Bianco: Gold Rally Could Be Signaling Inflation Fears

Your Real Vision Daily Briefing for July 22, 2020

Jim Bianco discusses the Fed and Judy Shelton’s recent nomination, the significance of flows, and his forward look on markets and the economy.

  • The extreme opposition of Shelton’s nomination as a Fed Governor is due in part to her being a heterodox thinker, but the Fed could benefit from a different viewpoint.
  • The influence of retail investors on flows can be a powerful force in driving market movements.
  • The recent precious metals rally may be a sign that investors anticipate problems in the financial system.

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News of Judy Shelton’s nomination as a Fed Governor is making waves because of her out-of-the-box views, but Jim Bianco of Bianco Research told Real Vision’s Daily Briefing that he doesn’t understand the pushback her nomination is getting.

Bianco said that the Fed could benefit from someone who won’t just toe the line, and that having a heterodox thinker on board could enhance the institution.

He also said that the Fed has played a big role in his thinking about markets. While he was bearish in March and early April, Bianco is now much more bullish, a shift he attributed to the outsize impact the Fed’s stimulus is having on markets. Given all of the stimulus, his forward outlook is that financial markets can still push higher even though the real economy will be in trouble.

Bianco also discussed the significance of flows and retail investors in driving market movements. While the money is at the institutional level and institutional investors still dominate retail investors, the latter has a bigger influence on the flow of money in the markets because of the frequency of their trading.

Though they’re growing exponentially, Bianco pointed out that retail investors are not a monolith. He named three types of retail investor: the traditional investor, who is typically older, fairly experienced, and likely to take a relatively defensive position; Millennials/the Robin Hood types, who are exceptionally bullish and uber aggressive; and fund/ETF investors, who currently seem to be co-investing with the Fed. Since second quarter, 80% of the money flowing into ETFs has gone into corporate bonds, high yield, and aggregate bond ETFs – the three types of ETFs the Fed is buying.

Bianco ended the interview with a discussion of the recent precious metals rally, and noted that because precious metals are typically considered a hedge against perceived problems in the financial system, their ascent may be signaling that investors are anticipating inflation on the horizon.

Inflation could return and that day may be coming soon, he said. And when that day comes, it will be the end of stimulus pushing markets higher.