First Order Derivative

June 30, 2022

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June 29, 2022

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June 16, 2022

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Ahead of the Curve

June 15, 2022

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digital daily: Greasing Wheels

Greasing Wheels: Our Macro Pulse was updated last week, and the results were miserable. May was the seventh-straight month of activity in the low-and-falling regime. That's only occurred twice since 1960, and both were severe recessions – 1982 and 1991. Only, there's no recession. Jobs reports tell us that nominal incomes are running in the 3-4% range, far from misery. Triple-b corporate spreads send the same message, largely unchanged this year. Yes, there is friction. Banks are fragile, and leveraged loan defaults are rising. And it’s true, the breadth of the equity rise is breathtakingly narrow. Still, waiting for this recession may be the greatest investor hardship of this cycle. Bond markets are ready with the steepest and longest-lasting curve inversion of the past forty years. Analysts are prepared – the Conference Board sees the odds as nearly 100% in the next year. What’s so different? Inflation persistence. Last year's rise in the US dollar alongside weaker equity and bond markets would normally have sent a deflationary shock wave through the global economy. This year's bank failures should have reinforced it. They didn't. So, who’s winning from the persistence of inflation? Not the boring, defensive companies. It's the ones leveraging tech to take larger swaths of future nominal income. And so, too, is the trend in crypto markets. Currently, Bitcoin and Ethereum combine for a 68% share of total market capitalization. Dominance was 61.4% at the Nov 2022 low of crypto-asset markets and 62.9% at market highs in Oct 2021. Inflation is greasing the wheels of dominant players and is sand for others.