Happily Digesting

Yesterday was about digesting Tuesday’s softer-than-expected US CPI data, feeling relieved that the US Senate passed a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown and welcoming a softer-than-expected producer price inflation, and a softer-than-expected decline in US retail sales – which came to support the idea that, yes, the US economy is probably slowing but it is slowing slowly, while inflation is easing at a satisfactory pace.

The sweet mix of the recent economic data backs the idea that the Federal Reserve (Fed) could achieve what they call a ‘soft landing’ following an aggressive monetary policy tightening – and more importantly stop hiking the interest rates.

At this point, investors are 100% sure that the Fed won’t hike rates in December. They are 100% sure that the Fed won’t hike rates in January. There is more than a quarter of a chance for a rate cut to be announced by March. And the pricing suggests that there is a higher chance for a rate cut in the Fed’s May meeting, than not.

Conclusion: investors threw the Fed’s ‘higher for longer’ mantra out of the window this week.

But this is certainly as good as it gets in terms of Fed optimism. If the markets go faster than the music, the Fed must calm down the game by a tough talk, and if needed, by more action. The Fed’s Mary Daly expressed her concerns about the Fed’s credibility if it declared victory over inflation prematurely. And credibility is the most important tool that a central bank has. When the credibility is broken, there is nothing to break.

Therefore, the US 2-year yield may have bottom at 4.80% level and should be headed back toward 5%. The US 10-year yield should hold ground above 4.50%. As per equities, the direction is unclear to everyone, but the recent dovish shift in Fed expectations and the dropping yields gave a great energy boost to the US stocks. The S&P500 jumped more than 10% since end of October, the rate-sensitive Nasdaq 100 is now flirting with the highest levels since summer while the Russell 2000 index is having a blast since its October dip. The index rallied almost 12% in 3 weeks, pulled out the 50-DMA, the major 38.2% Fibonacci retracement and consolidated gains in the medium-term bullish consolidation zone yesterday.

As equities move higher and inflation slows, the anxiety regarding short positions mount – hence short covering is adding to the positive pressure.

The Big Short’s Micheal Burry reportedly exited his short position against SPDR’s P&P500 and Invesco’s QQQ and began betting against semiconductor stocks, including Nvidia.

Nvidia, on the other hand, is flirting with its ATM levels near the $500 per share level. A quick glance at Nvidia’s long-term price chart clearly suggests that the chances are that we are in the middle of an AI-led bubble and that the exponential move cannot extend infinitely. Yes, AI is boosting Nvidia’s revenue and profits, but the revenues that will flow into the pockets of Nvidia thanks to AI are already embedded in the share price, and we will likely see the price bubble burst. But there are two things to keep in mind when you bet against a bubble. 1. A bubble is a bubble only when it bursts – it’s like ‘you are innocent until proven guilty’. And 2. You can wait a while before the market comes back to its senses. For now, we are in the middle of making eye-popping predictions and beating them. The company is due to release earnings on November 21st.

One big risk for Nvidia is the tense relations between the US and China, and the extension of chip export curbs to a bigger range of Nvidia chips. This week’s meeting between Biden and Xi carried hope that the high-level communication could help melting ice. There has apparently been some ‘real progress’ in restoring military communication and foreign policy… Then, Joe Biden said that Xi is a dictator.

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