The ‘Most Unexpected’ Macro Outcome Of 2024

In the latest installment of his popular weekly "Flow Show" series, BofA's Michael Hartnett leveraged the bank's Global Fund Manager Survey to conjure "12 angry trades" for 2024. The cinema reference will likely be lost on many readers. If you haven't seen 12 Angry Men, it's a classic. If you have some time between the fourth and fifth screening of Elf in your living room this holiday season, give it a shot. I covered the highlights from the November BofA fund manager poll earlier this week. O

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9 thoughts on “The ‘Most Unexpected’ Macro Outcome Of 2024

  1. With a building consensus that the Fed is done, and high for only slightly longer will prevail, I worry about the Fed relying more and more on hawkish comments and warnings to nudge financial conditions in the right direction if needed, rather than overtly countenancing another hike, even if it would only be a relatively meaningless 25 additional bp. Doesn’t feel like the market is ready for that. The Fed’s own lips are often more more market-moving that any dot plots, no matter how quickly either become stale.

  2. Nobody asked, but since we’re getting an early start on 2024 bold predictions:
    1. Markets see margin expansion and earnings growth on the back of a weak labor market and AI advancements, particularly in tech.
    2. Interest rates head back near 0 as unemployment picks up and inflation comes down more than expected.
    3. Stock market will hit all-time highs with S&P and Nasdaq up 10% over previous high water marks due to aforementioned dynamics that create another everything rally.
    4. If we get a Biden-Trump rematch, surveys overestimate Trump’s support and Biden wins more comfortably than last time around.
    5. Geopolitics actually do settle down as Russia gets stuck in a quagmire and no one in the Middle East wants to get involved in a direct confrontation with Israel.
    6. The Vikings win the Super Bowl (ok, that might be a bridge too far).

      1. Why? You get COLA adjustments.

        Also, what “federal debt servicing predicament?” There’s no predicament.

        I’m going to start pushing back on this canard every, single time I see it.

        If the Fed wanted to, they could cap US bond yields overnight. If Jerome Powell said, tomorrow, “We’re doing YCC now, 10-year US yields will not exceed 4%,” that’d be the end of it.

        And for the umpteenth time, the cost of servicing the debt is irrelevant because we issue the currency that the debt payments are denominated in. And it’s not “debt.” Treasurys are interest-bearing dollars.

        Even if you want to call it “debt,” there will never (ever, ever, ever, ever) be a time when the US can’t service that “debt” unless the US decides not to. The US can’t, by definition, default involuntarily.

        Please, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, try to understand this: It is philosophically impossible for the US to default involuntarily. The only way the US can “default” is if the US decides to stop paying its own bills. That decision will not (indeed, cannot) be a consequence of running out of money. The US can’t run out of money because the US is the literal source of money, and unlike, say, a gold mine or an oil field, the money isn’t finite. It’s infinite. Any luminary or hedge fund manager or Republican or banker who tells you otherwise is either lying or they’re an idiot. It’s just that simple.

        1. The problem is, there’s a major political party in this country that doesn’t see things the way you do and is determined to use shutdowns over the “debt” and the possibility of default to drive its agenda, including less federal spending and changes to entitlement programs that would negatively impact future and, perhaps, current beneficiaries of those programs. Prceptions of our growing “indebtedness” have driven the political debate in this country since at least the Reagan presidency, and imo it will require a political solution, not the Fed, to fix the “problem.”

          1. Nobody’s going to materially alter entitlements. That’s a political death sentence. As for the default agenda, it’ll be “fine” right up until any orchestrated default event isn’t remedied expeditiously. When Republicans see what would happen in the event of, say, a two- or three-month standoff wherein the US refuses to stand behind the collateral that makes the world spin, they’ll get frustrated by the reality: It’s not a tenable strategy. It’s a tenable brinksmanship strategy, and that brinksmanship might be “extendable” for a month or maybe two, but after that, it’ll become readily apparent that in fact, voluntary default isn’t an option, at which point the GOP will have to figure out another way to hold the country (and the world) hostage. I almost wish this uncured default scenario would go ahead and play itself out so that everyone can be disabused, once and for all, of the silly notion that default is a viable bargaining chip.

        2. It is certainly true that Treasury bonds are interest-bearing dollars. And yet for longer duration Treasuries, a shrinking pool of price-sensitive buyers have recently been demanding higher interest …on those interest bearing dollars. Perhaps it’s because they are concerned that the dollars they will be getting back might be worth less than the dollars they gave up to buy the longer duration Treasuries. The next 30 yr Treasury bond auction might be interesting. The recent volatility in bond market can’t just be summarily dismissed. If inflation stays down then bond volatility should cool off and many concerns become moot. The holders of longer duration Treasuries for the past 3 yrs have endured some pain if they have had to mark to market their holdings. And then there’s the magic of compounding interest particularly with higher interest rates. The FED can certainly be the buyer of last resort of Treasuries and they can certainly expand their balance sheet. I think we will be fine because there isn’t any monetary regime that can challenge the dollar despite the recurring fever dreams of BRICS, as Mr H has eloquently explained in previous articles. I’m actually surprised the dollar hasn’t hit parity with euro yet, considering the stagnant economies in western Europe and their dependence on the sputtering Chinese consumer for luxury goods.

  3. If old members of the permanent policy elite are really worried about inflation and the deficit, one of them will discuss changing some of the W and Trump tax cuts in exchange for other cuts. I am not holding my breath. It was refreshing to have the teamsters bring up the GM ceo $29 mill paycheck….

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints