Last week was a continuation of an exuberant market during earnings season and a flailing economy complete with bad housing data and seven additional FDIC bank closings. The bulls argue corporate balance sheets while bears focus on the economic data. So, which is safer; driving looking into the rear view mirror or the windshield?
There is near unanimous agreement in the market that deflation has defeated inflation. Unanimous consensus always makes me nervous. Looking around the US, deflation is prominent, with all things real estate. However, US real estate is losing its impact, month by month, on the global economy.
What cannot be timed is when global growth, and the inflation that comes with it, overrides the drag of American real estate.
The amazing Treasury bond market is like sleeping with a very large snake; hopefully, you wake up first. The bond market is pricing in a near depression, perhaps, while the stock market is celebrating business as usual. Or, the rest of the world is madly purchasing US debt, thereby, driving down yields, as there is no safe alternative to treasuries, at the moment. The wild card is government intervention – or the lack of it – from an economic perspective.
On the other hand, the municipal bond market continues to offer a much better yield, although, 41 out of 50 states are insolvent, and all five Gulf States are exposed to loss of revenue and clean up expenses from the BP oil spill.
Gold was up $1 buck last week. Gold is still outperforming stocks for the year.
The week ahead offers more corporate earnings reports and several important economic reports.