Here’s an instant upgrade of some key signals that I track regularly. All continues steadily to the point in an optimistic path. Swap spreads are a great coincident sign of financial market health insurance and a similarly great leading indication of the health of the economy. Than a yr They have been trading at very low levels to get more.

This indicates that financial markets are really liquid that systemic risk is suprisingly low. This, subsequently, is a good indication that the view for the overall economy is positive. If financial fundamentals are in very good shape, it is likely that the economy will be in good shape in the months to come as well.

Swap spreads are relatively low in the Eurozone as well, though relatively greater than in the U.S. That’s not surprising given the ongoing problems in the peripheral countries of the Eurozone. Regardless, the level of Eurozone swap spreads suggests that financial markets never have been destabilized by the troubling situation in the Ukraine, and that is good news.

For over a year, the costs of yellow metal and 5-yr TIPS have been well correlated reasonably. Both have been declining (the chart above shows the true yield of 2-yr TIPS-inverted-as a proxy because of their price) since early this past year. I take this to be always an indication that the market’s demand for safe resources has declined, and that in turn is a sign that confidence is returning, and market participants have become somewhat less risk averse. Initial weekly claims for unemployment are a good indicator of the fitness of the labor market and businesses’ appetite for risk.

Claims are quite low and continue steadily to fall, which suggests that labor market conditions are healthy and businesses see little need to downsize or reduce their risk. Gold and item prices have been well correlated for a long time, but precious metal prices may actually have overshot item prices beginning about four years ago. For days gone by three years, commodity prices have been relatively stable, while precious metal prices seem to be slowly “relinking” to product prices. Falling gold prices tell me that speculative fears are diminishing gradually, while stable commodity prices inform me that the overall global economy remains relatively strong.

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If the Chinese economy was collapsing, as much seem to dread, item prices wouldn’t normally be this strong. If the problem in Ukraine posed existential risks to all of those other global world, gold prices would be rising, not declining. The Vix index is a good proxy for the market’s degree of fear and doubt. Yr The Vix has been relatively low and steady for days gone by, which suggests that the view for the economy has become less uncertain. Reduced uncertainty is a precondition for higher risk-taking, which means this bodes well for future years. The difference between the nominal produce on Treasuries and the real produce on TIPS tells us a lot about the market’s inflation targets.

As the graph above shows, inflation expectations today are very similar to what they have been in the past 14 years. Stable inflation expectations and rising yields therefore mean that the rise in yields that began about a year ago has been driven by a rise in real yields. Higher real yields, in turn, reveal the market’s belief that the perspective for the overall economy has improved. U.S. and Eurozone equity markets continue to be well correlated, with the U.S.

Eurozone because the outbreak of the Eurozone sovereign debts crisis a few years ago. Both markets have been moving up in sync since mid-2012, which implies a synchronized recovery is underway, although the Eurozone is lagging. Credit default swap spreads are highly liquid indicators of the market’s perceived level of default risk in the economy. Investment quality and high-yield CDS spreads are extremely near to post-recession lows but still somewhat higher than their pre-recession lows. This suggests some lingering risk aversion, which is consistent with my view that markets are becoming less risk averse and more susceptible to seeking out risk on the margin. The spread between high-yield and investment-grade CDS (second chart above) tells the same tale. Overall, credit spreads reveal that the economic fundamentals are fairly healthy and there’s been no significant deterioration on the margin lately.

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