Traders anxiously await Jackson Hole Traders anxiously await Jackson Hole Traders anxiously await Jackson Hole

Traders anxiously await Jackson Hole

Equities 5 minutes to read

Summary:  Ahead of the annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium chairman Powell is once again juggling with market expectations whilst facing an ever-oppositional barrage of insults from an irate US President Donald Trump. Asian indexes nervously climbed today on low volumes ahead of tonight’s speech and yields rose along with the USD as Fed officials reigned in the dovish cooing. Markets are nervy as they attempt to navigate ongoing trade tensions, geopolitical fractures and a synchronised slowdown in global growth. Pervasive uncertainty remains and as such traders are anxiously looking to the Fed for direction as chairman Powell delivers his opening speech at the symposium tonight in Wyoming.

Throughout his tenure as chairman Powell has not proven himself to be particularly adept in navigating Fed communications, with many a blunder under his belt. Unlike one of his predecessors, Alan Greenspan, Powell has attempted to deliver a straightforward narrative but to date his conversational tone has led to many a misunderstanding in financial markets. One hopes tonight will be different but against a tightrope of market expectations Powell faces an immense challenge if he is to try and reposition the Fed ahead of the curve, unless he leans well against the more hawkish commentary that has emerged so far this week. There are now three members of the committee who have publicly opposed further easing with Esther George from the Kansas City Fed following Harker and Rosengren, saying “it’s not time yet’ for further easing measures.”. These comments saw the yield curve invert for the third time this year. The speech tonight will be closely watched ahead of September’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting where the market is betting against Powell’s prior “mid-cycle adjustment” narrative and pricing in a prolonged spate of easing beginning with 25bps in September and another 75bps of cuts over the next year, so is desperate to hear that rates are going one way only (DOWN!).

Will Powell deliver on a communique that is dovish enough to position the Fed ahead of the curve and ease investors nerves with a delicate balancing act of market pricing across multiple asset classes. Equities, faced with a deteriorating outlook for corporate earnings need continued valuation support from a prolonged easing cycle and a lower discount rate increasing the present value of expected future cash flows, justifying higher valuations as interest rates fall in order to cling to their complacent climb. US growth has peaked, the dollar remains strong (40% of SP500 companies generate a significant proportion of their earnings overseas) and the corresponding period last year represents a peak in earnings growth for SP500 companies that will make for some formidable base effects. On that basis consensus estimates remain too high on the outlook for earnings over the coming quarters, in fact we see risk of an earnings recession in the period ahead. Against the current economic backdrop with a myriad of factors weighing on revenue growth, the forecast v-shaped recovery in earnings growth through to FY2020 looks far too optimistic. In the near term, for equities to regain their highs the dovish rhetoric needs to be ramped up in order to fuel a continued complacent dash, otherwise a retest of June lows looks like the next move. To be clear, over the medium term as outlined above risks to the bullish move we have seen off December 2018 lows are rising, and current valuations are inconsistent with exhausted growth outlooks.

At present the manufacturing and industrial sector are already in recession, not a single G7 economy has a Markit PMI above 51 and firms across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific have slowed business investment. Both as a cyclical downturn weighs and the uncertainty surrounding the trade war paralyses corporate investment and capex decisions. To date this slump has not yet fully permeated the services sector and private consumption which has been propping up the global expansion. Overnight, the Markit US Services and Composite readings fell to a new low of 50.9, highlighting that the potential for recessionary dynamics in the manufacturing and industrial sector to permeate the services sector and knock on to the labour market and consumption is a very real risk. And one that policy makers must move to avoid as a hit to the labour market, private consumption and consequently consumer confidence would accelerate the end of the cycle and raise recession risk.

Bond markets need to hear Powell regain understanding of the dynamics in play and drop the mid-cycle adjustment” theory to avoid repricing and curve flattening. To date the bond market has had little faith in Powell's “mid-cycle adjustment” theory (rightly so). If forward guidance continues to be less dovish, cementing the view that the Fed are already well behind the curve this is likely to be interpreted as a policy error, with short end rates too high, therefore raising the risk of recession and pressuring inflation expectations. The yield curve has been telling us for some time that monetary policy is too restrictive indicating monetary stimulus to date will fail to engender a re-acceleration in growth or inflation.

A less dovish Powell would also be supportive of the USD but would be counterproductive in confirming Powell’s narrative as a stronger USD is only going to mean more aggressive easing from the Fed is coming at a later date.



The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website. This content is not intended to and does not change or expand on the execution-only service. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research 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. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the 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 under relevant laws.

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

Saxo Markets
40 Bank Street, 26th floor
E14 5DA
United Kingdom

Contact Saxo

Select region

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Trade Responsibly
All trading carries risk. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. Read more
Additional Key Information Documents are available in our trading platform.

Saxo Markets is a registered Trading Name of Saxo Capital Markets UK Ltd (‘SCML’). SCML is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference Number 551422. Registered address: 26th Floor, 40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DA. Company number 7413871. Registered in England & Wales.

This website, including the information and materials contained in it, are not directed at, or intended for distribution to or use by, any person or entity who is a citizen or resident of or located in the United States, Belgium or any other jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, availability or use would be contrary to applicable law or regulation.

It is important that you understand that with investments, your capital is at risk. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. It is your responsibility to ensure that you make an informed decision about whether or not to invest with us. If you are still unsure if investing is right for you, please seek independent advice. Saxo Markets assumes no liability for any loss sustained from trading in accordance with a recommendation.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

©   since 1992