Last week was my 34th anniversary at CWS. I have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people over all of these years and to be blessed with my amazing partners Steve and Mike.
Investing has some parallels with driving. It’s important to have a destination that keeps you on course. I think of the destination as financial goals rooted in thoughtful consideration of powerful trends upon which to capitalize such that the wind can be put at your back while also being fully cognizant of what exposures you may have that can lead to a permanent loss of capital based on shorter-term issues arising.
I keep focusing my blog posts on economic data via chart representation because we’re in one of those times that needs to be monitored closely for trend reversals (disinflation to inflation) and a change in the Fed’s reaction function (supporting Main Street vs Wall Street).
I have been turning to charts more regularly for my weekly blog posts than I have in the past. Like most people, I see many of the challenges and price pressures resulting from the massively disrupted global supply chain. It shows up in terribly unreliable contractors (I’m having a pool built so I am experiencing this first hand) and the significant increase in the cost of materials that are leading to the rationing of some goods like plywood and even chlorine.
The multi-trillion dollar question is whether inflation is transitory. The Fed and other central bankers believe it is as this chart depicts.
As I’ve written about before, the Fed’s reaction function has switched from a forecasting-based approach to one that is now outcomes-focused in terms of needing to see tangible improvements occurring on Main Street even if it leads to speculation and large rewards on Wall Street.
Although I’m in the camp that the Fed will stick to its word and not raise short-term interest rates until after 2023 at the earliest, the market is betting differently. Rather than focusing on when the Fed will start raising rates, let’s assume that they will.
The first quarter was incredibly ugly for bond investors, particularly those with exposure to longer-maturity ones. Bond investors were not happy as Treasuries generated the worst quarterly return since 1980.
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