From the Desk of Victor Adair
The major US stock market indices have rallied back from their Christmas lows...recovering everything they lost after Powell triggered a 2,000 point / 4 day tumble in the Dow with his "auto-pilot" remarks on December 19.
The leading US stock indices fell ~20% from early October All Time Highs to the Christmas lows (Dow down ~5,000 pts) but have bounced back about 8% (Dow up ~1,750 pts) as of yesterday’s close. Daily price action has been wild and choppy with 500+ point swings in the Dow seemingly routine.
The Big Story for 2018 was the “topping out” of the global Central Bank accommodation that had buoyed asset markets around the world for nearly a decade. The Fed took the lead in the swing from easier to tighter monetary policy by raising interest rates and starting to run down their balance sheet. Asset markets took notice...and didn't’t like it.
There have been 3 major market events since the beginning of October: 1) stock markets virtually everywhere have been hammered, 2) the US Dollar has been rising against nearly every other currency and, 3) crude oil has tumbled more than 30%.
The major US stock indices opened sharply higher this week (after closing higher every day last week) but within hours of the opening the indices turned tail and fell like a stone...taking out last week’s low by Thursday morning.
Markets are bracing for a possible huge “gap” opening...up or down...Monday morning following the Trump/Xi dinner at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires Saturday evening. I expect to see a tsunami of political/market analysis Sunday.
WTI crude oil tumbled to it’s lowest price in over a year...closing lower for 7 consecutive weeks. On October 3rd WTI hit a 4 year high ~$77 as the market feared a supply shortage especially given the American sanctions on Iran.
Bonds and gold rallied and the US Dollar dropped this week as Fed Chairman Powell and Vice Chairman Clarida both signaled that the Fed may be less aggressive raising interest rates next year than the market had expected. They both saw signs of slowing global growth.
Stock market price action was an emotional rollercoaster this week with big intraday price swings. The DJIA fell ~2,500 points (9.5%) from All Time Highs in early October to Friday’s lows.