At the annual Jackson Hole (aka, J-Hole) Economic Symposium, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that the Fed is in no hurry to either taper asset purchases immediately or aggressively. Additionally he made crystal clear that even when the Fed does eventually start tapering asset purchases (likely November or December), it should not be taken as signaling interest rate hikes will follow on some preset course. Indeed, Fed Chairman Powell continues to claim that inflation is transitory. Finally, he said that part of the mandate (employment) is still far from being achieved. So, expect more SNAKE JUICE.
The shape of the yield curve has been highly influential recently in relative performance trends between various areas of the market. From last summer through May of this year, the steepening of the yield curve coincided with healthy outperformance of cyclical stocks. Since May, the flattening of the curve has coincided with more defensive (or at least high quality) leadership out of the tech and health care sectors. The logic goes, therefore, that a re-steepening of the curve should coincide with a shift back to cyclicals. Indeed, that shift may be in the early innings.
Let’s take a look at the US Treasury 10Y-2Y curve slope over the past twelve months against the Citi Economic Surprise Index for the US. You can see curve fatigue starting in April 2021 as the Citi Economic Surprise Index turns negative.
The the more cyclical and smaller skewed S&P 500 equal weight index has started to outperform the S&P 500 again, right on queue with the yield curve re-steepening.
Industrial stocks are under-performing the broader S&P 500 index as the curve flattens.
Real estate stocks? They are outperforming the broader S&P 500 index.
Mining stocks like gold mines? They are underperforming the broader S&P 500 index.
Financial stocks? Not surprisingly, The Fed’s dovish behavior is causing financial stocks to outperform the broader S&P index.
Likewise, information technology stocks are outperforming the broader S&P 500 index.
So, by Powell delaying any balance sheet slowdown and rate increases, we have clear winners (real estate, financials, information tech) and clear losers on a relative basis (industrials, retail, metals and mining).
The Others! Due to volatility differences, I wouldn’t over-interpret this chart. But Bitcoin as a ratio of the S&P 500 index is “kicking ass!” Gold and housing as a ratio of the S&P 500 index seemingly can’t keep up with the S&P 500 index.