QE or Not QE: The Consequences Are The Same

It may look, swim and quack like one, but Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell insists that the Fed’s recent reinflation of its balance sheet past the $4 trillion mark isn’t quantitative easing. Oh no, he says, just because the Fed’s portfolio recently rebounded to $4.175 trillion at the middle of January, up from a six-year low of $3.76 trillion since the beginning of September, doesn’t mean that the Fed is back to its old QE ways, which had pushed the Fed’s balance sheet to a steady $4.5 trillion between 2014 and 2018 when it started to shrink.

But QE by any other name is still QE.

At least one voting member of the Fed’s monetary policy committee has expressed some concern about the recent boost in the Fed’s balance sheet – more than $400 billion in just the past four months.

“The Fed balance sheet is not free and growing the balance sheet has costs,” Robert Kaplan, the president of the Dallas Fed, told reporters at a recent Economic Club of New York event, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Many market participants believe that growth in the Fed balance sheet is supportive of higher valuations and risk assets. [That’s Fed-speak for a bubble]. I’m sympathetic to that concern.”

For the past 12 years, ever since the financial crisis in 2008, the Fed has swollen the size of its balance sheet – its holdings of U.S. Treasury and government-insured mortgage-backed securities – from less than $1 trillion to more than four times that. Its first burst of bond-buying took place in 2008, during the depths of the meltdown when its portfolio more than doubled in less than a year. It then gradually increased to more than $3 trillion over the next five years, at which time QE took it to $4.5 trillion, where it held steady until 2018, when the Fed started to allow its holdings to run off as they matured, until its recent policy U-turn.

And what was the direct result of all that buying? Continue reading "QE or Not QE: The Consequences Are The Same"

Gold Hits Second Target

On the 6th of January, gold had hit the second target of $1577 that I showed you last June when we measured the depth of gold bugs love. I will update the big chart for you below to show why this second target is crucial. By the way, this target was the most favored then as you can see in the graph of ballots below.

gold poll

It’s a real miracle that we witnessed the Santa Claus Rally again this year. I updated the short-term chart for gold right ahead of Christmas as I thought the correction would extend itself to delay the rally for a later period. The invalidation point for the bearish scenario was set at $1516 as the price moved almost $100 above that point for someone’s benefit.

gold poll

Most of you voted for the immediate rally as you didn’t expect another drop, and you were amazingly right, again!

I think it’s time to check big charts to adjust our short-term navigation plans. Continue reading "Gold Hits Second Target"

What An Expiring Bubble Looks Like

The Nasdaq bubble popped in 2000 after motoring upward on increasing volume in two separate phases. Volume rammed upward and RSI diverged. Like shootin’ fish in a barrel, it was, except that at the time I was too inexperienced to see it. It was a steep slope and blow out.

compq bubble

The 2006 bubble in copper made a consolidation and a steep slope and blow out of its own with a little help from rising volume, but nothing like the above. No notable divergences here. The inflation trade of the time was starting to rotate, and rotate commodity herds did… Continue reading "What An Expiring Bubble Looks Like"

Copper Futures Continue Bullish Momentum

Copper Futures

Copper futures in the March contract settled last Friday in New York at 2.8135 a pound while currently trading at 2.8455 up over 300 points for the trading week continuing its bullish momentum. The housing market is on fire at the current time following the U.S. economy, which continues to accelerate to the upside.

I am keeping a close eye on a bullish position as I'm currently not involved. Still, I'm certainly not recommending any type of bearish position as that would be counter-trend trading, which is very dangerous over time. However, if you are long a futures contract, I would continue to place the stop loss under the 10-day low standing at 2.76 as an exit strategy.

If you have been following any of my previous blogs, you understand that I'm very bullish the U.S. economy, as that will be a bullish factor for copper prices ahead. I will take advantage of any price to buy in next week's trade, therefore, taking advantage of lower prices while also lowering the monetary risk, so keep a close eye on this market. I think prices could crack the 3.00 level in the coming weeks ahead as the risk/reward would be in your favor if that situation occurred.


Platinum Futures

Another wild trading session in platinum as prices are up another $23 an ounce at 1,024 after settling last Friday in New York at 986 up about $38 for the trading week as prices are right at a two year high. The precious metal sector is higher across the board once again, continuing its bullish momentum. Continue reading "Copper Futures Continue Bullish Momentum"

2020 Market Outlook - Margin Of Safety Required

Euphoric 2019 and Bleak 2020 Forecast

All three major indices ended 2019 in rarified territory as the Santa Claus rally capped off a euphoric market. The S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones ended 2019 at all-time highs. The S&P 500 posted its best return in nearly 20 years, coming in at a 28.9% return.

2019 was a unique year on multiple fronts where the markets roared higher despite impeachment proceedings, U.S.-China trade war, Federal Reserve actions, inverted yield curve, and slowing economies abroad. Furthermore, for the first time in history, the U.S. economy has started and ended a decade without a recession, with the economy expanding for a record 126 consecutive months (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – All three major indices reached all-time highs at the end of 2019

Currently, the markets are faced with stretched valuations absent of any significant volatility over the past few months. 2020 predictions are shaping up to widely variable from the collective grouping of investment firms (Figure 2). The average forecast is looking bleak after a banner 2019. I feel these bleak forecasts are rooted in political uncertainty, geopolitical tensions, slowing company buybacks, stretched valuations, and inevitable market volatility. As 2020 unfolds, a margin of safety via raising cash as a core position may be wise. Continue reading "2020 Market Outlook - Margin Of Safety Required"