RUNNING FOR COVER: FINANCIAL MARKETPLACE ADVENTURES © Leo Haviland May 3, 2022
A character in the film “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” reasons: “Now look, let’s be sensible about this thing. There’s money in this for all of us. Right? There’s enough for you, there’s enough for you, and for me, and for you, and there’s enough for…” [They all race to their cars]. (Stanley Kramer, director)
Sustained rising United States Treasury interest rates and a strong US dollar have played critical roles in creating the January 2022 price peak for and subsequent declines in the S+P 500. Increasing yields not only in America but also within emerging marketplaces, as well as the powerful dollar, assisted the construction of the earlier high (around February 2021) for emerging marketplace stocks in general. The ongoing UST and other yield climbs of recent months alongside the strong dollar have reestablished long run price and time convergence between the S+P 500 and emerging marketplace equities. The major trend toward higher US and other rates, alongside the high US dollar, and interrelating with the downward trends in the S+P 500 (and other advanced nation stocks) and emerging marketplace equities, probably have created summits for commodities “in general”.
The price spike in commodities (enlist the broad S&P GSCI as a benchmark) beginning in December 2021/early 2022 of course underscored inflationary fears, which assisted the rise in interest rates, thus helping to precipitate down moves in the S+P 500 and other stock marketplaces. However, the rising UST (and international) yield trend and strong dollar situation preceded the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022.
For a long time, yield repression by the Federal Reserve and its central banking friends created negative real returns relative to inflation for US Treasury and many other global debt securities. This very easy money policy (assisted by gigantic money printing/quantitative easing) and enormous US (and other) government deficit spending (especially after the advent of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020) generated enthusiastic quests for yield (adequate return) by investors and other traders in stocks, lower-quality debt instruments (such as corporate and emerging marketplace sovereign bonds), and commodities. This helped to produce monumental bull trends in these playgrounds. Wall Street and the financial media eagerly promoted the reasonableness of these yield hunts. The sleepy Fed watchdog and other virtuous central bankers were long complacent about inflationary dangers, labeling inflationary signs as temporary, transitory, the result of supply bottlenecks, and so forth. Nowadays, these more vigilant guardian bankers, alarmed by the highest inflation in several decades, have commenced a rate-raising campaign.
Thus the sunny “search for yield” landscape for the S+P 500 and associated stock, debt, and many commodity marketplaces has darkened. An anxious “run for cover” liquidation of assets by many investors and other owners probably has been underway. Compared to the time just prior to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic (and the 2007-09 global economic crisis), the Federal Reserve (and other central bankers) and the American and other national governments probably have much less ability to readily rescue the S+P 500 and other “search for yield” marketplaces.
Previous essays noted that the S+P 500 probably peaked on 1/4/22 at 4819. Looking forward, the S+P 500 probably will venture significantly beneath 5/2/22’s 4063 low. The bear trend in emerging stock marketplaces will continue. Over the long run, given the American (and global) inflation and debt situation, the yield for the US Treasury 10 year note probably will ascend above its recent high around three percent, although occasional “flights to quality (safe havens)” and thus interim yield declines may emerge. Remember that the dollar rallied from April 2008 to March 2009, alongside the S+P 500’s collapse from its important mid-May 2018 interim high (S+P 500 major high October 2007) to its major bottom in March 2009. However, and although it is a difficult call, the current bull trend for the United States real Broad Dollar Index probably will attain its summit in the near future. Commodities in general (spot; nearest futures basis) probably made a major high in early March 2022 and will continue to retreat, although there may be brief price leaps above previous tops in “have-to-have” (very low inventory) situations.
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Running for Cover- Financial Marketplace Adventures (5-3-22)