Expectations about US economic growth are losing ground, as the circled area on the accompanying chart shows. The graph traces three market measures that move more or less in tandem.
The first is the spread between 5-year and 10-year TIPS yields, or real interest rates. The difference between medium- and long-term real yields is a gauge of long-term growth expectations. The second is 5-year breakeven inflation 5 years forward. That’s the Fed’s favorite market derived measure of inflation expectations, and it reduces the impact of short-term price movements in oil and commodities. The five-years-forward breakeven inflation rate is also a gauge of long-term economic growth. And the third variable is the price of oil, which moves closely with the other measures. (The scale is normalized to show relative movements clearly).
The co-movement of these three measures shows that growth expectations slid into a funk during 2015 and 2016. Expectations had a little bounce in early 2017 following Donald Trump’s election victory, but now are sliding back into funk territory.
That’s another reason not to like US stocks. Amazon can’t hold up the entire market by taking grocery sales away from Wal-Mart.