Ten-year US treasury rates broke out this week on the back of news that looks unequivocally like an inflationary boom. Earlier in the week the Atlanta wage tracker ticked back up to 3.3% year over year. Wages moving higher, check. Oil prices broke above $71/barrel. Commodity prices higher, check.
There are two basic drivers of the London Interback Offered Rate (LIBOR): 1) policy rates and 2) a variable premium. Starting with the policy rates component, in the chart below I compare the interest rate on excess reserves (IOR) and USD LIBOR.
With the European Central Bank dragging its feet to begin the monetary tightening cycle, the difference between US and German rates has opened up to record levels. In the chart below, I show the yield on 10 Year US Treasury Bonds and 10 Year German Bunds.
Bitcoin made a closing high on December 18, 2017 at $18,764 and then proceeded to fall to the closing low for the year, $6,604.48 on April 6, 2018. Since then, it has rebounded almost 50% to today’s level of $9,670, having broken back through the 50-day moving average.
Price excesses have built up over a long bull market. Stocks are expensive, and the volatility shock wave is traveling the globe. This quarter, we discuss the risks correlated with the current volatility, potential new sources of instability, and the sectors that could be the performance beneficiaries of these trends.
Last night the China Shanghai CSI 300 index fell a bit more than 1.6%, taking out February lows and setting a new YTD low for the index. This is important since the global equity markets have a very high correlation to Chinese stocks.
Recent weak data emanating from the Eurozone has been weighing on German Bund yields. The significant drop in the Eurozone Citigroup Economic Surprise Index (CESI) has pressured German Bund yields lower.
Energy stocks are looking lively today, with energy the best performing sector in the US and second best performing sector in Europe. The likely reason for the buoyant performance is a continued improvement in fundamentals. Inventory data released yesterday showed a steady decline in crude and refined product (ex-SPR) in the United States.
As of this writing, WTI crude oil is back above $65/barrel, closing in on the recent $66.33 high on January 26. While oil and US equities have been in a “wedge” formation where, hemmed in by the January 26 high and the February 90 low, crude oil has broken out from its wedge.
This is the time to be alert for any signs of a failure in the S&P 500. Why? There are two really good historical precedents to the current market configuration.