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Category: Blog

The Yield Curve Inverteth

The following is an amended form of the Daily Contrarian briefing from July 5. This briefing and accompanying podcast are released to premium subscribers each market day morning by 0700. To subscribe, visit our Substack.

The yield-curve between the 2-year and 10-year just inverted. What this means is the shorter-dated yield (the 2-year in this instance) is actually higher than the longer-dated one (the 10-year). To be specific, the 2-year yield is currently 2.81% while the 10-year is 2.80%.

So there you have it. It’s not the first time this has happened this cycle. In fact, the 2/10 curve inverted as recently as June 14. Also in March. This is one recession predictor that is deemed to be pretty accurate for reasons that are discussed in this Investopedia article.

This yield curve inversion gives us something to talk about today, as things are still mostly quiet after the long holiday weekend. Most of the action this week is back-loaded, with the June jobs report due on Friday.

Markets got some good news around easing of China tariffs over the weekend, but the mood is mostly pretty dour. CNBC reports the outlook for the second half is “not looking good.” A contrarian indicator? Maybe. Or maybe it just isn’t a good idea to fight the Fed?

Meme captioned by author

Americans have apparently started tapping into their savings to cope with inflation. That’s not good, but there is a ready-made boogey man in the Federal Reserve. Lest we forget: the Fed insisted the inflation we were seeing last year was transitory. They’ve changed their tune on this, but the point is they don’t have political leeway to reverse course again — until inflation is well and truly under control (or they have some data to point to that will allow them to ‘declare victory’).

Whatever your views on all this, the truth is nobody has any idea what is going to happen. There are educated guesses but there are also people with a vested interest in pushing a specific narrative. Do your own research, make your own decisions.

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Reflections on a Rough First Half of 2022 for Stocks

The following is an amended form of the Daily Contrarian briefing from June 30. This briefing and accompanying podcast are released to premium subscribers each market day morning by 0700. To subscribe, visit our Substack.

It’s been a tough six months — worth first half of the year since 1970 — but at least now you know what a bear market looks like.

If this period has showed us anything, it’s how quickly and violently the consensus can shift — and with no real warning, either. At the start of the year very few were predicting a bear market. Now, the bears certainly look vindicated. On the bright side, as annoying as permabears are they are nowhere near as bad as the crypto cult. At least it’s somewhat entertaining watching the bitcoin bros spin their denial.

As for the economy, nobody knows how much more pain is ahead, or indeed if the damage is even contained. What’s clear is we have persistently high inflation for the first time in more than a generation. This has given the Federal Reserve no choice but to stomp on the gas pedal where interest rates are concerned — even if it triggers a recession. Fed Chair Jerome Powell even said as much in public comments yesterday.

Piles of new Notgeld banknotes awaiting distribution at the Reichsbank during Germany hyperinflation, circa 1923
Piles of new emergency banknotes awaiting distribution at the Reichsbank during German hyperinflation, circa 1923. Source: Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)
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Russia Bond Default, Crypto Fund Blow-Up No Concern to Markets (Yet)

The following is an amended form of the Daily Contrarian briefing from June 27. This briefing and accompanying podcast are released to premium subscribers each market day morning by 0700. To subscribe, visit our Substack.

Over the weekend we received a couple of troublesome headlines about a Russian bond default and potentially the blow-up of a crypto hedge fund

Markets appear to have shrugged this off, moving higher in the pre-market. While this bounce faded at the open, major indexes are only down a few basis points at the time of this writing (0940 EDT on Monday). Cryptos are down a bit, with bitcoin dropping by about 2% to dip below $21,000.

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