FOMC Preview and Projections plus the Wildcard to Watch, July 25, 2017

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Tomorrow’s FOMC meeting is important to markets for multiple reasons, because it will give us additional color on when the Fed will begin to reduce its balance sheet, and whether a December rate hike is still on the table.

Those revelations will be the latest catalyst for the ongoing battle between “reflation” (which means cyclical sectors like banks, industrials and small caps outperform) or “stagnation” (super-cap tech and defensive sector out-performance).

Given the latter sectors have been the key to outperforming the markets in 2017, understanding what the Fed means for these sectors is critically important. Remember, it was the Fed’s “hawkish” June statement that saw Treasury yields rise and banks and small caps outperform from June through mid-July. And, it was Yellen’s “dovish” Humphrey-Hawkins testimony that reversed the rise in yields and resulted in the two-week outperformance of super-cap tech (FDN) and defensive sectors such as utilities. So again, while not dominating the headlines, the Fed is still an important influence over the markets, just on more of a micro-economic level.

What’s Expected: No Change to Interest Rates or Balance Sheet Policy. The Fed is not expected to make any change to rates (so no hike) or begin the reduction of the balance sheet. However, and this is important, the Fed is expected to clearly signal that balance sheet reduction will begin in September by altering the fifth paragraph to state that balance sheet normalization will begin “soon” or “at the next meeting.” Likely Market Reaction: Withheld for Sevens Report subscribers. Unlock by starting your free trial today.

Hawkish If: The Fed Reduces the Balance Sheet. This would be a legitimate hawkish shock, as everyone expects the Fed to start balance sheet reduction in September. Likely Market Reaction: Withheld for Sevens Report subscribers. Unlock by starting your free trial today.

Dovish If: No Hint At Balance Sheet Reduction. If the Fed leaves the language in paragraph five unchanged (and says balance sheet reduction will happen “this year”) markets will react dovishly, as balance sheet reduction likely won’t start until after September, and that means no more rate hikes in 2017. Likely Market Reaction: Withheld for Sevens Report subscribers. Unlock by starting your free trial today.

Wild Card to Watch: Inflation Language.

So far, the Fed has been pretty dismissive regarding the undershoot of inflation, but that may change in tomorrow’s statement. If the Fed reduces its outlook on inflation (implying low inflation isn’t just temporary) or, more significantly, implies the risks are no longer “roughly balanced” (which is Fed speak for we can hike at any meeting), then a December rate hike will be off the table, and that will result in a likely significantly dovish move. If made, that change will come at the end of the second paragraph.

Bottom Line

To the casual observer, this Fed meeting might look like a non-event, but there are a lot of potential changes that could have significant implications on sector performance over the next few months. So, again, getting this Fed meeting “right” will be important from an asset allocation standpoint.

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Market Implications of Fed Vice Chair Dudley’s Optimistic Statements

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What are the market implications the optimistic statements from Fed Vice Chair (and President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) William Dudley’s optimistic statements this week?

Fed Vice Chair Dudley reiterated and bolstered Fed Chair Yellen’s “steady as she goes” message on rate increases last week, again dismissing low inflation as not a big enough problem to stop the Fed from continuing to hike.

Additionally, Dudley was optimistic about economic growth, saying he was “confident” the current economic expansion had plenty left in the tank.

Bottom line, Dudley reiterated that the Fed is committed to raising interest rates and removing accommodation, and that caused a mildly “hawkish” reaction across currencies and bonds.

It also helped push stocks higher (although stocks were already in rally mode). So, our general Fed outlook remains the same: Balance sheet reduction starting in September, and a rate hike in December.

However, in order for the hawkish tone from the Fed to get the Dollar Index and yields moving higher, we’ll have to see actual improvement in the economic data, and that remains elusive. As such, the market remains skeptical about future rate hikes, despite the Fed’s warnings (Fed fund futures are pricing in just a 20% chance of a September hike, and 40% chance of a December hike). So, the Fed has some work left to do on reestablishing its hawkish credibility after years of ultra-dovishness.

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Fed Takeaways: What the Hike Means for Markets, June 15, 2017

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FOMC Decision: The Fed increased the Fed Funds rate 25 basis points, as expected.

