201806.15
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Dovish = Uncertain, Therefore Dollar

Back a few months ago when Europe was booming, or at least everyone was sure that this one particular economy was, market futures prices indicated an expectation for the first European rate hike to take place by Q2 2019. That was consistent with the US Federal Reserve’s experience as well as how the mainstream narrative…

201803.22
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If Powell Is Angry And Disgusted, That’s A Small Positive

According to one research company, new Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was disgusted and angry at his press conference yesterday. The firm, Prattle, employed facial recognition software to track Powell’s expressions throughout his inaugural press conference. By their count, he was disgusted 36 times, angry 41 times, and expressed contempt another five. Powell conveyed joy…

201803.21
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No Hawks Nor Doves, Just Dollar

On January 24, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin either misspoke or let slip a Freudian sort of wish. Extolling a weak rather than strong dollar, it was seemingly a total break from longstanding official US policy. It’s not really a policy anyone takes too seriously, if for no other reason than the dollar isn’t really a…

201803.13
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The X’s and Y’s Of Jerome Powell & The Long End, As Calculated by Eurodollar Futures

For the end-of-bond-bull-market-crowd, 3% is a line in the sand. There is no inherent significance in that number, except that it’s a round one. The benchmark 10s as of now trade with regard to that level as if it’s a ceiling. That’s what makes it so momentous. In 2013, the yield finally broke 3% the…

201803.07
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Really Looking For Inflation, Part 2

Continued from Part 1 What these unusually weak productivity estimates lean toward is, quite simply, the possibility the BLS has been overstating jobs gains for years. In early 2018, there is already the hint of just that problem in a 4.1% unemployment that doesn’t lead to any acceleration in wages and labor income. What it…

201803.07
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Really Looking For Inflation, Part 1

Most people have been looking at Jerome Powell’s Chairmanship of the Federal Reserve as continuity, a comprehensive extension of Janet Yellen’s (and therefore Bernanke’s). This would by nature include all the nasty habits Chairman Yellen had picked up during her one term. At the top of that list is the word “transitory”, particularly how it…

201802.27
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Does It Always Have To Begin In Farce?

Imagine you live in a terrific neighborhood backed right up to a large wilderness. This heavily forested area has inside of it grown up a tremendous amount of underbrush. The local government, concerned for your property as well as those of your neighbors, starts making noises about taking care of the land before it dries…

201802.07
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Global Asset Allocation Update:

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor the allocation to bonds is 50%, risk assets 45% and cash 5%. Despite the selloff of the last week I don’t believe any portfolio action is warranted. While the overbought condition has largely been corrected now, the S&P 500 is…

201802.06
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Welcome Jay Powell, The Circular Hawk

Jerome “Jay” Powell was added to the Federal Reserve Board in May 2012. Quite an auspicious time to be thrown into things, Powell had avoided the “unexpected” liquidity crisis of 2011 but he did have to deal with its aftermath. By September of 2012, the Federal Reserve was once again debating yet more QE; a…