top of page
  • Writer's picturen ev

S&P500 Bear Market Rally Is Over

The change in market structure signals a change in the momentum and if anyone is looking to get long, they would be best off waiting for a move back into value, or for a new higher high and higher low to print. The market is increasingly worried that the Fed will have to move faster and that they are going to overcorrect their stance, which has been said to be behind the inflation curve and in doing so, will bring on a recession.


Index Analysis

The S&P500 has dropped into the daily moving averages ahead of the FOMC meeting minutes that get delivered tonight. At the previous FOMC meeting, they raised rates by 25bps to 0.25-0.50%, as the market had expected. There was one dissenter in Bullard who wanted the committee to raise by a larger 50bps move.


According to consensus, the Federal Funds Rate (FFR) will rise to 1.75-2.00% by 2022, with rates rising to 2.75-3.00% the following year. Ukraine's situation was cited as a reason for forecasting higher inflation in the short term. While the 2022 growth forecast was trimmed. It's all about cooling the economy by raising rates. I'd rather they concentrated on dropping inflation with increasing oil production and easing supply chain disruptions.


Now that the Fed is in a rate hike cycle, there is the question of being able to afford to pay the interest payments on the reserve balance they hold. Yes, they could magic up the money and just pay, but Congress would not be best pleased with this. Just as they would not be pleased if the Fed decided they couldn’t pay their interest payments to the US Treasury. However, Fed chair Powell suggested that excellent progress had been made in discussions on the balance sheet, and the Fed could finalize plans for reductions as soon as the May meeting. He also said it could look very similar to its previous balance sheet reduction, but faster, whilst assuring that the Fed would be mindful of the broader financial context and would avoid adding to the uncertainty. During the last balance sheet reduction phase, the Fed was on auto-pilot and actually broke the monetary system by removing too many reserves, which meant that the commercial bank's Supplementary Leverage Ratios were too low and they had to scramble for non-existent collateral which made the repo markets spike high.


Powell says the FOMC can move rates in 50bps increments if that's needed to control inflation and implied that this could happen at a meeting or meetings soon, meaning more than one 50bps move is possible this year; this is a radical change of tone from the FOMC meeting, where he seemed to advocate a "steady" approach. Money markets are pricing a 50bps rate hike in May with about 75% certainty based on the FOMC's statement and comments from other Fed officials, who might also be open to a 50bps rate hike at the May meeting to combat high inflation. The comments made yesterday by Brainard, Williams, etc. have left the market thinking that any chance of a soft landing with this rate hike cycle, and balance sheet reduction combo is swiftly evaporating. This means the inversion of the yield curves that have been hinting at a coming recession takes on more weight.

It is not only the yield curves that have been signaling problems in the markets. Since November 2021 the small-cap index, the Russel 2000 has been drifting lower, with a history of previously dragging down the large caps with it.

After yesterday’s comments from the Fed members, the Russel and Nasdaq dropped hardest with a continuation into today’s trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P500 are very likely to follow suit.

Since the December 2021 FOMC meeting the yield curves have been accelerating higher, but the moves from mid-March showed the short-term yields which are most affected by the Fed rate hikes, moving above the benchmark 10-year which has become more worrisome. Investors are looking around to see whether it is just a monetary phenomenon or if there is another problem manifesting elsewhere. Some look to the ISM reports which show that a sharp decline in orders is occurring now, with inventory higher than new orders. This could be a signal that there are too many items on the shelves, with a lack of demand and dropping sentiment for the future.

The rising yields have put pressure on the bond market, and we see that TLT the ETF which tracks the long bond has been dropping for some time now. A move out of the safety of bonds and into the US dollar accelerated at the end of 2021 and hasn’t really stopped, with DXY about to touch the psychological level of $100. Gold also hints at the lack of sustained demand for precious metals. Often called an inflation hedge the yellow metal is coming under pressure from real yields which are dropping due to rising inflation, rising US dollars, and the disruptions in Ukraine being largely priced in.

The $10billion stimulus which was agreed to last week will go some way to helping bolster the economy as does increase lending from commercial banks. This year has also been a great year for US Treasury fiscal spending with March coming in at levels last seen in mid-2021. The fiscal flows will support the market and prevent a long-term decline.

The rising yields have put pressure on the bond market, and we see that TLT the ETF which tracks the long bond has been dropping for some time now. A move out of the safety of bonds and into the US dollar accelerated at the end of 2021 and hasn’t really stopped, with DXY about to touch the psychological level of $100. Gold also hints at the lack of sustained demand for precious metals. Often called an inflation hedge the yellow metal is coming under pressure from real yields which are dropping due to rising inflation, rising US dollars, and the disruptions in Ukraine being largely priced in.


The $10billion stimulus which was agreed to last week will go some way to helping bolster the economy as does increase lending from commercial banks. This year has also been a great year for US Treasury fiscal spending with March coming in at levels last seen in mid-2021. The fiscal flows will support the market and prevent a long-term decline.



Related Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page