MONDAY SCOUTING REPORT
Last week was crazy. Treasuries tumbled sending the 10-year yield above 2.5% for the first time since April 2011. Gold crashed below $1,300, hitting its lowest levels since September 2010. And the S&P 500 ended the week at 1,592, down 5.6% from its high of the year.
Market volatility has been elevated ever since Wednesday when Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke suggested that the Fed could begin to taper, or scale back, its stimulative monthly purchases of $85 billion worth of bonds “later this year.“
“Expect further market volatility and liquidity dislocations in the immediate period ahead,” said PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian. “[M]arkets and the Fed are now even more highly dependent on sustained evidence that the real economy is indeed on a solid improving trends, including a consequential rise in actual and expected nominal GDP growth.”
This week, eight Federal Reserve officials will be speaking as at least 10 critical economic reports come out.
- Were the Fed’s words too aggressive?: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard thinks so. He was the lone dovish dissenter at last week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. “President Bullard also felt that the Committee’s decision to authorise the Chairman to lay out a more elaborate plan for reducing the pace of asset purchases was inappropriately timed,” said the St. Louis Fed in a press release. “President Bullard felt that the Committee’s decision to authorise the Chairman to make an announcement of an approximate timeline for reducing the pace of asset purchases to zero was a step away from state-contingent monetary policy.”
- Fedspeak has never been more important: Markets appeared to be blindsided by the Fed on Wednesday. And now, the world has never been more hungry for clues about what the Fed will do next. A whole bunch of Federal Reserve Board Governers and Federal Reserve Bank presidents will be giving speeches around the world this week. -Richard Fisher: Monday, 1:00 p.m. ET, London -Narayana Kocherlakota: Wednesday, 1:55 a.m. ET, Seoul -Jerome Powell: Thursday, 10:30 a.m. ET, Washington D.C. -Dennis Lockhart: Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ET, Ma-rietta, GA -Jeremy Stein: Friday, 8:30 a.m. ET, New York, NY -Jeffrey Lacker: Friday, 9:15 a.m. ET, White Sulfur Springs, WV -Sandra Pianalto: Friday, 12:00 p.m. ET, Wheeling, WV -John Williams: Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Rohnert, CA
- Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey (Monday): Economists estimate this regional Fed’s business activity index climb to a breakeven level of 0.0 in June from -10.5 in May.
- Durable Goods Orders (Tuesday): Economists estimate that CPI climbed by 0.2% in May. “[W]ith the exception of the Kansas Fed manufacturing index, regional manufacturing surveys … posted negative readings in May,” said Wells Fargo’s John Silvia. “Despite this weakness, May’s headline reading will likely be boosted by an increase in civilian aircraft orders.”
- S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (Tuesday): Economists estimate that home prices climbed 1.5% month-over-month in April. “Figures collected by data provider CoreLogic suggest that home selling prices in the 20 metropolitan areas canvassed by S&P/Case-Shiller (SPCS) not only remained on an uptrend but also accelerated sharply in April,” said Societe Generale’s Brian Jones who believes prices could be at their highest levels since October 2008.
- New Home Sales (Tuesday): Economists estimate new home sales climbed to a pace of 460,000 in May, up from 454,000 in April. “New Home Sales should improve significantly to a 465,000 unit annual pace in May, as indicated by a surge in mortgage purchase applications,” said Morgan Stanley’s Vincent Reinhart who has an above-consensus estimate.
- Consumer Confidence (Tuesday): Economists estimate consumer confidence slipped to 75.0 in June from 76.2 a month ago. “Since the start of June, equity prices have been very volatile,” noted Capital Economics’ Paul Dales. “Labour market conditions are only improving gradually. For example, jobless claims have been below 350,000 in just two of the last four weeks. These factors probably explain the falls in some of the other measures of sentiment that have already been released.”
- Q1 GDP (Wednesday): Economists estimate the next revision of Q1 GDP to show a 2.4%pace of growth, unchanged from last month’s revision.
- Personal Income and Spending (Thursday): Economists estimate income climbed 0.2% and spending increased 0.4% in May. “Much of the increase in spending is … due to a much lower saving rate which appears to have stabilised over the past couple of months at 2.5 per cent,” said Wells Fargo’s Silvia. “We continue to expect consumer spending to increase at a modest pace over the next two years.”
- Pending Home Sales (Thursday): Economists estimate pending home sales climbed 1.0% month-over-month in May.
- Chicago PMI (Friday): Economists estimate that Chicago’s business barometer index fell to 55.0 in June from 58.7 a month ago.
- Consumer Sentiment (Friday): Economists estimate the University of Michigan’s reading of sentiment climbed to 83.0 in June.
The big question on everyone’s mind is whether it’s time to buy stocks after last week’s sell-off, especially considering the elevated volatility.
Citi’s Tobias Levkovich says no.
“Investors may be encouraged by a VIX reading above 20 but they shouldn’t be,” warned Levkovich in a note to clients on Thursday. “Factors such as tapering, international economic disappointments and challenges for a quicker anticipated equity market leadership shift into global cyclicals suggest that the environment may not be that conducive for a new rally effort quite yet.”
Levkovich currently expects the S&P 500 to end the year at 1,615.
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