I’ll finish writing about inflation over the weekend. The main point is going to be that the present situation is hugely different from the 1970s, which was way different, and worse.
As I was writing, I started to think about the FDX report, which has caused that stock to lose almost a quarter of its market cap in early trading today.
Maybe the real issue the stock market is struggling with now is that the pandemic is over–and that this has come more suddenly than corporate America realized.
Take one of the first big casualties, Target. Months ago, TGT announced it was up to its ears in stay-at-home goods that no one wanted. My reaction then was that it was very odd that such a savvy company should have misread its customer base so badly. I also thought that the main factor behind the speed at which it was cutting its losses was internal–the size of the inventory excess.
But maybe it was also that it knew that everyone else was as loaded up with the wrong stuff for the emerging economic climate. So it would be doubly true that the first sale would be the best, that, say, Amazon was in the same general shape but much slower off the mark.
So maybe the reason the stock market has been treading water is not the (crazy, in my view) belief that something like 1981-82 is going to follow the Fed’s aggressive attack on inflation but that the TGT and WMT inventory problems are just the canary in the coal mine.