Weekly Market Report: April 12th, 2024

A closely watched economic calendar, ample Fedspeak, and ramp in geopolitical tensions made for a volatile week in the markets. A third consecutive warmer than expected CPI print was complemented by eleven Fed speaking engagements offering speculation and soft guidance on the thought process behind U.S. monetary policy. Additionally, the looming Iranian-Israeli conflict was well telegraphed in the media and came to fruition over the weekend. By the end of the week, global equity markets consolidated by 1.5%-2.5% and counter balancing forces of inflation pressures and flight to quality (geopolitical tensions) netted a second consecutive double rise in bond yields. Commodities declined slightly in what has otherwise been a very strong year and the USD rallied on what was likely a geopolitical driven flight to quality bid.

Market Anecdotes

  • Bond yields, Fed fund futures, currency markets, and equity markets each notched a reaction to Wednesday’s CPI print, FOMC minutes, and some weak UST auctions with interest rates surging, 2024 Fed rate cuts fading, a strengthening USD, and stock markets consolidating.
  • Interestingly, despite all of the noise across equity and bond markets, volatility measures of both have yet to move notably higher.
  • With last week’s weak reception of UST auctions and FOMC minutes reflecting interest in slowing the pace of Fed balance sheet runoff, a timely report from Alpine Macro examined the question, “Is fiscal policy driving the treasury selloff?” left us with a definitive answer of “maybe”.
  • The most recent J.P. Morgan Duration Survey shows, while duration indications had become very long coming (net 20%) into the year, they’ve fallen back toward neutral today as the bond market trend of November/December has reversed into 2024.
  • BCA highlighted the “Mel rule”, a labor market oriented leading recession indicator, similar to the “Sahm rule”, with the exception that the latter has been triggered and the former has not. Their historical accuracy of predicting recession makes them worth a listen.
  • First quarter corporate earnings kicked off last week in what will be a closely watched cycle given the inflection points and uncertain path forward with respect to the overall economy (growth/inflation/employment).
  • An encouraging indicator of global growth BCA noted last week is the carry trade where investors go long high yielding currencies and short lower yielding currencies.
  • The BoC and ECB met last week, both leaving rates unchanged. The ECB did set the table for a June cut, noting Euro area inflation has different dynamics than the U.S. and they’re largely pleased with the trajectory.
  • Last weekend’s attack on Israel by Iran in response to an embassy bombing puts geopolitics and oil infrastructure back on the front burner with early indications that cooler heads and diplomacy will be the goal of the U.S. and G7 nations.

Economic Release Highlights

  • March YOY headline (3.8 vs 3.7) and core (3.5% vs 3.5%) CPI along with MOM headline (0.4% vs 0.3%) and core (0.4% vs 0.3%) both came in slightly warmer than forecasted.
  • March headline PPI (YOY 2.1% vs 2.3% and MOM 0.2% vs 0.3%) registered below expectations while the core readings (YOY 2.4% vs 2.3% and MOM 0.2% vs 0.2%) were warm and in line, respectively.
  • UofM Consumer Sentiment in March came in at 77.9, slightly below consensus forecast of 79.0.
  • The March NFIB Small Business Optimism Index registered 88.5 versus consensus forecast of 89.9.
This communication is provided for informational purposes only and is not an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any security or other investment. This communication does not constitute, nor should it be regarded as, investment research or a research report, a securities or investment recommendation, nor does it provide information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision. Additional analysis of your or your client’s specific parameters would be required to make an investment decision. This communication is not based on the investment objectives, strategies, goals, financial circumstances, needs or risk tolerance of any client or portfolio and is not presented as suitable to any other particular client or portfolio.
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