Intermarket OutlookAs of 03/29/2017
The current economic environment in the US appears to be weakly inflationary. The outlook for US stocks is bullish. Commodities are weakly bullish. Bonds are bearish.
Detailed stock, commodity and bond leadership breakdowns can be viewed here. High-level intermarket trends are examined more closely below.The Dollar, Commodities and Bonds
The US dollar’s trend has been bullish since May, 2016 (chart). A rising dollar is deflationary and points to lower commodity prices.
Base metal prices are rising relative to bond prices (chart). The ratio of base metals to bonds generally rises when economic strength and inflation are prevalent.
But prices across the broad commodity complex are falling relative to bond prices (chart). A falling commodity-to-bond price ratio is deflationary and often precedes or coincides with lower interest rates. Lower rates in turn are usually supportive of stocks.Stocks, Bonds and Risk Appetite
Looking in general at US large-cap stocks, near-term price action appears to be bullish. Long-term action is also bullish (chart).
Consumer discretionary stocks are underperforming consumer staples (chart). Discretionary stocks tend to lag when the economy is perceived to be struggling or contracting.
Financial stocks are underperforming utility stocks (chart). This is typical when economic conditions are seen as faltering and volatility is expected to rise.
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.