Attack the Week (ATW)
January 4th, 2024
I listened to a recent Rich Roll podcast with Bryan Johnson, a guy whose sole life mission is not to die. You can see the full interview below.
His Blueprint is pretty well systematised and tested, while he is open enough to admit that there are possible blindspots and measuring errors or interconnections as to what can be regarded as healthy or not. I admire his rigorous approach of doing more of what works and not leaving space for any of his 100+ supplements if they are not adding anything.
Combining the best available research and spending a nice stack of his own money to analyse previously uncovered properties and intricacies of every single organ speaks of a system which is geared to provide the best possible answers and solutions.
This is possibly a way better approach than the plethora of health gurus and their lifestyle and diet recommendations, which have flooded our bookshelves for decades. Consider this great piece in the New York Times by Pagan Kennedy about the premature deaths of healthy food inventors (many of whom thought they would live forever). There was Dr. Clive McCay, who discovered that a low-calorie diet seriously elongated the life of rats, so he followed their lead; he died at 69. There was Dr. Roy Walford, who believed 1,600 calories a day was a key part of his "120-Year Diet." He died at 79 of ALS. There was Euell Gibbons, who pushed a plant diet and died at 64. Adelle Davis didn't eat refined foods and died at 80. Nathan Pritikin avoided fat and died at 69. Dr. Robert Atkins ate lots of fat and died at the same age. Perhaps most unbelievable was Jerome Rodale, the health publishing magnate, who actually died while on the Dick Cavett show moments after he had just predicted he would live to be over 100. He was 72.
I wish Bryan a long life; who knows, he might beat death after all.
Friday’s very strong payroll numbers seem to have killed off any hopes for a March cut. It was a bit of a headscratcher as the first blowout payroll number for a while. It’s possible that milder-than-usual weather between the December and January survey weeks slightly boosted the numbers. The 0.6% jump in AHE is also hard to explain; the apparent uptick in the trend in recent months is impossible to square with the slowing in wage growth in the ECI. The Fed, as we know, is more interested in the ECI than the hourly earnings numbers.
The bottom line here is that Fed officials will regard this report as a vindication, at least for now, of their decision to resist market pressure to cut rates in March, which is in line with Jay’s reasoning at last week’s press conference.
The market reaction saw a sizeable bond sell-off. UST 2s backed up by 17 bps, with the curve bear flattening into the week's close. After the first brief setback, risk assets soared as the trading day progressed. You can clearly see how risk assets are currently powered by a powerful narrative that the Fed is done raising rates and that there is a cutting cycle ahead while nominal GDP is still providing a strong enough wave for earnings to be supported. An almost perfect mix, which will prove hard to to push against.
Fed Chair Powell’s interview on Sunday will be on everyone’s radar into the week ahead. We will also see a strong lineup of speeches from the Fed, ECB, and BoE. Meanwhile, China’s CPI should confirm a fourth month of deflation.
Let’s now look into further details of the week in front of us. Let’s also have a look at some important charts and what setups we should consider. Where are bonds headed after Friday’s strong backup in yields?
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