Intermarket OutlookAs of 01/21/2022
The current economic environment in the US appears to be weakly inflationary. The outlook for US stocks is bullish. Commodities are neutral. Bonds are bearish.
Detailed asset class performance breakdowns can be viewed here. High-level intermarket trends are examined more closely below.The Dollar, Commodities and Bonds
The US dollar’s outlook has been bullish since September, 2021 (chart). A rising dollar is deflationary and points to lower commodity prices.
Base metal prices are declining relative to bond prices (chart). The ratio of base metals to bonds generally declines when economic weakness and deflation are prevalent.
But prices across the broad commodity complex are rising relative to bond prices (chart). A rising commodity-to-bond price ratio is inflationary and often precedes or coincides with higher interest rates. Higher rates in turn are usually a negative for stocks.Stocks, Bonds and Risk Appetite
Looking in general at US large-cap stocks, near-term price action appears to be bearish. Mid-term action is bearish but long-term action is bullish (chart).
Consumer discretionary stocks are outperforming consumer staples (chart). Discretionary stocks tend to lead when the economy is perceived to be buoyant or expanding.
Financial stocks are outperforming utility stocks (chart). This is typical when economic conditions are seen as recovering following a period of contraction.
Lastly, high-yield “junk” bonds are outperforming “risk-free” US treasuries (chart) as credit spreads narrow. Credit spreads generally narrow when investor appetite for risky assets is robust or increasing. That fact, in turn, is near-term positive for stocks.