Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Morning Note: China's Playing With a Beachball

The Federal Reserve winds down its June policy meeting today, rate announcement coming at 11am pt, press conference with J. Powell to follow.

Jittery trading so far this week says that markets fear that the Fed may hint that they are aware of inflationary forces that may indeed turn out to be something more than simply "transitory" and, thus, outline what they might actually do about it.

While in my view that makes perfect sense, the number it'd do on markets makes such a confession -- at this particular meeting -- while indeed possible, a lower probability than them focusing on the millions of folks who remain out of work, disappointing retail sales yesterday, yada yada... Without, by the way, remotely acknowledging the fact that hugely generous government benefits pretty much explains both data points (excessive unemployment benefits [disincentive to take a job], and the comedown off of the last stimulus check resulting in lower than expected retail sales).

In this week's forthcoming main message I'm going to stay on the inflation topic and make the case for notably higher commodity prices (copper in particular) in the years ahead.

Speaking of copper, China's risking what you might call the beachball effect when it comes to the most ubiquitous industrial metal on the planet. I.e., as I've noted herein, they are actively attempting to tamp down its price. Overnight the government took another step by ordering state-owned companies to reduce their purchases of metals being released from strategic stockpiles. Copper made new multi-week lows on that news.

The beachball effect is a metaphor for what happens when you let go of an inflated beach ball that you've pulled as deep as you can below the surface in your swimming pool.

Asian equities had a rough go of it last night, with 10 of the 16 markets we track closing notably in the red (China in particular).

Europe's seeing mostly modest, yet positive, moves on the morning: 13 of the 19 bourses we follow are green as I type.

U.S. stocks are mixed: Dow down 28 points (0.08%), SP500 up 0.03%, SP500 Equal Weight down 0.26%, Nasdaq 100 up 0.48%, Nasdaq Comp up 0.35%, Russell 2000 down 0.66%.

The VIX (SP500 implied volatility) is down 2.59%. VXN (Nasdaq 100 i.v.) is down 1.34%.

Oil futures are up 0.33%, gold's down 0.10%, silver's up 0.25%, copper futures (rebounding) are up 1.14% and the ag complex is up 0.15%.

The 10-year treasury is up (yield down) and the dollar is down 0.03%.

Led by solar stocks, wind stocks, MP (rare earth miner), healthcare stocks and uranium miners -- but dragged by base metals miners, bank stocks, energy stocks, ALB (lithium miner) and industrial stocks -- our core mix is off 0.09% to start the session.

Words for investors, and investment managers, to live by:

"There are always risks out there that can hurt you badly, even in the seemingly safest bets, so it’s always best to assume you’re missing something."   --Ray Dalio

Have a great day!

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