Details Cookies
Cookie Policy

This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience by enabling, optimising and analysing site operations, as well as to provide personalised ad content and allow you to connect to social media. By choosing “Accept all” you consent to the use of cookies and the related processing of personal data. Select “Manage consent” to manage your consent preferences. You can change your preferences or retract your consent at any time via the cookie policy page. Please view our cookie policy here and our privacy policy here

Nonfarm payrolls key for dollar rally Nonfarm payrolls key for dollar rally Nonfarm payrolls key for dollar rally

The anatomy of Fed tapering is different this time

Equities 8 minutes to read
Peter Garnry

Head of Equity Strategy

Summary:  Growth and bubble stocks celebrated its best day in nine months yesterday on good news about the Omicron variant, but the true underlying risk in the form of higher interest rates has not gone away. The Fed has acknowledged inflation which will give it less flexibility should tapering cause some wave splash in equities. Interest rate sensitivity will be a key theme in 2022 for equities and especially growth and bubble stocks. For those growth companies that can lift expectations for operating margin trajectory can mitigate the negative impact from higher interest rates, but those growth companies that fail to lift profitability will likely experience a tough 2022.

Bubble stocks are back on positive Omicron news

It was a blockbuster equity session like we have not seen in nine months with our NextGen Medicine, E-commerce, and Bubble Stocks baskets gaining between 5% and 6.6%. The culprit was of course the continued positive news flow suggesting that the new Covid-19 variant Omicron is less virulent than feared and today Pfizer announced that three shots with their vaccine protect against Omicron. Does that change the overall concern for growth and especially bubble stocks?

In our recent equity note Interest rate sensitivity is back in town haunting technology stocks we show quantitatively how the Nasdaq 100 Index (US technology stocks) is significantly more interest rate sensitive than the S&P 500 Index and STOXX 600 Index (see chart below). This interest rate sensitivity is key to understand the underlying risk in growth and especially bubble stocks, and the risk of higher interest rates has gone away.

The Fed will have less flexibility this time

In fact the Fed has acknowledged that inflationary pressures are more rooted and broad based, and of concern for US households seeing their purchasing power declining. The Fed has three times since early 2013 tried to taper its bond purchases all with negative impact on financial assets. Every time markets hit a big enough pain point, the Fed reversed and restarted quantitative easing. This could be done because inflation expectations were low and well anchored. But fast forward and today’s inflationary outlook is very different and the Fed might not be in a position where it can go back to expanding the balance sheet. Tapering will be accelerated in the coming months and then rate hikes are coming and if the economy or financial markets are deteriorating the Fed might have to remain tight to control inflation.

As we have said many times the past couple of months investors must balance their portfolios before the tighter monetary policy cycle kicks properly into gear. Investors should reduce exposure to growth and bubble stocks, while increasing exposure to themes that can provide some cover during inflationary pressures. The themes we think will do well during inflationary periods are mega caps (Microsoft’s recent price hike shows why), semiconductors, logistics, financial trading firms (bet on volatility), cyber security (business necessity), and the commodity sector. The fact that mega caps have reached unimaginable market power and are hugely profitable is bad for the overall economy, but it is likely going act as a cushion for the equity market when interest rates start rising.

The chart below shows another important aspect of markets that we need to be aware of. The decade of the 2010s was the best decade in terms of earnings growth adjusted for inflation in the S&P 500 since WWII. It explains the multiple expansion under lower interest rates, but it also explains the rise of passive investing as the rapid earnings growth has lifted all boats. The 2010s is unlikely be repeated in the current decade and a higher inflationary outlook will likely give rise to a different investing climate in equities and active strategies might stage a big comeback.

Higher operating margin will differentiate growth stocks in 2022

We recently modeled a growth stock which had a price implied expectation of four years into the future, meaning that the market value was derived by extrapolating consensus expectations of growth and operating margin until 2025. The interesting part of this analysis is to find out which parameter gives rise to the biggest change in market value. In this case it was not revenue growth unless it went down a lot, which would only happen under a recession scenario. An upside change to operating margin expectations drives a rather large change in value; in other words, growth companies that can raise operating margin faster than expected will get rewarded. But the most sensitive parameter to the market value was the interest rate. By moving up the 10-year interest rate by 100 basis point the company’s value fell 26% because the higher interest rate impact financing costs on debt and the cost of equity.

The example above provide a glimpse into the important battleground in equities in 2022. Higher interest rates because of higher inflation combined with the fiscal drag will create an environment with higher discount rate on cash flows while likely lower overall growth. This will penalize a lot of growth and bubble stocks, these companies can only mitigate this impact by raising operating margin beyond current expectations. If they do not manage to do that, then we could see great losses in 2022 in these pockets of the equity market.


Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited prepares and distributes information/research produced within the Saxo Bank Group for informational purposes only. In addition to the disclaimer below, if any general advice is provided, such advice does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of trading any financial instrument as trading can result in losses that exceed your initial investment. Please refer to our Analysis Disclaimer, and our Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement. All legal documentation and disclaimers can be found at

The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service. Access and use of Saxo News & Research and any Saxo Bank Group website are subject to (i) the Terms of Use; (ii) the full Disclaimer; and (iii) the Risk Warning in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group.

Saxo News & Research is provided for informational purposes, does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. No Saxo Bank Group entity shall be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information on Saxo News & Research.

To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, such content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication.

None of the information contained here constitutes an offer to purchase or sell a financial instrument, or to make any investments.Saxo Capital Markets does not take into account your personal investment objectives or financial situation and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information nor for any loss arising from any investment made in reliance of this presentation. Any opinions made are subject to change and may be personal to the author. These may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Saxo Capital Markets or its affiliates.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Full Disclaimer (
- Analysis Disclaimer (
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited
Suite 1, Level 14, 9 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000

Contact Saxo

Select region


The Saxo trading platform has received numerous awards and recognition. For details of these awards and information on awards visit

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited ABN 32 110 128 286 AFSL 280372 (‘Saxo’ or ‘Saxo Capital Markets’) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank A/S, headquartered in Denmark. Please refer to our General Business Terms, Financial Services Guide, Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination to consider whether acquiring or continuing to hold financial products is suitable for you, prior to opening an account and investing in a financial product.

Trading in financial instruments carries various risks, and is not suitable for all investors. Please seek expert advice, and always ensure that you fully understand these risks before trading. Saxo Capital Markets does not provide ‘personal’ financial product advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo Capital Markets does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation. The Target Market Determination should assist you in determining whether any of the products or services we offer are likely to be consistent with your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc.

The information or the products and services referred to on this website may be accessed worldwide, however is only intended for distribution to and use by recipients located in countries where such use does not constitute a violation of applicable legislation or regulations. Products and Services offered on this website is not intended for residents of the United States and Japan.

Please click here to view our full disclaimer.