Leo Haviland provides clients with original, provocative, cutting-edge fundamental supply/demand and technical research on major financial marketplaces and trends. He also offers independent consulting and risk management advice.

Haviland’s expertise is macro. He focuses on the intertwining of equity, debt, currency, and commodity arenas, including the political players, regulatory approaches, social factors, and rhetoric that affect them. In a changing and dynamic global economy, Haviland’s mission remains constant – to give timely, value-added marketplace insights and foresights.

Leo Haviland has three decades of experience in the Wall Street trading environment. He has worked for Goldman Sachs, Sempra Energy Trading, and other institutions. In his research and sales career in stock, interest rate, foreign exchange, and commodity battlefields, he has dealt with numerous and diverse financial institutions and individuals. Haviland is a graduate of the University of Chicago (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Cornell Law School.


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The Federal Reserve Chairman (Jerome Powell) recently stated that the path to the Fed’s two percent inflation target was “sometimes bumpy”. (Remarks at the 3/29/24 “Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy Conference”, San Francisco Fed; see Financial Times, 3/30/24, p1)



Since around end December 2023, global inflationary forces probably have become stronger (or at least more firmly entrenched). Note the increase in the United States Treasury 10 year note yield and prices for commodities “in general” since then. Recent consumer price index measures, despite having fallen from their peaks, remain fairly distant from the Federal Reserve Board’s targets. The Fed therefore will find it difficult to reduce its Federal Funds policy rate nearly as much as many marketplace participants hope. The US dollar has remained strong, appreciating slightly since year end 2023; this suggests that American interest rate yields probably will remain rather high. America’s substantial national debt problems remain unsolved (as does China’s), with little prospect of progress anytime soon. Ongoing large federal government budget deficits and high and growing debt as a percentage of GDP tend to boost interest rate yields higher. 

Many times over the past century, significantly increasing United States interest rate yields have preceded a major peak, or at least a noteworthy top, in key stock marketplace benchmarks such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S+P 500. Marketplace opinions regarding substantial growth in US corporate earnings prospects for calendar years 2024 and 2025 look very optimistic. Whereas the S+P 500’s towering bull move carried into March 2024, US existing single-family home prices remain beneath their June 2023 peak. 

The US national political scene in general and election season 2024 in particular add to financial marketplace risks. 

Bitcoin and gold trends offer insight into patterns and prospects for other marketplaces, including the S+P 500. 


In the classic American film, “All About Eve” (Joseph Mankiewicz, director), the actress Margo Channing (played by Bette Davis) declares: “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” 


The Wall Street securities investment communities and their political and media allies have applauded lower United States inflation rates. Widespread faith exists that the trusty Federal Reserve will achieve its two percent inflation target fairly soon. Stock owners have been especially enthusiastic as the S+P 500 has flown to new highs in the hopes of further drops in key inflation measures and notable cuts by the Federal Reserve in the Fed Funds rate. 


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Marketplace Travels- Potential Bumps in the Road (4-2-24)


“The Great Game: The Story of Wall Street…An original two-hour documentary event that spans the 200-year history of American capitalism.” (New York Times; 5/28/00, p13; regarding a CNBC television program)


Many times over the past century, significantly increasing United States interest rates have preceded a major peak, or at least a noteworthy top, in key stock marketplace benchmarks such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S+P 500. The yield climb sometimes has occurred over a rather extended time span. The arithmetical (basis point) change has not always been large. Sometimes the yield advance has extended past the time of the stock pinnacle. See “Long Run Historical Entanglement: US Interest Rate and Stock Trends” (7/6/23). 

Of course, since marketplace history indicates that ongoing relationships can shift or transform, the current patterns between the US Treasury 10 year note yield and the S+P 500 (and the US dollar) can change. 


In any case, will the long run pattern of rising UST 10 year note yields resume in the near term, thus leading to eventual S+P 500 declines? The Fed Chairman’s 12/13/23 comments do not explicitly rule out future Fed Funds increases. Or, even if the UST 10 year note yield does not exceed its 10/23/23 pinnacle at 5.02 percent in the near term, suppose its yield climbs toward that height. 

Alternatively, suppose the UST 10 year note yield does not in the near term make a new high around or above 10/23/23’s 5.02 percent, or climb fairly close to 10/23/23’s yield top. Does the recent slump in UST yields portend not only future Fed easing, but also a recession (rather than a soft landing)? Monitor commodity price weakness in that regard. Therefore, from this perspective, the rise in the UST 10 year yield up to 5.02 percent on 10/23/23 has been leading to a later high in the S+P 500 than the July 2023 one. In this scenario, the S+P 500 price rivals or surpasses its January 2022 peak. 

