WALL STREET TALKING, YIELD HUNTING, AND RUNNING FOR COVER © Leo Haviland May 14, 2019

“‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).” “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, by Lewis Carroll (Chapter II, “The Pool of Tears”)

CONCLUSION: GOLDILOCKS ERA, REVISITED

Historians should wonder if the Federal Reserve Board and its friends in central banking (and assorted comrades parading in some political corridors and media circles) nowadays are aiming to manufacture an updated version of the joyous last stage (ending in 2007) of the magnificent Goldilocks Era.

Lower United States Treasury yields and the sunny prospect of continued benevolent Federal Reserve policy reappeared around end December 2018/early January 2019. The rapid bull climb in the S+P 500 from then until the beginning of May 2019 to some extent reflected hopes of further (adequate) American and global economic expansion.

However, the frantic price rally in several key marketplace benchmarks commencing around end year 2018 also probably reflected an ardent quest for “yield” (“return”) by “investors” and other asset purchasers. In addition to buying the S+P 500, yield hunters searched for sufficient return in territories such as other advanced nation stocks, emerging marketplace stocks, lower-grade United States corporate debt, emerging marketplace sovereign debt securities denominated in US dollars, and the petroleum complex.

Of course cultural history does not necessarily repeat itself, either entirely or even partly. Marketplace phenomena (conditions; variables), including relationships between them and perspectives on them, can and do change, sometimes dramatically. Rhetoric (stories) relating to economic and related playgrounds seek not only to explain viewpoints and situations, but also to guide behavior.

Later stages of economic expansions (so-called cycles) often are distinguished by what many players, including leading and widely-respected economic guardians and policymakers, decide to overlook or minimize.

This ardent quest for yield probably manifested that America is in the waning period of the epic economic expansion that followed the dreadful economic disaster of 2007-09. Even if a recession does not occur in the United States (or in other advanced nations), a noteworthy slowdown in global real GDP growth (including China and other emerging realms) likely is or soon will be underway.

“Economic Growth Fears: Stock and Interest Rate Adventures” (4/2/19) stated in regard to the S+P 500: “The September/October 2018 elevation [2941 (9/21/18)/2940 (10/3/18)] probably will not be broken by much, if at all.” The recent price declines in the S+P 500 (5/1/19 high 2954) and other advanced nation stocks, emerging marketplace stocks, emerging marketplace dollar-denominated sovereign debt, and the petroleum complex probably signal that many dutiful profit hunters (and probably some other investors/owners) have started running for cover (begun to liquidate their long positions).

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Wall Street Talking, Yield Hunting, and Running for Cover (5-14-19)