Pro Perspectives 8/21/19

August 21, 2019

That stock market fallout in December, led to a response from the U.S. Treasury.  Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary) called out to major banks and the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (which includes the Fed) to "coordinate efforts to assure normal market operations.

That was the turning point.  That put a bottom in stocks. 

Within days of that, the three most powerful central bankers of the past ten years (Bernanke, Yellen and Powell) were backtracking on the Fed's rate path — signaling a pause.  The Fed's pivot fueled a V-shaped recovery in stocks, and by July stocks were on new record highs.

But then we had another mis-step by the Fed (calling the July rate cut, just a "mid-cycle adjustment").  And, shortly thereafter, Trump escalated the trade war with China, sending the signal that China has turned its back on the prospects of a deal, opting to wait it out until the 2020 elections.  Yields plunged.  More global government bond yields have gone negative.  The yield curve inverted.  And the chatter recession and crisis has quickly returned.  

With that, last Wednesday morning, stocks were having the worst day of 2019, and the set-up across global financial markets was beginning to look very vulnerable to a melt-down.  Once again, the major banks were summoned.  Mnuchin and the President had what appears to be an emergency call with the heads of the top three banks (Citibank, JP Morgan and Bank of America).  

By the afternoon, stocks had stabilized.  And any selling pressure in the major U.S. stock indices, have since been met with a persistent bid (i.e. large indiscriminate buying).  The “Plunge Protection Team” appears to be at work. 

This sets up for the Fed to do a repeat of the early January repentance.  On Friday, Jay Powell will be making a speech at the Kansas City Fed’s annual economic policy symposium at Jackson Hole.  If he does indeed telegraph the aggressive easing that the markets are asking for (if not forcing),  stocks should take off (i.e. a resumption of what has been a big year for stocks). 
If you haven't signed up for my Billionaire's Portfolio, join now — get your risk free access here