S&P 500 gave up premarket gains, and closed on a weak note – driven by tech while value pared the intraday downswing somewhat. Market breadth still deteriorated, though – but credit markets didn‘t crater. Stocks look more cautious than bonds awaiting tomorrow‘s Fed, which is a good sign for the bulls across the paper and real assets. Sure, the ride is increasingly getting bumpy (and will get so even more over the coming weeks), but we haven‘t topped in spite of the negative shifts mentioned yesterday.
The signs appear to be in place, pointing to a limited downside in the pre-FOMC positioning, but when the dust settles, more than a few markets are likely to shake off the Fed blues. I continue doubting the Fed would be able to keep delivering on its own hyped inflation fighting projections – be it in faster taper or rate raising. Crude oil is likewise just hanging in there and ready – the Fed must be aware of real economy‘s fragility, which is what Treasuries are in my view signalling with their relative serenity. We‘ve travelled a long journey from the Fed risk of letting inflation run unattented, to the Fed making a policy mistake in tightening the screws too much.
For now, there‘s no evidence of the latter, of serious intentions to force that outcome. Lip service (intention to act and keep reassessing along the way) would be paid to the inflation threat tomorrow, harsh words delivered, and the question is when would the markets see through that, and through the necessity to bring the punch bowl back a few short months down the road.
As stated yesterday:
(…) Global economic activity might be peaking here, and liquidity around the world is shrinking already – copper isn‘t too fond of that. The Fed might attempt to double the monthly pace of tapering to $30bn next, but I doubt how far they would be able to get at such a pace. Inflation and contraction in economic growth are going to be midterms‘ hot potatoes, and monetary policy change might be attempted. Tough choices for the Fed missed the boat in tapering by more than a few months. 2022 is going to be tough as we‘ll see more tapering, market-forced rate hikes (perhaps as many as 2-3 – how much closer would yield curve control get then?), higher taxes and higher oil prices.
Stocks are still likely to deliver more gains in spite of all the negative divergences to bonds or other indices (hello, Russell 2000). Copper would be my indicator as to how far further we have to go before GDP growth around the world peaks. Oil is ready for strong medium-term gains, and I‘m not looking for precious metals to yield much ground. Silver though is more vulnerable unless inflation returns to the spotlight. Cryptos do likewise have issues extending gains sharply.
All in all, volatility is making a return, and it isn‘t a good news for the bulls.
Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of www.stockcharts.com).
S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook
S&P 500 ran into headwinds, and fresh ATHs will really take a while to happen, but we‘re likely to get there still.
HYG didn‘t have a really bad day – just a cautious one. Interestingly, lower yields didn‘t help tech, and that means a sectoral rebalancing in favor of value is coming, and that the current bond market strength will be sold into.
Gold, Silver and Miners
Precious metals held up fine yesterday, but some weakness into tomorrow shouldn‘t be surprising. I look for it to turn out only temporary, and not as a start of a serious downswing.
Crude oil continues struggling at $72, but the downside looks limited – I‘m not looking for a flush into the low or mid $60s.
In spite of the red candle(s), copper looks to be stopping hesitating, and is readying an upswing. I look for broader participation in it, and that includes commodities and silver. The run up to tomorrow‘s announcement would be telling.
Bitcoin and Ethereum
Bitcoin and Ethereum bottom searching goes on, yesterday‘s downside target was hit, and the bulls are meekly responding today. I don‘t think the bottom is in at $46K BTC or $3700s ETH.
Risk-off mood is prevailing in going for tomorrow‘s FOMC – the expectations seem leaning towards making a tapering / tightening mistake. While headwinds are stiffening, we haven‘t topped yet in stocks or commodities, but the road would be getting bumpier as stated yesterday. Select commodities and precious metals are already feeling the pinch late in today‘s premarket trading, but there is no sending them to bear markets. Get ready for the twin scourge of persistent inflation and slowdown in growth to start biting increasingly more – just-in producer price index (9.6% YoY, largest ever) confirms much more inflation is in the pipeline, and the Fed would still remain behind the curve in its actions.
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