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28 Trillion Reasons to be Vigilant

$28 Trillion - take a moment to reflect on this number - is the current total of the US National Debt. As of June 17th it is precisely $28,311,074,615,442.85. We titled this blog post "28 Trillion reasons to be vigilant" because this number is not going down, has not gone down in the last 15 years and is unlikely to go down. So, what does this mean for the US and for you?

1.The cost of servicing the national debt as a percentage of US revenue is going up.

2.If interest rates rise significantly, even as high as 3-4%, how sustainable is servicing the national debt? The Fed has a significant incentive - 28 trillion incentives - to keep interest rates as close to zero for as long as possible without going into negative yield territory. COVID has provided the US good excuses to do just that in addition to print/inject $6 trillion and counting into the economy. This serves several national purposes: It provides massive liquidity to withstand the shock of COVID, it devalues the US dollar by doing so, which in turn dilutes the national debt value and allows for optimum conditions to return to pre-COVID employment numbers. The counter-productive impact of this policy is of course inflation, an asset boom of historic proportions and a disincentive to return back to work on the part of the labour force who are earning more in unemplyment benefits than they would from going back to work. The latter is transitory as benefits will run out. The other impacts described, less so. As the dollar printing presses continue at full capacity, a dollar earnt is worth less.

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Identifying Trends and Moving Averages

Stock, Commodity or Bond prices do not move in a straight line. All fluctuate with changing variables including but not limited to economic, political, competitive, human or technological factors. Identifying price trends is the underlying basis of technical analysis and critical to traders and investors whether it is over a short, medium or long term basis. To do this, the technical analyst has hundreds of technical indicators at their disposal that are now also woven together in trading algorithms, AI (artifical intelligence) and trading BOT's that operate independent (largely) of any human.

Today we are going to discuss 'moving averages" which track trendlines. There are only 3 potential trendlines for any security which is Up, Down or Sideways. Moving averages track and chart prices - over different timelines - and with different formulas. For example, a simple moving average charts the closing prices of stocks over periods such as 20, 50, 100, 200 or 400 or more days. An exponential moving average places more emphasis and wieght on recent price changes than past price changes. These moving averages can be used to track micro, medium and macro trends and trends within trends. Certain moving averages are better suited or more accurate depeding on the timeline being measured. As the name suggests "moving average trend lines track "averages" which inevitably do not account for unexpected sudden events. They are "reactionary" pattern indicators and predictive only to a certain extent. As such they have value for investors or traders but they are not absolute.

Moving indicators track trends and the convergence of various moving indicators can provide "confirmatory strength" signals of a trend or additional weighting to the preponderance of a trend. Again, while no signal is written in stone, they must be understood in the context of "probability analysis" and historic metrics which in turn provide "odds". On a relative basis, these odds can determine risk and positioning in time and over time. For example if a 20 day average crosses a 50 day moving average or a 50 day average crosses a 200 day moving average to the upside or the downside, these can be indicative of a supporting trend and it's strength or weakness.

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The Melt Up Ingredients -Stimulus, Debt, Inflation & Low Interest Rates

We have seen this movie before. After the roaring 1920's, the stock market melted up to euphoric highs only to crash in stupendous fashion. In the internet boom of the late 1990's the NASDAQ hit likewise euphoric highs only to crash back down to earth. Following extremely lax lending practices coupled with low interest rates the flying real estate boom coupled with mortgage backed securities fueled the 2007/8 great recession taking the entire banking and monetary system to the brink. Massive stimulus injections lifted us out of that great depression.

Economists have long seen repeating economic cycles in history. Booms followed by Bubbles and then Busts with long periods of economic stagnation, only for the cycle to repeat. We have written about this before but want to write about it again because while we have seen this movie before in the US and all around the world, the movie we are seeing unfold the US today is different to one's we have seen in US history.  

The convergence of record national debt, stimulus, low interest rates, inflation, a booming stock market in the midst of a global recession have created a mix of ingredients that could fuel one of the great bubbles and busts of the modern era.

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What's Chaikin Folks? Identifying Money Flows

There is a whole lot of Chaikin going on! In todays blog post we are continuing the series about technical analysis and the large toolbox of indicators available. Today we are looking at an indicator that attempts to measure money flows into and out of a security.

The Chaikin Money Flow was created by Marc Chaikin along with the Chaikin Oscillator and Accumulation/Distribution signals to measure the flow of money into or out of a security over a given period of time.

The Money Flow Volume was conceived by Chaikin to measure the buying and selling pressure for a security over a user defined period of time such as 15, 50 or 200 days. The most popular setting for this indicator is over a 20-21 day period. The value of the oscillator swings between 1 and -1 with buying pressure being greatest when the value is closest to 1 and selling pressure being greatest when the value is closer to -1.

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Inflation - How Big a Risk Is It?

The exponential rise in the national debt since COVID began by the tune of more than $3.8 Trillion of stimulus monies was inevitably going to lead to a wave of hard asset inflation as well as consumer inflation. The only question was "how much"?

In the last couple of days, the markets woke up to the fact that inflation might be worse than the federal reserve predicted. The CPI (Consumer Price Index) numbers released for April 2021 rose 0.8% versus an expected rise of 0.2% month over month. Should we be alarmed and worried? In the short term, the answer is "not really". If you have been tracking first quarter earnings calls, you will have heard many CEO's describing how tight supply chains are right now. Higher costs of raw material inputs are being passed onto the consumer. As COVID restrictions ease and consumer demand for goods and services rise alongside tight supply chains operating on "just in time" demand cycles, the natural consequence of greater demand and tight supplies is higher price increases.

It is difficult to say how inflation numbers will fare over the coming months as it will take time for supply chains to re-calibrate and meet rising demand.  However, as this occurrs, inflation numbers will likely decrease as supply increases. Overall, however, we expect the inflation trend to show up as net higher consumer prices across most hard and soft asset categories, compared to before the pandemic.

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Phone: 925-906-9800
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Hawley Advisors is an investment advisor, registered with the State of California. Any investment ideas or strategies on this website are for the purposes of education and general information only and should not be construed as specific investment advice. For more information about our firm please check the SEC Public Disclosure website: https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/

 

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