Wednesday’s Fed decision was not the dovish hike the market was expecting, although it wasn’t exactly a hawkish decision, either (even considering Yellen’s balance sheet surprise). Looking at the statement, the Fed wasn’t as dovish in its language as the consensus expected. The economic growth language remained good, and actually improved a bit from the May statement.

The inflation language, as expected, was downgraded, but the Fed refrained from changing the characterization of risks, and left them “roughly balanced.” That’s Fed speak for “any meeting is live for a rate hike.”

However, the Fed did note the undershooting of inflation recently, and explicitly said they are monitoring inflation, meaning if it continues to underperform they will react with easier policy. For now, the best way to characterize the statement is “steady as she goes,” with regard to the Fed’s current outlook.

Wildcard to Watch: Balance Sheet Reduction

We were right to make this our wildcard to watch, as the topic of the balance sheet provided the only real surprise in yesterday’s Fed meeting.

Importantly, the Fed gave guidance on all three major balance sheet related questions: When will it reduce the balance sheet? How will it reduce the balance sheet? What holdings will it reduce?

What will it reduce: The Fed revealed that it will simultaneously reduce holdings of both Treasuries and Mortgage Backed Securities, which was generally expected.

How will it reduce its balance sheet: The Fed will implement a rising monthly “cap” on principal reinvestments. What that means, practically, is the Fed will not reinvest the first $6 billion of Treasury principal and the first $4 billion of MBS principal, making it a total of $10 billion that it won’t reinvest each month, at least initially. That cap will rise by $10B every three months, so one year from the start date (which will likely be September), the Fed will no longer be reinvesting $50B worth of bond principal payments per month. That number and this escalation is not surprising, and was close to in line with most forecasts (i.e. this wasn’t “hawkish.”)

When will the Fed start Reducing the balance sheet: This was the surprise, as Fed Chair Yellen said balance sheet reduction could start “relatively soon.” That is sooner than expected, as the consensus was the Fed would hike rates again in September, and start to reduce the balance sheet in December. Now, that may be flipped.

Since reduction of the balance sheet is like the Fed hiking rates, this was taken as mildly hawkish, and the dollar bounced along with bond yields. However, this surprise is not a hawkish gamechanger, and won’t alter anyone’s outlook on Fed policy going forward.

Bottom line, for all the noise and production yesterday, the Fed outlook remains broadly the same: One more rate hike and balance sheet reduction in 2017, unless inflation metrics get much worse.

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Could The Fed Give a Hawkish Surprise Today?, June 14, 2017

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The simple answer is probably not, but there is a better chance than previous meetings because of one simple reason: Despite two rate hikes since December, in aggregate, “financial conditions” have gotten “looser” in 2017, so Fed rate hikes aren’t really working.

Financial conditions is a term that was coined (for all intents and purposes) after the financial crisis, so we could see financial conditions were getting very tight (i.e. less credit availability) and when liquidity was drying up.

Now, in a post-crisis world, multiple institutions keep “Financial Conditions Indices” that measure the level of interest rates, liquidity in the system, credit availability and other measures of whether the availability of money and credit is getting loose (i.e. more availability) or tight (less availability).

I watch three such indices: (withheld for subscribers—unlock with a free trial). All three have slightly different methodologies, but all generally try and accomplish the same objective, which is to see if financial conditions in the economy are “looser” (i.e. easier credit/more liquidity) or if they’re getting “tighter” (i.e. less credit and less liquidity).

Here’s the important takeaway: All three financial conditions indices have shown aggregate financial conditions getting looser since the start of the year. In fact, in aggregate, financial conditions have eased by the equivalent of a 25 basis point rate cut since 2017 started, despite two rate hikes.

The reasons for this are somewhat obvious: Liquidity remains ample; credit remains readily available, interest rates are down, the stock market and housing prices are up (so more ability to borrow).

From a Fed standpoint, the takeaway is this: The fact that the Fed’s “slow walk” in interest rates isn’t mopping up excess liquidity in the market may make the central bank more prone to get “hawkish,” which again would be positive for banks and cyclicals (i.e. the reflation trade), but negative for defensives and higher-yielding sectors (utilities, consumer staples, REITs).

Again, I’m not saying the Fed will be surprisingly hawkish today, but if I had to bet on a surprise based on these financial conditions indices, I’d bet hawkish over dovish (although I’m making the dangerous assumption the Fed is serious about getting rates back to normal levels).

