Posts filed under “Inflation”
Market technician John Roque has, for quite some time now, not believed the Fed would be pausing anytime soon. His chart below shows the year/year % change in the CPI. What is significant about it is that four of the prior five times this indicator has moved above the average (3.85%) it has worked to, at least, the 6% area. Inflation doesn’t usually peak until the 12-month moving average (darker line) rolls over. That hasn’t happened yet, implying inflation has more to run.
Yr/Yr Change CPI with 12 month moving average John Roque, Natexis Bleichroeder
Roque his fond of saying that “pause is a button on your DVD player and not an option for the Fed because we feel inflation is going higher than you expect.”
The Depression of 1893 (a little history!)
Quote of the Day
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
"AS WE WERE SAYING BEFORE WE WERE SO rudely interrupted by a man dressed in a white smock and wielding a scalpel (thank heavens he left his box-cutter at home), the stock market looks a bit worse for the wear."
So says Barron’s Alan Abelson, usually one of Wall Street’s most visible Bears. Just his luck — or was it the Trading Gods having some fun? — that he managed to be out of service for the most bearish period in 3 years. Traders, being a superstitious lot, will soon be begging Abelson to "let us know the next time you go in for a procedure" – so they can get short.
Regardless, whatever the man dressed in a white smock removed, it wasn’t his arch sense of humor or acid tinged tongue:
"The impact of the massive disturbance was global in every sense: Not only were its terrible tremors felt far beyond the narrow canyon of capitalism in lower Manhattan, but they commanded notice in quarters much loftier than trading floors or commodity pits. We’ve not the slightest doubt, for example, that what prompted the famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking early last week to urge earthlings to create settlements in space was, pure and simple, fear of the effect of crashing markets on the human race."
But the key to Abelson’s return is his clear eyed take on inflation, which comports squarely with our own views:
"FOR OPENERS, OUR HUNCH IS THAT MR. BERNANKE’S concerns about inflation, despite his mucking up the message with all that rubbish about inflationary expectations, have more than a modicum of merit. And our conviction on this score is only strengthened, of course, by the fact that so many pundits pooh-pooh inflation as a problem. Indeed, if anything, we fault the chairman for his evident sympathy with the argument that the fearsome upward spiral in the price of crude, so far, anyway, hasn’t been exerting all that much impact in the economy at large.
Apparently, Mr. Bernanke, like his critics, needs to get out more. Oil is a very sneaky commodity. Our old friend and revered Barron’s contributor, Abe Briloff, likes to describe certain stealth accounting practices as comparable to a bikini: what they reveal is interesting, what they conceal is vital. Oil is something like that: Its uses are readily manifest, but it plays a far bigger and more critical role in our lives than is easily perceived.
Today’s NFP number stunk the joint up: 75,000. That’s half of the monthly population growth, meaning the percentage of people working (relative to pop) actually went down, if we are to believe this data.
Astonishingly, some people STILL do not understand the data or the context of the weak job growth within this recovery. To wit, my friend Cody Willard – a telecom strategist – writes:
"Surely, Barry, you’re not seriously trying to rekindle your argument about "job creation is not what it is typically at this phase of a recovery."
That statement has been a cornerstone of your bearish rants for the last couple years. Yes, I know you’ve been a "trading bull" and what not, and rightly so, but this economic argument of yours has been, in my view at least, wrong for the last few years and now that job creation is finally starting to slow — years after your repeated flagging of how this "recovery" (You still call this a "recovery" btw?)"
Ahhh, poor Cody. He is lost in a sea of data, unable to see the truth. He believes the spin.
Rekindle? Just because you close your eyes, the boogie man doesn’t disappear.
Hey Cody, please cite me some data revealing this to be an above-average private sector jobs creation recovery. Hell, I’ll take average.
You won’t, because you cannot.
Cody is engaging in several analytical foibles, but the best way to describe it is "ignore reality." But his subjective error does not change the objective reality for the rest of us: By any honest measure – e.g., NY Federal Reserve or Cleveland Federal Reserve research — this has been the worst modern jobs recovery on record.
This is not a meme I am pushing or a Bear story I fabricated.
It just “is.”
This doesn’t mean you run out and short everything; as I wrote last December, one should Never Confuse Economic Analysis With Trading.
But comprehending the reality of the economic situation is important. Why does this matter? What Cody fails to consider is the importance of understanding the specifics of how a recovery comes about, and how it compares to prior recoveries. What it means as the massive government stimulus that goosed the economy begins to fade. What happens when the Pig is finally thought the Python?
I expect that as we begin to slow, there ain’t a whole lot of fat to get sliced. As unemployment starts ticking up, it will not be pretty. It suggests the next recession will be more severe than the last one.
UPDATE: June 2, 2006: 12: 47pm
Cody and I finish the debate below