Short-term movements in stocks, bonds, and currencies continue to be driven primarily by changes in investor perceptions about the Fed’s likely course of action over the next 6-12 months. In response to client questions, the following are some comments and charts reviewing recent history and the current backdrop.
Equities, and asset prices in general, have seen a return of volatility during January, following over a year of very subdued volatility and strong returns. Why, especially in a historically favorable seasonal period? In our view, markets are adjusting to the indications of moderately tighter monetary and fiscal policy following a period of extraordinary support from both US macro policy drivers. Investors are debating whether policy makers will be able to reduce stimulus and inflation pressures without provoking excessive economic weakness, and this debate is showing up as volatility in markets.
Macro uncertainty is provoking volatility