Rising yields are bad again. This is one of those stories that depends on the narrative or, more to the point, how it’s packaged.
Recall that the problem in February was that rate rise ceased to be seen as a barometer of the robustness of the recovery and was instead viewed as a warning sign that inflation was accelerating just as Trump was set to pile fiscal stimulus atop a late-cycle economy. And so, panic – facilitated and exacerbated by the above-consensus AHE print that accompanied the January jobs report.
If you want a characteristically trenchant explanation for why the inflation narrative will ultimately reassert itself with a vengeance, it’s worth reading the latest from Ben Hunt called “The Narrative Giveth and The Narrative Taketh Away.” Here’s an excerpt:
The “not yet” is now. The stage is now set for an explosive market re-evaluation of inflation and its impact on the price of money and the real return on invested capital.This is no longer a complacent crowd. This is now a highly focused crowd. The crowd is now watching the crowd in regards to inflation. Everyone knows that everyone knows that inflation is an important issue. The only thing missing is the Missionary statement, the little girl crying out that the Emperor has no clothes. That’s when common knowledge crystalizes into behavior. That’s the freak-out moment for markets.
When you add in surging commodities prices and slowing econ across the globe, you end up with what some folks think is a less-than-benign outlook. Here’s what Weeden’s Michael Purves said on Thursday:
This is a key risk. Higher rates and inflation without higher economic growth raises the discount rate for equity cash flows (lower P/E) but also raises stagflation risks for the economy and the stock market.
So here we are, with 10Y yields above 2.90 again, and as Bloomberg writes, the above-mentioned Purves is attributing this (and the fact that equities seem to be worried about it) to “sanctions, tariff dust-ups and tight oil supplies jolt[ing] commodities prices higher.”