued last week.
According to the Commerce Department, second quarter GDP fell 0.9% at an annual rate, on top of the prior quarter’s 1.6% decline.

Until this year, the mainstream media would have immediately pounced on that as clear evidence that we are officially in a recession, following the traditional definition of a downturn as two back-to-back negative quarters. Now, however, with a feckless president poised to lead his party to an election Armageddon in November, we learn that the old standard simply doesn’t apply anymore, so we can’t use the dreaded “R” word.

Whether that’s pure bias or pure something else that also begins with a B, July’s robust jobs report, which showed the economy added a much higher than expected 528,000 jobs, does create some doubt whether we are in a recession or not, and if so, what the Fed plans to do about it.

Instead of viewing the jobs report as good news being bad news – i.e., the Fed will need to continue tightening to stifle economic growth—and sell stocks, the market instead went up on Friday and continued to rally on Monday morning. Is the recession – if there ever was one – now officially over, the inflation monster slain and no further need for the Fed to continue to raise interest rates? Continue reading "Has the Fed Already Whipped Inflation?"

Strong Jobs Report Abates Fears of Recession

Last week, the jobs report was released. Economists were expecting an additional 258,000 new jobs added last month. The Labor Department’s report revealed that the U.S. economy has had robust job growth last month adding over 500,000 jobs in July.

The exceedingly strong numbers of the report diminished concerns about the United States entering a recession. While this optimistic report bodes well for economic growth, it certainly does not address inflation.

However, it does change market sentiment which had been intensely focused on the last two GDP reports. On July 28 the government released the advance estimate of the second quarter GDP. The report revealed that the GDP had decreased at an annual rate of 0.9% during the second quarter of 2022.

Earlier this year the BEA reported a decrease in the first quarter GDP of 1.6%. The widely accepted definition of a recession is an economic contraction over two consecutive quarters. Continue reading "Strong Jobs Report Abates Fears of Recession"

Crypto Update: It Ain't Over Yet

It was a close call this May with a doom-saying title “Crypto Apocalypse?” where I shared with you an annihilating model for Ethereum and a bearish chart of Bitcoin.

Let us see what happened in the crypto market since then in the chart below.

Crypto Total Market Cap

Source: TradingView

Total crypto market cap had skyrocketed to the maximum of just over $3 trillion last November. Since then, almost ¾ of the total market cap has evaporated on the crypto crash down to $762 billion this June. That hurts!

More than $2 trillion of wealth was destroyed during that collapse. Some people were calling it a “crypto-winter” of the market. All of us have probably noticed that less videos and posts with clickbait titles on “how to become a crypto-millionaire” or new rising stars in the crypto-market have been popping up on social media lately.

In the next market share chart, let's check the status quo of the market leaders.

BTC ETH Dominance

Source: TradingView

During the collapse of the market, the main coin (orange) has managed to increase its market share tremendously from 40% up to 48% on the peak in June. How could that happen as it was bleeding alongside the whole market? The speed of the drop is the main reason. Continue reading "Crypto Update: It Ain't Over Yet"

Should We Prepare For An Aggressive U.S. Fed?

Traders expect the U.S. Fed to soften as Chairman Powell suggested they have reached a neutral rate with the last rate increase. The US stock markets started an upward trend after the last 75bp rate increase – expecting the U.S. Fed to move toward a more data-driven rate adjustment.

My research suggests the U.S. Federal Reserve has a much more difficult battle ahead related to inflation, global market concerns, and underlying global monetary function.

Simply put, global central banks have printed too much money over the past 7+ years, and the eventual unwinding of this excess capital may take aggressive controls to tame.

Real Estate Data Shows A Sudden Shift In Forward Expectations

The US housing market is one of the first things I look at in terms of consumer demand, home-building expectations, and overall confidence for consumers to engage in Big Ticket spending. Look at how the US Real Estate sector has changed over the past five years.

The data comparison chart below, originating from September 2017, shows how the US Real Estate sector went from moderately hot in late 2017 to early 2018; stalled from July 2018 to May 2019; then got super-heated in late 2019 as extremely low-interest rates drove buyers into a feeding frenzy.

As the COVID-19 virus initiated the US lockdowns in March/April 2020, you can see the buying frenzy ground to a halt. Between March 2020 and July 2020, Average Days On Market shot up from -8 to +17 (YoY) – showing people stopped buying homes. At this same time, home prices continued to rise, moving from +3.3% to +14% (YoY) by the end of 2020. Continue reading "Should We Prepare For An Aggressive U.S. Fed?"

ETFs For A Negative Market Turn

Do you believe the current market rally is here to stay?

That belief would mean that despite two consecutive quarters of negative Gross Domestic Profit numbers and the Federal Reserve continuing to increase interest rates as a method to bring down inflation, which is at a level that we have not seen since the 1980s, we actually are not currently staring down the barrel of a recession.

There are economists and market participants currently on both sides of the argument of whether or not we are heading towards a recession.

I am not personally confident enough to invest based on where I think we are heading in the short term. But I still like to know what is available for me to buy if the tide seems to be turning one way or the other.

As I mentioned, I would like to give you a few ETFs that would make you money if the market turns negative. These ETFs are all inverse or leveraged funds, meaning they will experience contango if held for longer than one day. Lastly, I would also like to point out that these ETFs, if used correctly, could help investors hedge their portfolio’s against a market correction.

The first few I would like to mention are the basic inverse ETFs that track major indexes. The Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bear 1X Shares ETF (SPDN) tracks the S&P 500 and will increase in value daily if the S&P 500 goes lower.

For example, if the S&P 500 falls 1%, SPDN will increase by 1%. However, if the S&P 500 increases by 1%, SPDN will decrease by 1%. SPDN and every other ETF I mention today will only produce a near-exact correlation to its corresponding index on a one-day basis. Continue reading "ETFs For A Negative Market Turn"