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Variations on the themes of "Goldilocks" and "rational exuberance" are the favored story lines for 2018. How might these cheerful narratives be confounded? Let us count the ways, starting with interest rates. What won't happen is what most people expect to happen (if that's clear).
Who will step in to absorb the supply that looms with the Fed's pending pivot from helping the market to hindering it? Look no further than "Agg"-tracking bond mutual funds. Falling rates, lengthening durations, deepening complacency: "These are very strange days, indeed."
Grant's and GE go back a long way together.
Tomorrow’s fallen angels come thick and fast in the corporate bond market. Not quite junk, barely investment grade, is the flavor of the cycle. Creditors may be senior claimants in the capital structure, but they don’t stand at the head of the queue for corporate emoluments. Marking the wise words of Graham and Dodd.
The central banks of the West, rattling their interest rates, are hinting at a big change. Whither bond prices?
“There are just way too many assets chasing the sales,” says a man as wise—in this particular instance—as the Sage of Omaha himself. Ultra-low interest rates, high price/earnings ratios and credit markets fitted out with red carpets share the blame. No profits? No problem.
American consumer prices registered a year-over-year rise of 3.6% in February, according to the Web-scraping inflation detectives of the Billion Prices Project. More inflation is what the central bankers say they want. Cue the Disney cartoon classic, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
For long-range worry, imagine a Detroit that produces not 17 million new vehicles a year but three or four million (who needs a car in the Age of Autonomy?). For a timelier set of concerns, observe today's falling used-car prices, decaying credit metrics and at-risk auto lease market.
President Trump resembles a heavily shorted common stock. The analysts despise the ticker and the company it stands for, yet the shares go up and up. Rallying, too, are the battered shares of sea-going shippers, the administration’s anti-trade agenda notwithstanding. A theory of unscripted events.