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Tag: economy

What’s Got the Fed Spooked?

This blog post is an amended version of the Daily Contrarian from July 10, 2024.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in his Congressional testimony yesterday again put forward the case for rate cuts. “Elevated inflation is not the only risk we face,” Powell said. “Reducing policy restraint too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

It may not sound like much, but this is some of the most dovish commentary we’ve gotten from Powell since before his 2022 Jackson Hole speech. It begs the question whether the economy is really in as dire enough shape to where rate cuts become necessary, presumably as soon as the FOMC meeting on Sept. 18.

Existing economic data doesn’t exactly shout slowdown, much less recession:

  • Job production is still plentiful. Jobless claims are up a bit, but that’s from a low base.
  • Retail sales may not be growing as much as they were early in the year, but are holding steady at a very high plateau.
  • The housing market has slowed in certain parts of the country, but that might be more due to overbuilding than broader macroeconomic forces.

Conspiracy theories aside, it’s hard to see how the Fed could legitimately have an ulterior motive for cutting rates early. Either Jay Powell & Co are just stupid and reckless, or they’re trying to get ahead of things. Perhaps there’s a third alternative, which is that they’re setting the market up for rate cuts just in case they need them?

Come to think of it, even that gets into conspiracy territory. They probably are just concerned about the trajectory of the economy based on labor data and the housing market. Whether that is justified is another question entirely.

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US Economy Too Strong for Fed, Where to Invest Now (Szn 6, Epsd 10)

With Leo Schmidt, River Eddy Capital

Leo Schmidt, founder of family office River Eddy Capital, rejoins the podcast to discuss his views on economy, markets, and where to invest capital in what may be a ‘stagflation lite’ environment.

  • “Labor markets are way too hot.” There will be “no landing” (1:48);
  • Non-farm payrolls came out much stronger than anticipated. What this says about the labor market (4:59);
  • ‘Stagflation lite’ (8:31);
  • Our views of credit creation are outdated. The shadow banking system has replaced commercial banks as the primary source of credit. What this means (11:59);
  • The Federal Reserve probably needs to raise rates. Could they? Probably not — this year (22:21);
  • What does an investor do now? First up: Stocks that are AI/Nvidia (NVDA) plays. Celestica (CLS), Flex (FLEX), Sanmina (SANM), Jabil (JBL) (27:51);
  • Pharma spin-outs: Haleon (HLN), Kenvue (KVUE), Organon (OGN), Viatris (VTRS) (31:54);
  • Dollar stores, especially Dollar Tree (DLTR), are poised to outperform once there is an economic slowdown (39:07);
  • The bullish case for pipeline companies (46:59).

Quick Highlights From Our YouTube Channel

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Stock Market Expectations Getting Ahead of Economic Realities (Szn 6, Epsd 9)

With Bob Elliott, Unlimited

Bob Elliott of Unlimited rejoins the podcast to discuss his view that stock markets are pricing in a lot of optimism that may not be based on economic realities…

Content Highlights

  • Stock markets are pricing in a lot of optimism. Just how unrealistic is that? (1:19);
  • What is there to indicate the economy could slow this year or even next? (4:34);
  • A recession may be years away rather than months under current conditions. But conditions, as we know, can change quickly… (8:58);
  • There is a precedence to interest rates going up dramatically without it causing an immediate and dramatic entrenchment in economic growth (11:52);
  • Tech stocks might be overvalued but comparisons to the dot-com bubble are unfair and inaccurate — and may preclude a spectacular bust (16:10);
  • Today’s economic expansion is income-driven. Not a result of credit expansion (18:13);
  • What kinds of indicators should investors study to spot a slowdown in this particular type of economic activity? (30:45);
  • Regional banks are for the most part fairly priced at present… (35:50).

More Information on the Guest

Quick Video Highlights from our YouTube Channel

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