Thus will a new bear marketplace trend for the S+P 500 involving multiple tops emerge? In addition to those of January 2022 and July 2023, will another one be created near those heights? The S+P 500’s record peak is 1/4/22’s 4819. The S+P 500’s 12/28/23 high at 4793 almost matches this. The 7/27/23 elevation is only 4.4 percent distant from the major price resistance imposed by 1/4/22’s summit (4607/4819 is 95.6pc). A five percent decline from January 2022’s pinnacle equals 4578, close to 7/27/23’s 4607 height. The 4578 level stands midway between important prior S+P 500 interim tops at 4639 (3/29/22) and 4513 (4/21/22) attained amidst the bear move which began in January 2022. A 33 percent rally from 10/13/22’s trough equals 4655. The S+P 500 probably will not exceed its January 2022 peak by much if at all. A five percent venture over 1/4/22’s 4819 equals 5060. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average’s record high is 1/2/24’s 37790, about 2.3 percent over 1/5/22’s 36953 pinnacle. 

Looking forward over the horizon, arguably “around” end-year 2023/during first quarter 2024 is a time when a key top in the S+P 500 will appear. Incremental year-end stock buying “to put stuff on the books” (or to discard losing short positions) by definition finished a few days ago. Will the US have a federal government shutdown during first quarter 2024 due to a legislative logjam? What if the inflation rate does not  keep falling toward the Fed’s two percent target? Will the Fed in any case keep its policy rates lofty for many more months? 

History shows that the S+P 500 has achieved several important peaks and bottoms during first quarter. As for major highs, the record S+P 500 price to date of 4819 occurred 1/4/22. Recall 2/19/20’s 3394 pinnacle. The S+P 500’s established a major high over two decades ago on 3/24/00 at 1553. Going back 50 years, the S+P 500 peaked around 121.7 on 1/11/73 (the Dow Jones Industrial Average crown occurred on 1/11/73 at 1067.2). What about major bottoms? A peak around first quarter 2024 would be a four year diagonal bull move from the coronavirus disaster major low of first quarter 2020, 3/23/20’s 2192. The 12/26/18 key bottom at 2347 neighbors the first quarter. The 2/11/16 trough at 1810 (1/20/16 at 1812) was very important. Also in regard to the calendar first quarter window, remember the aftermath of the Goldilocks Era; the worldwide economic disaster bottom for the S+P 500 was 3/6/09’s 667. The final low following 3/24/00’s summit was 3/12/03’s 788 (10/10/02 bottom at 769).

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Financial Playgrounds- the Money Games (1-2-24)


In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”: “For, you see, so many out-of-the way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.” (Chapter I, “Down the Rabbit Hole”)



“US Dollar and Other Marketplace Adventures” (2/5/23) stated: “Based upon the Federal Reserve Board’s real and nominal Broad Dollar Indices, the United States dollar probably established a major top in autumn 2022.” This remains the case. 

The US dollar also probably made an important interim top during October 2023. 

Variables encouraging US dollar weakness include America’s declining share of global GDP in an increasingly multipolar world. In addition, the nation’s federal debt situation is fearsome and worsening, especially from the long run perspective. America’s severe political  divisions, ongoing and wide-ranging culture wars, and the upcoming 2024 national election season make substantive fiscal solutions unlikely anytime soon. Ideological splits and battles of course do not confine themselves to the United States. However, the severity of those in America, as well as substantially diminished faith in many American institutions, help to encourage dollar weakness. The very uncertain outcome in America’s 11/5/24 election makes ownership of the US dollar and dollar-denominated assets seem increasingly risky. The potential for legal (including Constitutional) troubles relating to Trump’s Presidential candidacy are part of this worrisome picture. 

After US and international consumer price inflation soared in 2022, the Federal Reserve has been a leader in the quest to reduce it to tolerable levels. Its monetary policy tightening program (including rapid boosts to the Federal Funds rate, cutting the size of its enormous balance sheet, and hawkish rhetoric) has played a key role in creating and maintaining a very strong dollar. To the extent the Fed changes its policy to a less restrictive stance, its leadership role probably will tend to depreciate the dollar.

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US Dollar Voyages- Adventures in Wonderland (12-3-23)


W.H. Auden’s poem “The Age of Anxiety” asserts: “When the historical process breaks down and armies organize with their embossed debates the ensuing void which they can never consecrate, when necessity is associated with horror and freedom with boredom, then it looks good to the bar business.” (Part One, Prologue). And the character Rosetta states (Part One): “Numbers and nightmares have news value.”