Bigger picture, though, the takeaway here is that the Fed’s policies, so far, are not having the desired effect. And, if this continues, the Fed will have to “shock” markets with a substantial rate hike at some point if it wants to regain market related credibility—and that increases the risk of higher rates over the longer term (or, higher inflation if they don’t provide that shock).

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This Week’s Fed Decision Takeaway and Rate Hikes To Come, May 4, 2017

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The Fed made no changes to interest rates this week, as expected.

Fed Decision Takeaway

The Fed statement almost perfectly met our “Meets Expectations If” scenario, as the Fed acknowledged the slight loss of economic momentum since March, but stated it viewed the slowing as only temporary, and left the door firmly open for a rate hike in June.

Looking specifically at the statement, the Fed said yesterday that economic activity had “slowed” compared to “expanded at a moderate pace” in March. But, in the second paragraph, the Fed said the loss of economic momentum appears to be “transitory,” and signaled the recent underwhelming data won’t make the Fed deviate from future rate hikes.

Underscoring that point was the fact that the Fed said risks to the near-term economic outlook continue to be “roughly balanced,” which is Fed speak for “we can hike rates at any meeting going forward.” Bottom line, the Fed was not spooked by the recent soft data and it is not deterring them from any future rate hikes… yet.

From a market standpoint, there was a mild “hawkish” reaction, not so much because the statement was hawkish, but instead because there was nothing dovish in the statement. That’s what markets have become conditioned to expect. The Dollar Index drifted to the highs of the day 30 minutes after the statement while the 30-year Treasury erased small gains and closed fractionally lower. Stocks drifted slightly lower, but selling was mild. Overall, the Fed statement was not a market mover.

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FOMC Preview and the Next Rate Hike, May 2, 2017

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There is virtually no chance the Fed will hike rates at tomorrow’s meeting, as the chances were slim before the recently disappointing economic data. Now, those chances have declined to near zero. The key question tomorrow is: Just how forcefully will the Fed telegraph the next rate hike?

The answer to that question, taken in the important context of the recent slowing of economic momentum, will decide whether the FOMC decision pushes stocks higher, or whether we see a retracement of the recent gains.

May FOMC Meeting Preview + Next Rate Hikes

Hawkish If: The Fed clearly signals a rate hike is coming in June. Right now, Fed fund futures are pricing in about a 70% chance the Fed does hike rates, but that’s not a consensus expectation, yet. If the Fed specifically points to the “next” meeting in tomorrow’s statement (as it did in the fall of 2015 and 2016) as the likely date of the next rate increase, you will see markets react hawkishly as a June rate hike is not a foregone conclusion. Additionally, if the Fed is still intent on hiking rates in June despite recent economic data disappointments, that might imply a Fed that is more hawkish than previously expected.

Likely Market Reaction: Withheld for subscribers. Unlock with a free two-week trial of The Sevens Report.

Meets Expectations If: The Fed slightly downgrades the assessment of the economy in paragraphs one and two, but also says any slowing of activity is likely only temporary (it’s the temporary part that is the key). Markets expect the Fed to acknowledge the modest loss of economic momentum, but not to make too big a deal out of it.

Likely Market Reaction: Withheld for subscribers. Unlock with a free two-week trial of The Sevens Report.

Dovish If: The Fed materially downgrades economic commentary in paragraph one and downgrades the outlook on inflation, and in doing so materially reduces the chances for a June rate hike. Specifically, to be dovish we would need to see 1) A downgrade of both the growth and inflation language in paragraph one, plus no mention of it being temporary. The net effect would be to remove the expectation for a June rate hike.

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Wildcard to Watch

Fed Balance Sheet. As we have covered, the reduction of the Fed’s balance sheet is an important but under reported topic that could result in a more-hawkish-than-anticipated Fed. Specifically, the major questions facing the Fed regarding the balance sheet are:

1) When will the Fed begin to reduce the balance sheet (2017 or 2018)?

2) What securities will the Fed stop buying (just Treasuries or Mortgage Backed Securities, too)?

3) How will the Fed stop reinvesting proceeds (all at once, or gradually)?

How these questions are answered will determine whether the Fed balance sheet is a hawkish influence on markets (yields up, stocks potentially down).

