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February 16, 2022 | Market Main Plot: Tidal Wave of Liquidity Now Receding

Danielle Park

Portfolio Manager and President of Venable Park Investment Counsel ( Ms Park is a financial analyst, attorney, finance author and regular guest on North American media. She is also the author of the best-selling myth-busting book "Juggling Dynamite: An insider's wisdom on money management, markets and wealth that lasts," and a popular daily financial blog:

Risk markets are rallying this morning on stories that Putin may be stepping back his aggression in Ukraine. But, lest we forget, Ukraine is a side story. The main plot for financial markets is the tidal wave of fiscal and monetary liquidity that is now receding globally.

As Hedgeye’s Keith McCullough put it yesterday:  “The free money’s gone, the crap that consumers bought has gone down, and their favorite stocks are going down.”

The Economist offers an insightful big picture overview this week in What would happen if financial markets crashed?:

Today America’s financial system looks nothing like it did before the crashes of 2001 and 2008, yet lately there have been some familiar signs of froth and fear on Wall Street: wild trading days on no real news, sudden price swings and a queasy feeling among many investors that they have overdosed on techno-optimism. Having soared in 2021, shares on Wall Street had their worst January since 2009, falling by 5.3%. The prices of assets favoured by retail investors, like tech stocks, cryptocurrencies and shares in electric-car makers, have plunged. The once-giddy mood on r/wallstreetbets, a forum for digital day-traders, is now mournful.

It is tempting to think that the January sell-off was exactly what was needed, purging the stock market of its speculative excesses. But America’s new-look financial system is still loaded with risks. Asset prices are high: the last time shares were so pricey relative to long-run profits was before the slumps of 1929 and 2001, and the extra return for owning risky bonds is near its lowest level for a quarter of a century. Many portfolios have loaded up on “long-duration” assets that yield profits only in the distant future. And central banks are raising interest rates to tame inflation.

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February 16th, 2022

Posted In: Juggling Dynamite

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