Gold is Flying
Gold has enjoyed an impressive rally over the last 5 weeks – up 6% in the month of October. Historically, gold has always been the quintessential “flight-to-quality” asset. Whenever there are geopolitical or macroeconomic fears permeating financial markets, gold has outperformed. As it stands, December gold is on the brink of retesting the psychologically significant $2,000/oz level. So is the recent price strength evidence of investors’ fears of a looming recession? What other evidence would support this?
Crude Oil is Crying
Crude oil has fallen as sharply as gold has rallied. Since the swing high to 89.85 on October 29th, crude oil prices have fallen more than $13/barrel – settling at $72.90 on Thursday. Price contractions of this magnitude are typically demand driven, which would be another feather in the cap of demand growth fears on behalf of market participants. But, how could you explain the recent performance of the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Russell 2000? In short – interest rates. As we near what is expected to be the end of the Fed’s rate hike cycle, equities have performed very well in anticipation of rates eventually coming down. The primary reason that the Fed would halt rate hikes, or begin lowering rates would come as a result of economic slowdowns.
Stocks Are Strong
All in all, the American economy has proven resilient. The rally underway in the equity markets has been substantiated by strong economic data, and disinflationary CPI readings. The proverbial “canary in the coal mine” could be consumer credit and lower-than-normal personal savings rates. However, there are very few signs of a robust economic breakdown coming in the immediate future in the United States.
Matthew Bresnahan, Market Strategist