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Equities Shake Off Inflation Concerns – Can it Last?

The chorus of those warning about the rise in inflation seems to be getting louder. Two weeks ago, as they have been for some time, St. Louis Fed President Bullard and former Treasury Secretary Summers were among the more prominent voices warning that the Fed risks falling behind the curve. Last week, Fed Vice Chair Clarida said a faster taper schedule could be a topic for discussion at upcoming meetings. Atlanta Fed President Bostick said it may be appropriate to begin normalizing interest rates by the middle of next year. West Virginia Senator Manchin has cited inflation fears as contributing to his concern about the Build Back Better bill. And a number of prominent business leaders have warned about the rising danger of inflation as well. 

High Inflation Readings Causing Some Jitters for Investors

Consumer prices in the U.S. rose to their highest level in 31 years in October, making life a little less comfortable for the inflation is temporary camp. The CPI climbed 6.2 percent year-over-year, the highest reading since it reached 6.3 percent in October, 1990. Those two observations are the only two above the 6.0 percent mark since Paul Volcker took the helm at the Federal Reserve to fight inflation that had soared to 14.8 percent in 1980. The monthly increase in the CPI for October was 0.9 percent, replacing an October, 2020 reading of 0.1 percent. Looking ahead, the next three months will see readings of 0.2, 0.2, and 0.3 percent replaced in the trailing twelve-month calculation, suggesting that consumer inflation is likely to remain uncomfortably high, at least into the first quarter of next year. 

Investors Feeling Upbeat Following Key Central Bank Announcements

Stocks closed at a record high for the third straight week. The primary catalysts this time were the decidedly less ominous policy decisions by both the Federal Reserve (the Fed) and the Bank of England (BOE). Also contributing to the upbeat mood were continued strong third quarter earnings, and a potentially game-changing Covid therapy from Pfizer. 

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