Gold is up, having established a 7-session high at 1263.97. A breach of minor chart resistance at 1264.10 would favor a short-term challenge of the 200-day moving average 1268.83.
This is a critical week for the GOP and the Trump administration. Tax reform is expected to be voted on early this week with the plan to deliver the bill to the President’s desk before the Christmas recess. However, the budget and debt ceiling issue has to be dealt with before December 22 as well.
A partial government shutdown may hang in the balance, although neither party seems inclined to press the issue. Consequently, we may see that can get kicked into the new year.
One thing is certain, the debt ceiling is going to have to rise. The tax bill is expected to add the maximum $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. However, that may be conservative based on perhaps too optimistic growth projections.
With the Fed both raising rates and tapering their balance sheet, the cost of financing the massive and growing debt are likely to rise as well. That is going to provide an additional headwind to those growth prospects.
Consumer debt exceeded the $1 trillion milestone earlier this year, but MarketWatch contends more consumer debt is “One sure-fire prediction for 2018.” Perhaps not surprisingly, delinquencies are expected to rise in the year ahead as well. This is another significant impediment to growth.
Despite the risks, stocks love the prospects for tax cuts. However, I’m wondering if this will end up being a classic case of ‘buy the rumor, sell the fact.’ Yale economist Stephen Roach cautions that “the CAPE ratio has been higher than it is today only twice in its 135-plus year history – in 1929 and in 2000. Those are not comforting precedents.”
The implication of course it that stocks are really overvalued and we know what happened in 1929 and 2000. A little portfolio balancing into year-end, seems like a prudent strategy.