US stocks tried to rally after manufacturing rebounded in the Empire State, the Dubai Air Show optimism signaled the recovery is improving, Chinese activity improves, and on expectations tensions may start to ease between the US and China. The US economy is a story of two economies that has an overall strong growth outlook for the next year. Broad-based price increases are hurting several Americans and tomorrow’s retail sales report could show signs that the consumer is weakening.
Inflation will likely get the Fed hiking quickly but then they can stop after a few hikes and markets can calm down. At some point, the Fed will have to tighten financial conditions and that has some investors hesitating remaining full tilt with stocks.
Stocks drifted lower with the Nasdaq leading declines as Treasury yields jumped on expectations the Fed may have to deliver a faster taper.
Wall Street is awaiting some positive spin to come out of the virtual summit between the two world’s largest economies. President Xi is coming in with some momentum now that it appears he has secured his place at the top indefinitely. The relationship between the US and China will unlikely see any major breakthroughs as the redlines over Taiwan and human rights will not move. If Biden wants a win, he could ease on some of the Trump tariffs that are still impacting the US consumer.
Empire Manufacturing survey climbs sharply
Business activity in the Empire State is roaring back. The November Empire manufacturing survey rebounded from 19.8 to 30.9. Hiring jumped to a record high, as growth remains strong in the manufacturing sector. The outlook for the six-month outlook fell as delivery times lengthen, prices continue to surge, and as improved hiring leads to higher costs. The Empire State survey showed demand is robust and some signs of easing pricing pressures are emerging.
If inflation continues to show strong signs it will run hot a lot longer, the Fed may be forced to accelerate tapering. When the time is right, the Fed can’t move too much because an acceleration with rate hikes would trigger panic in the junk bond market. The likelihood the Fed will deliver a couple or few rate hikes and then stop has prevented the Treasury curve from steepening too much.
The long-term trend for Treasury yields is still lower as Wall Street becomes more convinced the Fed will hurt the economy by raising interest rates sooner. The dollar is benefiting from rising Treasury yields and as some investors still seek protection from growth concerns across the Atlantic.
Bitcoin prices were supported after a key weekend upgrade helped pave the way for directly providing smart contracts. It is a nice upgrade for bitcoin, but won’t really deter smart contract usage from ethereum and solana. Bitcoin is still primarily a store of value trade that should benefit from persisting inflationary pressures.
Bitcoin and ethereum have had amazing runs this year, up 121% and 521% respectively. Many crypto traders are now turning their attention towards NFTs and that broadening interest is great for long-term growth for the crypto space but might not necessarily mean higher prices for bitcoin and ethereum.
Major resistance for Bitcoin remains the USD 70,000 level.
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