Entries by halyard

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 5/17/24

The April consumer price index and the various subcomponents came in as expected offering relief to investors fearful of an upside surprise. The year-over-year headline measure showed that inflation cooled to 3.4% from the 3.5% reported in March. The change in direction was welcome news to the capital markets but the incremental improvement is hardly enough for the Fed to claim victory. There’s an old saying in the capital market “that one number does not make a trend” and that clearly applies to last month’s CPI. We’ll be watching the index through the summer to identify any potential trend.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 5/10/24

After last week’s repricing of the yield curve to again reflect the possibility of one rate cut this year, the interest market barely moved this week. The dearth of economic data allowed the 2-year/30-year yield curve to remain at a 20-basis point inversion with the 2-year notes closing the week modestly higher at 4.86%. That was good news for the equity market as the S&P 500 continued to rally and now stands less than 1% away from its all-time high as earnings releases dwindle to a trickle.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 5/3/24

Investors began this week with much trepidation, given the mixed economic data and stubbornly high inflation that has characterized the first four months of this year. It was widely expected that Powell would offer a “mea culpa” for suggesting that rate cuts were imminent back in December. He didn’t go quite that far but did opine that the committee was “less confident” that inflation would fall to 2% in the near term. But he also cast doubt on the possibility that the next move in interest rates would be a hike.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 4/26/24

On the back of strong retail sales in the last three months we were expecting that the first pass of Q1 GDP would come in above expectations. When the results were released yesterday, the tally fell well below the 2.5% consensus expectation, showing that annualized growth slowed to 1.6%. Digging through the details yielded a mixed conclusion. Personal spending, the main driver of growth, rose 2.5%, below the 3% consensus expectation, but still supportive of the view that consumers continue to spend.

May 2024 – Monthly Commentary

The May employment report, released earlier this month, fully took the air out of the notion that the Fed would cut interest rates in the near term. After April’s report came in below expectation, economists were expecting the number of new jobs created for the month would total 180,000, with the low estimate at 120,000 and the high at 259,000. The actual number blew past those forecasts with 272,000 new jobs created in the month. The report was a little messy in that the household report showed a contraction of 408,000 jobs and the labor force shrunk by 250,000 workers causing the unemployment rate to tick up to 4.0%. We advise to look past that uptick due to a few nuances between the household and the establishment survey. The bottom line is the June jobs report changes the soft-landing narrative and further postpones the likelihood of a rate cut anytime soon.

April 2024 – Monthly Commentary

This month kicked off with the conclusion of the FOMC meeting. It was widely expected that Chairman Powell would acknowledge that the Fed made a mistake in suggesting that rate cuts were imminent back in December. He didn’t go quite that far but did opine that the committee was “less confident” that inflation would fall to 2% in the near term. But he also cast doubt on the possibility that the next move in interest rates would be a hike, as has been suggested by market watchers.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 4/19/24

The red-hot economic data continued this week with the release of March Retail Sales. The report showed that retail sales rose 1.1% over the previous month, more than double what was expected. February retail sales were revised to a 0.6% monthly gain from the 0.3% that was first reported. The gains were broad based and have some economists thinking that the Q1 GDP forecast may be too low. The estimate last Friday was for 2.1% growth, but the consensus thinking as of this morning is 2.5%.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 4/12/24

If you’re thinking there has been a sea change in expectations this week, it’s because there has been. The March Consumer Price Index slammed the door on any hopes of a near-term rate cut with the year-over-year core CPI rising 3.8%. The CPI seems to have settled in at the 3.8% annual rate which is a level that is too high for the Fed to cut interest rates anytime soon. Reflecting that, many of the “Street” economists have withdrawn their forecast for a June rate hike and the possibility of two additional cuts this year and have now taken the safe forecast of one rate cut this year coming at the December meeting. Indeed, the Fed Fund futures have priced in a singular rate cut in the December contract.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 4/5/24

The Bond market continued to reprice the yield curve this week. Driven by economic data that showed the US economy is still firm despite higher interest rates. Manufacturing and Service surveys indicated expansion – the first such reading for Manufacturing since September of 2022. On Friday, the Non-farm payroll release created a seismic move in rates as the report showed 303,000 new jobs for the month versus expectations of +214,000. The 3-month average of job gains is 276,000 – eclipsing last year’s average gain of 242,000. The unemployment rate stood firm at 3.8%.

March 2024 – Monthly Commentary

March rounded out a quarter in which the equity market was cheered by the prospect of lower interest rates despite rising rates across the yield curve. Members of the open market committee, the arbiters of interest rate policy, continue to espouse three rate hikes this year despite continued solid economic growth. Given that backdrop, it appears that Chairman Powell and his fellow committee members are as wrong on their interest rate forecast as they were when they tried to calm concerns when inflation first appeared three years ago. The calming words that inflation would prove “transient” quickly devolved into the worse inflationary impulse in decades. Then at the December 2023 FOMC meeting the committee forecast that the rate rising cycle was not only over but expected to reverse much of the rate rise over the coming two years, with the first rate cut coming in March 2024.