Tuesday, May 3, 2022


The plans are now set for a hard landing at the zero bound. 

Everything EXCEPT, seeing it coming...

With each FOMC meeting, the Fed keeps upping the ante. Now, the stakes have NEVER been higher, but you would never know it by today's circus quality financial commentary - by far the dumbest we've seen in our lifetimes. The longest bull market in history has succeeded in making everyone forget what a bear market looks like. The crash in March 2020 was of such short duration that it doesn't even show up on a monthly chart. All it was is a corrective pullback on the way to a pandemic-driven Tech bubble blow-off top.

Deja vu of Y2K:

Contrary to popular belief, the Fed's REAL mistake was keeping their balance sheet inflated for far too long while investors gambled with impunity. Investors only finally took notice when inflation seeped into the actual economy. Prior to that there was no complaining as profits and stocks sky-rocketed to RECORD highs.

NOW, EVERYONE knows the Fed made a big mistake. So to make up for it the Fed is making a much bigger mistake. And the same people who ignored the first mistake, are ignoring this one as well.


Unbeknownst to all of today's pundits, in the period while the Fed was asleep at the wheel, the bond market did their job for them. The two year sky-rocketed at the fastest rate in history.

Here we see the two year yield is above the Fed rate by the most since the last two recessions.

Which is where this all gets interesting. In the sense that watching an Idiocracy self-destruct is fascinating. 

The Treasury market has collapsed. Therefore the spread between junk bonds and Treasuries has narrowed. Which gives the Fed the illusion of LOW credit risk. Usually spreads compress when the junk bond market rallies. This time, spreads are compressed because Treasuries have collapsed. 

Which is why the Fed's proprietary financial risk index is at RECORD lows despite the largest bond market collapse in HISTORY.

Giving a totally erroneous signal of "low risk". When nothing could be further from the inconvenient TRUTH:

The stock bulls' case is that despite the obvious risks, there is too much pessimism in the market to allow a meaningful break lower. So far in 2022 that has been the case. The market has pounded the FOMC support level multiple times this year only to bounce higher. Which has kept everyone guessing: is this a correction in a bull market, or a top in a bear market? Most of today's investors are in the former camp - short term bearish and long-term bullish. They see this FOMC rate spurt as a mere speed bump to the next bull market. 

IF the bulls are right, there is currently TOO much bearishness. for a bull market. However, in the context of a bear market, there is not nearly enough bearishness to keep this market from breaking lower.

LONG-TERM active manager risk exposure has been above 50% for seven years straight:

The abiding delusion is that in the event of major selloff the Fed can pivot from max hawkish to max dovish quickly enough to keep markets from exploding. 

Which is why we find ourselves camped at a similar breadth level as 2018. EXCEPT, back then, the Fed rate was ALREADY at 2.5%, the balance sheet had been reduced considerably, inflation was muted, and of course Trump demanded the Fed reverse policy. 

This time NONE of those factors apply. And yet, today's investors are even MORE sanguine than they were back then, now facing DOUBLE the level of tightening. 

It's MORAL HAZARD on steroids. Investors have been bailed out so many times that they no longer manage risk. So much for the "too bearish" theory.  


In summary, despite the Fed's KNOWN prior error in keeping policy too loose, and their latest error in tightening TOO fast, today's investors maintain their belief that central banks are INVINCIBLE. And can bail them out of every situation, even when they themselves are no longer hedging. It's the imaginary Fed put. 

The Fed on the other hand is hellbent on restoring their LOST credibility. Therefore, they are not focused on the implosion of global markets and the Nasdaq.

So it is that we are pile driving straight into the zero bound at MAXIMUM VELOCITY.

And so it is that no greater fool wants to see it coming.