Economy Resilient As Fed Week Approaches
The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge came in as expected. Inflation remains high despite showing signs of moderating, with the Fed planning to raise rates next week (on top of rumors of an additional hike in June). The rationale behind higher short-term interest rates is the economy is performing better than anticipated. Q1 earnings met the projected results, with consumer sentiment and PMI data being positive. Some parts of the country are even experiencing bidding wars on home sales.
There are signs that indicate the next few months could be challenging. GDP growth is anemic. Some CEOs, including Amazon’s CEO, have spoken about slowing business spending in preparation for a downturn. The rally in the market has been led by a few large companies, as commercial real estate valuations remain uncertain and in decline, which could be problematic for banks. Overall, bank lending standards continue to tighten, creating opportunities for lenders with more expensive terms and rates.
Supply & Demand, Homeowners & Mortgage Rates
Housing supply remains a challenge, particularly in cities like Los Angeles. A decade of low rates allowed borrowers to secure manageable mortgage payments. Now that interest rates have doubled, homeowners may be deterred from wanting to sell because of the high mortgage rates relative to recent years, causing a strain on supply and putting a floor on housing values. The possibility of a recession could affect all asset classes at some point, but for now, home buyers must accept higher mortgage payments and prices.
Next week will be critical, with the FOMC meeting and conference call on Wednesday, followed by the April Jobs Report on Friday. These events could significantly impact the equity and bond markets.