The best guess here is that the US economy is experiencing an interim momentum peak with a
mild and short lived slowdown to follow. This peaking process will be the third one since the
economy began to recover from its deeply recessed base back in 2009. My indicators and
observations of inventory levels now suggest the slowdown will not be as long or as steep as they
were following interim peaks in 2011 and 2014. Business profits and real disposable incomes are
benefiting from the large tax cuts recently enacted and slowdowns here will likely be far less
pronounced. With the quantitative tightening of monetary liquidity (QT) having displaced QE,
the stock market will likely remain focused on economic momentum going forward so any
negative reaction in the stock market to a slowdown should be mild.
Trump's first round of protectionism -- duties on imported steel and aluminum -- looks like it
may resolve into an old fashioned extortion program. the second wave may target China's large
export balance in the US and could be tougher and involve some nasty blow back from China.
This potential trade spat could shake stock market confidence more significantly.
The indicators still show no very substantial inflation potential ahead for the US. My longer
range indicators suggest a much stronger ramp up of inflation pressure, but this is yet to show
I am expecting the Fed to continue to raise short rates in a temperate manner, but I think the
Fed could turn more aggressive later in the year if economic growth picks up again as I expect.
It will be instructive to see if the economic slowdown out ahead in the short run triggers a further
downswing in longer term Treasury yields.
As of now there seems to be little potential for the development of the kind of cyclical credit
squeeze that normally pre-dates a recession. Liquidity growth is slowing, but short term credit
demand remains exceedingly mild still with worthy borrowers preferring the long end of the
Bobby Three Sticks (Robert Mueller 111) continues to close in on Trump and as he does, there
may be further push back from The Donald. This could prove disconcerting to the markets if
some sort of judicial crisis emerges.
- Peter Richardson
- Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 50 plus years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!