Choosing Your Favorite Dental Procedure: Recession or Inflation? – The Global Tofay

Choosing Your Favorite Dental Procedure: Recession or Inflation? - The Global Tofay Global Today

Choosing Your Favorite Dental Procedure: Recession or Inflation?

May 1, 2024 at 4:24 pm

Going to the dentist can be a pleasurable or painful experience, depending on whether you have been properly brushing and flossing your teeth. If the stock market was a patient, its 2024 checkup would produce a large smile. Why so happy? Because the S&P 500 index is up a healthy +5.6% in the first four months of the year, thanks to a resilient economy, robust employment, and record corporate profits (see chart below). The smiles were even larger a month ago before the S&P 500’s five-month, almost +30% winning streak was broken from October to March.

Choosing Your Favorite Dental Procedure: Recession or Inflation? - The Global Tofay Global Today


Driving the overall record profits of the stock market are the “Magnificent Seven” (see Fight the Fed or Risk Going Dead), which include mega-technology companies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) stalwarts like NVIDIA Corp., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc. (Google), and Meta Platforms Inc. As you can see in the chart below, these tech behemoths are generating gargantuan mounds of cash that are piling up at flabbergasting rate of over $300 billion per year. 

Choosing Your Favorite Dental Procedure: Recession or Inflation? - The Global Tofay Global Today

Source: The Financial Times

How are these Silicon Valley titans achieving such colossal results? The short answer is: The AI Wave. As I pointed out in a previous post of mine, The World of AI, artificial intelligence projects are so large that Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg committed to purchasing upwards of a jaw-dropping $10 billion in NVIDIA H100 chips by year-end. To put some of this AI craze into perspective, we learned over the last week that the combined 2024 capital expenditure plans of four companies (Microsoft, Alphabet, Meta and Amazon) are forecasted to exceed $200 billion – much of that driven by generative AI projects.

While many of these aforementioned companies are benefitting disproportionately from their exposure to AI, what has really been giving investors a toothache has been stubbornly high and sticky inflation (see red line on chart below), which has pushed up interest rates higher on the 10-Year Treasury Note yield by approximately +0.5% this month, near a 17-year high of 4.69%. Higher interest rates are bad for long-term bond prices (e.g., TLT down -6.8% last month) and generally troublesome for stocks as well. That’s why the S&P 500 took a breather last month with the S&P declining -4.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling -5.0%, and the technology-heavy NASDAQ index dropping -4.4%.

Choosing Your Favorite Dental Procedure: Recession or Inflation? - The Global Tofay Global Today

Source: Calafia Beach Pundit

Your Favorite Dental Procedure?

Investors definitely don’t want higher interest rates, but stock traders should be careful what they wish for. If low interest rates are really what investors want, this scenario could result in an undesirable package deal that includes a recession. So, if pain can come from different scenarios, what is your favorite economic dental procedure?

• A hot economy giving rise to high inflation/high interest rates?

• A cold economy triggering a recession with low interest rates?

I don’t know about you, but both these procedures sound painful to me.

Traders would certainly love to get some anesthesia in the form of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts to relieve the recent stock market pain. Nevertheless, Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, has been hawkishly candid in his recent commentary, indicating he will be “data dependent” and let the forthcoming economic numbers guide the Fed’s monetary policy on future interest rate decisions. 

Coming into 2024, most pundits were calling for a series of seven interest rate cuts by the end of the year. However, due to the hotter and more resilient economy, now the pendulum of investor sentiment has swung to an expectation of only one or two cuts. We will learn more today when the Fed concludes a two-day meeting with a published interest rate policy decision followed by a subsequent press conference with Jerome Powell.

Of course, not all financial scenarios necessarily have to lead to what feels like a painful root canal or tooth extraction. There is a legitimate path to a so-called “soft-landing.” This would be a goldilocks scenario in which our current elevated interest rates (i.e., Federal Funds target of 5.25% – 5.50%) gradually slow the economy to a level that continues the previous downward inflation trajectory towards the Fed’s long-term objective of 2.0%. If the “soft-landing” were achieved, the Fed could then begin cutting rates again to stimulate the economy.

Regardless of our country’s economic outcome, we can probably agree there is a lot of uncertainty out in the world. These unknowns include Russia-Ukraine, Israel-Hamas, our elections, inflation, Fed monetary policy, bond volatility, stock volatility, and a whole host of other variables. With this backdrop in mind, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have a diversified portfolio and detailed financial plan in place to achieve your long-term life goals. Do yourself a favor and get a financial check-up with an independent, experienced advisor like Sidoxia Capital Management ( That way, you can smile with a healthy set of pearly whites, rather than grimace in pain as you would from an undesirable dental procedure.

Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®

Plan. Invest. Prosper.

DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and some of its clients hold positions in individual stocks , certain exchange traded funds (ETFs), including NVDA, MSFT, META, and AMZN, but at the time of publishing had no direct position in any other security referenced in this article. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC Contact page.

Entry filed under: Behavioral Finance, Earnings, economy, Education, Financial Markets, Financial Planning, Fixed Income (Bonds), Government, inflation, Interest Rates, International, Politics, Stocks, Trading. Tags: bonds, cash hoard, economy, fed, Federal Reserve, fiscal policy, inflation, interest rates, investing, money growth, operating earnings, ops, Politics, rates, recession, Sidoxia, stock market, Stocks, the fed, Wade Slome.

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