September PREVIEW by Macro Eagle
Famously, September is the cruellest month for equity markets, with the Dow down 41/70 times since 1950. Apart from the ongoing issues mentioned above the key events in the month ahead are: Treasury issuance and unemployment figures this week. ECB and Russian regional elections next week. New Japanese PM, TikTok deadline and FOMC during the 3rd week. Italian election during the fourth week. And the first US presidential debate in the last week. All while capital markets get hit by an avalanche of IPOs (Airbnb, Ant Financial, DoorDash, etc.). And don’t forget NATURE. In August we got fires and blackouts in California, hurricanes hitting the Gulf (Laura and Marco), the last ice shelf in Canada’s Artic breaking up and China/North Korea being hit by floods. But it is September when the hurricane season normally peaks.
Fed Wants Optionality - and that Is Bullish for Vol! by Aquila Markets
*Fed creates optionality around Yield Curve Control and its “now in doubt” September review – which by definition creates volatility
*We are watching with interest to see if USD higher / risk lower persists, but we do not think the “highs” are in
*We believe the market is yet to begin considering a potential sweep by the Dems – this is a core theme on the radar for the Autumn
Despite having been quite sanguine about the Fed, the golden rule of the Fed “creates” volatility worked once again. There is clearly pushback within the FOMC itself to Yield Curve Control, recognising the upside of entering into a policy that the market is defacto already following is limited. Instead, the Fed has created optionality for itself. Additionally, the market started to question whether the results of the Fed’s policy review would indeed be presented in September, where average inflation targeting – ie letting inflation run Hot – would be a core part.
The timing of such a big announcement is creating an issue for the Fed, given the election, the recovery and the situation with the virus. September we believe will be entering a period of max uncertainty on the those three issues, which makes commitment to long term plans hard to justify, and it may be the Fed it trying to – again – create optionality for itself by delaying until, let's say, December.
But given the correlations we have been highlighting between rates, equities, commodities (Gold is correlating strongly with TLT, for instance) and realised volatility, any sense that rates COULD go higher caused the spill lower in stocks, especially given the horrendous breadth in US equity leadership, weakness in Asian stocks and a stalling in European markets.
Figure 1: Comparison of the Fed Balance Sheet with the S&P 500, Source: Fred, June 2020