I (and almost everyone else) do not expect the Fed to touch on this in this week’s meeting. However, if the Fed does address this topic, it will come in paragraph five of the statement. Any change there will likely have hawkish implications on markets tomorrow, but again any changes are unlikely.

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Last Week and This Week in Economics, May 1, 2017

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Economic data continued to underwhelm last week and the gap between soft sentiment surveys and actual, hard economic data remains wide, and that gap remains a medium term risk on the markets.

The Sevens Report - This week and last week

Last week in Economics – 4.24.17

Looking at the headliner from last week, Q1 GDP, it was underwhelming, as expected. Headline GDP was just 0.7% vs. (E) 1.1%, and consumer spending (known as Personal Consumption Expenditures or PCE) rose a mea-sly 0.3%. But, the 0.7% headline met the soft whisper number and that’s why stocks didn’t fall hard on Friday.

That GDP report came on the heels of another underwhelming Durable Goods number. The headline missed estimates but the more importantly, New Orders for Non-Defense Capital Goods ex-Aircraft rose just 0.2% vs. (E) 0.4%, although revisions to the February data were positive.

Meanwhile, inflation metrics firmed up last week. First, the PCE Price Index in Friday’s GDP report rose 2.2% vs. (E) 2.0%, while the Employment Cost Index, a quarterly gauge of compensation expenses, rose 0.8% in Q1 vs. (E) 0.4%. Those higher inflation readings were why you saw the dollar rally pre-open Friday despite the disappointing GDP report.

Bottom line, the economic data over the past several weeks hasn’t been “bad” and it’s not like anyone is worried about a recession. But, the pace of gains has clearly slowed, and until we see a resumption of the economic acceleration many analysts were expecting at the start of 2017, any material stock rally from here will not be economically or fundamentally supported (and remember, it was the turn in economic data back in August/September that ignited the late 2016 rally. Yes, the election helped, but the momentum was positive before that event, so economics do matter).

This Week in Economics – 5.1.17

Economic data this week could go a long way towards helping to resolve the large gap between soft sentiment surveys and hard economic data, given the large volume of economic reports looming this week.

First, it’s jobs week, so we get the ADP Employment Report on Wednesday and the official jobs report on Friday. We’ll do our typical “Goldilocks Jobs Report Preview” on Thursday, but after March’s disappointing jobs number, the risks to this report are more balanced (it could easily be too hot if the number is strong and there are positive revisions, or it could be too cold and further fuel worries about the pace of growth).

Second in importance this week is the Fed meeting on Wednesday. The reason this is second in importance is because it’s widely assumed the Fed won’t hike rates at this meeting (June is the next most likely date for a rate hike), although the Fed has turned slightly more hawkish so there’s always the possibility. We’ll send our FOMC Preview in Wednesday’s report but the wildcard for this meeting is whether the Fed gives us any more color into how it plans to reduce its balance sheet. If the Fed does reference or start to explain how its plans to reduce its balance sheet, that could be a hawkish surprise for markets.

Finally, we get the global manufacturing and composite PMIs this week. Most of Europe is closed today for May Day so just the US ISM Manufacturing PMI comes today, with the European and Japanese numbers out tomorrow. Then, on Wednesday, we get the US Service Sector PMI and global composite PMIs on Thursday. The global numbers should be fine but the focus will be on the US data. In March we saw a loss of positive momentum in these indices but the absolute levels of activity remained healthy. If we see more moderation and declines in the ISM Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMIs in April, that will stoke worries about the overall pace of growth in the economy and that will be a headwind on stocks.

Bottom line, this a pretty pivotal week for the markets. On one hand, if economic data is strong and the Fed a non-event, the S&P 500 could push and potentially break-through 2400. Conversely, if economic data is underwhelming and the Fed mildly hawkish, we could easily see last week’s earnings/French election rally given back, and the S&P 500 could fall back into the middle of the 2300-2400 two months long trading range.

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Fed Balance Sheet Primer, April 11, 2016

Fed Balance Sheet Primer

An excerpt below from today’s subscriber edition of Sevens Report.

Fed Balance Sheet Primer

Markets remain consumed by politics and geopolitics, but really the biggest macro surprise so far for 2017 came from the Fed last week, with the realization that they could begin to shrink their balance sheet in 2017. That event has potentially hawkish implications for bonds (bonds lower, yields higher), the dollar (higher) and stocks (increased headwind).