Financial marketplaces and other cultural battlegrounds always include and reflect diverse and contending perspectives and actions. They also inescapably involve values and emotions. In culture, values and emotions permeate viewpoints, thought processes, and behavior. 

Within and regarding the competitive interest rate, stock, foreign exchange, and commodity arenas (and other economic fields), marketplace perspectives (outlooks; orientations), arguments, and conclusions are always subjective, matters of opinion. So are the selection and assessment of variables (facts, factors, evidence, information). Although agreement often is widespread, so is disagreement. Views compete. After all, marketplaces have bulls and bears, long and medium and short term traders, various advocates of fundamental and technical methods, and so forth. Opinions regarding history, probability, and causation differ. Hence prices and price relationships fluctuate, sometimes dramatically. In addition, rhetoric aims to persuade audiences (including oneself) that a given goal, view, or action is good (or “reasonable”, “rational”, prudent, wise; or better than alternatives), less good, neutral, or bad. In cultural fields, this uncertainty of viewpoint and the differences in behavior create agitation, though levels of excitement/emotion (relative calmness) differ. Anxiety can vary in intensity for a given individual or an “overall” community over time, or between a person and group at any given time. 

For some marketplace participants, apparent cascades of diverse and often changing information can increase agitation (anxiety). “How does one keep up with it all? Information sure travels fast these days.” Perceptions (faith) that “the world” (or some part of it) has become more complex can boost anxiety (tension). 

Trading risks and uncertainty of outcome generate agitation and anxiety; enthusiasm, greed, fear, and hope abound. Investors and other courageous trading warriors fervently battle to win the valued (good) American Dream cultural goals of wealth and financial security. Making money and achieving wealth (financial security) makes many people happy and feel successful. Making and having sufficient money is a means to the “good life” and a “better life”. Marketplace playgrounds can be exciting and entertaining too! In quests to make money and avoid losing it, many devoted fortune seekers compare their performance with that of others, which enhances ongoing inevitable passions. 


In general, large armies of securities “investors” and other owners in stock and interest rate realms (especially in stocks) love high and rising prices and hate low and falling ones. After all, those security assets represent big money (trillions of dollars and other currencies). Wall Street’s key role in capital formation and investment (wealth management) encourages it to promote bullish outlooks in securities marketplaces (particularly in stocks). Consequently, a significant price decline (and of course especially a sustained one) in both equity and interest rate arenas is especially agitating (in the sense of being upsetting, a source of unhappiness) to securities owners in America (and around the globe) and their Wall Street, financial media, and political comrades. Substantial wealth destruction due to bloody securities price declines also can damage economic growth, perhaps helping to produce a recession. What if house prices also slump? 


Rising United States interest rates have helped to propel (lead) the S+P 500 lower. The S+P 500 currently is attempting to hold support at around a ten percent decline from its late July 2023 peak. However, long run American stock marketplace history indicates that large and scary falls occur; the average percentage retreat from the peak to the trough is roughly 33.9 percent. The average duration of the descent from the summit to the bottom runs approximately 14.2 months. Marketplace history of course does not have to repeat itself. However, as a bear marketplace trend for the S+P 500 probably commenced in late July 2023, and as the decline thus far only has been 10.9 percent over three months, its bear campaign has quite a bit more distance and time to travel downhill. 


Some would argue that the financial (economic), political, and social worlds, both in America and around the globe, are especially agitated (anxious) nowadays. In any case, “the cultural situation” does not appear peaceful in many respects. 

Since “economic”, “political”, and “social” fields are entirely cultural (subjective), they are not objectively (scientifically) different territories. In any case, culture wars across economic, political, and social dimensions in America arguably are diverse and intense at present and likely to remain so for quite some time. All else equal, this suggests that the resulting agitation and anxiety make it challenging for American politicians to adequately resolve their differences and solve important problems (such as those relating to government spending). This is particularly true as the nation’s 2024 election approaches. Cultural wars thereby significantly influence interest rate, stock, and other financial marketplaces. 

Cultural feuds also exist in other leading nations. Moreover, especially in today’s globalized and multipolar world, cultural hostilities can and do cross national boundaries, which in turn can directly affect financial marketplaces, which increase anxiety (agitation) regarding and within them. Picture the rich versus poor divide, democracy versus authoritarianism, capitalism (free markets) against socialism, and religious differences. Those wars of course can be military, as the violent Russia/Ukraine and Hamas/Israel situations demonstrate.

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Financial Battlegrounds- an Age of Anxiety (Continued) (11-1-23)