New Narrative Alert: Fed Chief Jerome Powell is to blame for the volatility in stocks. We think the news that really drove the market higher last week was the report that economy-wide pre-tax corporate profits were up 10.3% from a year ago (and up 19.4% after taxes – thank you tax cuts!). Focus on fundamentals, not post-event explanations.
Consumers Stay Strong. Look, you could spin this data any way you like, but instead of getting bogged down in the day-to-day figures, we like to focus on fundamentals, and those fundamentals are very strong. Total retail sales are likely to be up 6%+ this year over last year. That’s very strong.
“Fading” Fiscal Stimulus; Really? Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others have started a new narrative about economic “headwinds.” They think past rate hikes, slower foreign growth, and “fading fiscal stimulus” should slow the Fed’s rate hikes. But is fiscal stimulus really fading?
The Plentiful Job Market. Rising wages appear to be drawing more workers back into the labor force, with the number of people either working or looking for work up 162,000 per month in the past year, even as the US continues to face the demographic headwind of an aging Baby Boom generation.