We initially warned about this possibility back in mid-March in our FOMC Preview. And, as we said back then, you’re going to be reading a lot more about this in the coming weeks, so I want to cover this topic more fully so that everyone has proper context.

Why Is The Fed Balance Sheet Important? The Fed balance sheet has ballooned over the past eight years given all the bonds it has purchased through the various QE programs. Unwinding that balance sheet without up-setting asset markets is quickly becoming the Fed’s highest priority.

To get specific, right now the Fed reinvests all the proceeds from a matured bond on its balance sheet—but that’s going to change. If the Fed gets $100 million in short-term Treasuries redeemed, right now it simply buys $100 million worth of new Treasuries. But when the Fed stops that reinvestment, that $100 million wouldn’t go back into the bond market, removing a source of demand.

The point is that when the Fed stops reinvesting principal, that will be potentially bond negative/yield positive, and that process needs to be managed very carefully considering the size of the balance sheet ($2.4 trillion in Treasuries, $1.7 trillion in mortgage backed securities).

When Will the Fed Stop Reinvesting All Bond Proceeds? Until last Wednesday, the unanimous answer would have been “2018.” But, following the Minutes, it’s looking more likely that the Fed could begin to end reinvestment of proceeds in December 2017.

Very Hawkish If:… Hawkish If:… Neutral If:… Dovish If:…

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What Will the Fed Stop Buying? Right now, the Fed rein-vests proceeds from both Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), so the question facing markets is whether the Fed will stop reinvestments in just one of these two securities, or whether it will stop reinvestments in both. Until the Minutes, it was assumed the Fed would only begin halting reinvestments in MBS (that way they could further support Treasuries, the more critically important market).

Hawkish If: … Neutral If: …

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How Will the Fed Stop Reinvesting Proceeds? The major question here is whether the Fed will slowly reduce the amount of reinvestment gradually, or whether it will just halt reinvestments all together. To illustrate the point, if one week the Fed has $100 million in bonds paying off, will they reinvest $50 of the $100 and reduce that number gradually over time, or will they just not reinvest any of the $100?

Given Fed history, a gradual reduction is what everyone expects; however, in the Minutes they talked about zero reinvestment, and it seems like the Fed is getting a bit antsy to get policy closer to normal.

Hawkish If:… Neutral If:…

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Bottom Line

This topic isn’t exactly exciting, and it won’t grab the headlines, but it is shaping up to be one of the bigger market influences in 2017. The reason why is simple: No one knows what’s going to happen to the bond market once the Fed begins to remove itself. On a percentage basis, it’s not like the Fed dominates the daily trading in Treasury markets. Yet sentiment is a funny thing, and the Fed needs to manage the unwind of a $4.1 trillion balance sheet successfully, because the potential for some sort of a market dislocation (especially in the age of algorithms and HFTs) isn’t insignificant. So, please keep this primer as a reference point, because I would be shocked if the Fed balance sheet doesn’t cause some sort of volatility in 2017 (beyond just the Wednesday reversal the news caused last week).

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Last Week and This Week in Economics, April 3, 2017

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Last Week

Sevens Report - April 3, 2017 - This Week and Last WeekEconomic data was sparse again last week, but what data did come beat expectations (although it didn’t do a lot to bridge the gap between survey-based indicators and hard economic data). Still, the numbers did continue to be enough to offset growing Washington noise.

Consumer confidence was the highlight of the week, and it blew away expectations. The number rose to the highest level since summer 2001, coming in at 125.6 vs. (E) 113.8. While a strong number, that is another sentiment survey, and these soaring sentiment surveys need to start reflecting in the hard data starting in Q2 (remember, Q1 GDP is still expected to be around 1%).

The other notable number last week was Pending Home Sales, which also beat estimates, rising 5.5% vs. (E) 2.5%. The biggest takeaway from the March housing data is that it appears higher mortgage rates are not hurting the residential housing market, and that’s an important but underappreciated tailwind on the economy, generally speaking. Going forward, a stable housing market remains critical if there’s any hope to seeing a material economic acceleration.

Bottom line, the last two weeks have been light on economic data, but what numbers we’ve got have generally been good, and as a broad statement the economic data has continued to offset lack of progress in Washington… but that trend will be put to the test this week.

