June 14, 2021
It’s transitory. It’s not transitory. It’s transitory. It’s not transitory.
Media analysts were plucking the inflation daisy petals last week. On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index Summary, which showed prices were up 5 percent year-to-year.
“Investors are debating whether the surge in prices at both a producer and consumer level will prove transitory, as the U.S. Federal Reserve believes, or become entrenched. Much of the angst over medium term inflation pressure becoming hotter is fueled by the backdrop of aggressive fiscal and monetary policy. This potentially combustible mix has a policy additive from a Fed prepared to tolerate a higher pace of inflation beyond its target of 2 percent for an unspecified period,” reported Michael Mackenzie of Financial Times.
Last week, investors took inflation data in stride. Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at a new all-time high on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite also finished higher, while the Dow Jones Industrial Index was slightly lower. The yield on longer U.S. Treasuries moved lower, too, which was notable. In theory, rising inflation and rising interest rates should go hand in hand.
Rising inflation remained a top concern for consumers in June, according to Richard Curtin, the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers chief economist:
“Fortunately, in the emergence from the pandemic, consumers are temporarily less sensitive to prices due to pent-up demand and record savings, as well as improved job and income prospects. The acceptance of price increases as due to the pandemic makes inflationary psychology more likely to gain a foothold if the exit is lengthy.”
Inflation psychology occurs when consumers believe prices will continue to rise over time and begin to spend money as soon as they receive it, according to Investopedia. There is a remedy, according to Curtin. “A shift in the Fed's policy language could douse any incipient inflationary psychology, it would be no surprise to consumers, as two-thirds already expect higher interest rates in the year ahead.”
(The one-year numbers in the scorecard below remain noteworthy. They reflect the strong recovery of U.S. stocks from last year’s coronavirus downturn to the present day.)
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https://www.barrons.com/articles/inflation-stock-market-51623448579?refsec=the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-14-2021_Barrons_The%20Inflation%20Scare%20is%20Over.pdf)