Friday, March 3, 2017

Yellen spoke and the markets fell to sleep 03/03/17

I can't stand Yellen.  But it isn't personal as I can't stand any of them.  World wide economists and financial people hang on every nuance of every thing the Fed people say.  What egos they must have in spite of them not being able to predict anything nor fix anything.



So the world is still left guessing what the FOMC will do on March 15.  I have an opinion.  If the jobs report March 10 is strong they will likely raise rates.  If weak, they won't.  If middling then I will have to look at this:



Why does it matter?  If they don't raise rates I don't think it will be a big deal.  But if they do, because it is done only three months after the last rate hike, it will be perceived as a very hawkish stance and more rates are likely to come faster than anticipated.  The world will have to react because they feel it will cause a massive capital flow out of their countries into the U.S.  It might increase the value of the dollar and lower commodity prices for EMs.

Is that bad for stocks, bonds and real estate?  It is a disaster for bonds.  Probably good for real estate as long as sensitivity to higher mortgage rates suppresses buying.   But stocks is something else.  It is complicated.  I think if the yield curve tightens stocks will react negatively.  First of all, a flattening yield curve immediately hurts banks.  Then banks pull back on lending.  Reduced lending decelerates the money supply.  And that reduces economic activity.  At some point reduced economic activity could pull the positive sentiment out from under the stock market.

Reading the tea leaves of the yield curve and monetary flows is hard.  But I will show some things soon.

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