This Week

After two quiet weeks of economic releases, we more than make up for it this week, as the three most-important economic releases of the month all come over the next five days. From a broader context standpoint, with Washington stuck in neutral and hopes of big tax reform fading, economic data needs to stay firm to support stocks. If the data disappoints this week, don’t be surprised if we test last week’s lows.

The most important release this week is Friday’s jobs report. We will do our typical “Jobs Report Preview” later this week, but again it’s important this number is Goldilocks, in that it’s strong enough to support the market, but not so strong that it makes a May rate hike more likely.

The next most-important release this week is the global manufacturing PMIs (out today). The European and Asian numbers have already been released, and focus now turns to the March ISM Manufacturing PMI at 10 a.m. today. This number is taking on a bit more significance due to the disappointment of the flash manufacturing PMI of two weeks ago. It hit a surprise six-month low, so markets will want to see the ISM Manufacturing PMI refute that reading.

The manufacturing PMI is followed by the global manufacturing PMIs out Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Those reports will again potentially confirm the uptick in global growth, and especially in Europe, where numbers have been strong lately. Domestically, it’s the same story. Economic data needs to support this market in the face of disappointment from Washington. Failure to do that puts this rally at risk.

The only other notable event this week will be the ECB minutes. If the minutes read hawkish, that could put a temporary headwind on HEDJ and long Europe positions. But a dip will likely be a buying opportunity in HEDJ.

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Economics, This Week and Last Week, March 20, 2017

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Sevens Report - Last Week and This WeekLast week was generally “Goldilocks” from an economic data and Fed standpoint, as economic data continued to be buoyant while the Fed successfully executed a dovish hike (at least in the short term).

Starting with the Fed, the FOMC hiked interest rates 25 bps, as expected, but left the dot projections for 2017 and 2018 unchanged at three hikes each. Given market expectations for an increase in the dots, the reaction was immediately dovish (stocks up, bonds up, gold up, dollar down).

As we said last week, it’s important to see the forest for the trees. Regardless of the Fed’s projections, the first hike of 2017 came three months earlier than expected, and the question going forward isn’t whether the Fed hikes again, but “when” and “how often.”

If inflation data keeps rising and economic activity accelerates (or we actually get corporate tax cuts) the answers to those rate hike questions will be “soon,” and “more than three times.” Point being, don’t confuse the short-term dovish reaction with a reduction in risk from a hawkish Fed throughout 2017. The risk hasn’t changed.

Looking at the economic data last week, it showed an ongoing “reflation trade,” as inflation and growth data beat estimates. Both February PPI and CPI ran a touch “hot,” and showed either bigger-than-expected monthly increases (PPI) or year-over-year price increases that were the biggest in several years (headline CPI rising by 2.7%).

Meanwhile, the first economic data points from March, Empire Manufacturing and Philly Fed, also both beat expectations. Philly was 32.8 vs. (E) 30.0 and New Orders, the leading indicator of the report, rose to 38.6, which is the highest since 1983!

Actual “hard” economic data last week was a touch disappointing on the headline as Retail Sales met expectations and the “Control” group (the best measure of discretionary consumer spending) rose just 0.1% vs. (E) 0.3%. Revisions to the January data were positive and offset the disappointment, though (January control retail sales were revised to 0.8% from 0.4%).

It was a similar result with February Industrial Production being flat vs. (E) 0.2%. However, January data was revised slightly better to -0.1% vs. -0.3%. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sub-index was more positive (up 0.5% vs. (E) 0.4% and January was revised to 0.5% from 0.2%).

Bottom line, the “hard” economic data continues to lag the “soft” sentiment data (i.e. Philly/Empire Surveys) and the running estimate for Q1 GDP (the Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now) is just 0.9%, the lowest in nearly a year.

Again, it’s not an indictment of the rally just yet, but at some point, that GDP number needs to start to rise to meet the surging survey data, otherwise we’ve got a problem.

This Week: Economically speaking this will be a generally quiet week, as the notable data doesn’t come until Friday via the global flash PMIs and February Durable Goods report.

Yet despite the small number of reports, the data is still important, because it has got to continue to help support stocks in the face of ever-dimming policy prospects. So, those numbers (especially durable goods) need to continue to imply economic acceleration.

Other data to watch this week includes housing data (New Homes Sales Wednesday and Existing Home Sales Thursday), but generally housing continues to hold up well in the face of generally higher rates.

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