Burgers

If the S&P is fuelled on earnings, it’s no wonder the buyers are buying into all time highs. The recent corporate melee has seen the all-important what’s-in-the tin number come in much better than already toned up forecasts. S&P Q3 earnings look like it will hit a final reading of $215. And those earnings are going to continue to go up, so say economists, shimmied up by more reopening and an unprecedented surge in consumer net worth. The growth of earnings may slow, but earnings are going up. The expansion, so goes the narrative, is fast-becoming ‘self-sustaining’. Whilst the economy is hot-hot-hot, the price hikes being pushed through appear – so far at least – to being soaked up by the end consumer. McDonald’s flipper-in-chief Kevin Ozan cooed last week that the 6% price hikes have been “pretty well received by customers”. Indeed they might be when there is a Big Mac that is now available loaded with no fewer than four, 100% beef, patties. For four, 100% beef patties, 6% is a mere rounding error. Health issues aside. The full-bodied inflation picture has, then, boosted nominal GDP to somewhat giddy levels, but the truth on the ‘transitory v persistent’ debate is that nobody knows. No one. Central Bankers don’t know. Companies don’t know. Investors don’t know. Good arguments are made by clever people both ways, and no number of probability weighted scenarios can really help sharpen the lens. Then again, when the money mandarins print more than $6 trillion in one year is it any wonder that a bubbly Tesla is now sporting a market cap bigger than all of the fourteen other major global auto manufacturers worldwide. And, in surging through $1,100 a share, the stock topped and tailed a two week disco-fest that saw it increase it’s market cap by an amount larger than the market cap of 90% of the companies in the S&P 500. Ay, caramba. The Central Banks walk the PR tight rope this week just as world leaders – bar the one most relevant to the task in hand – lanyard it up it at COP26 and press a green transition that is long-term uber-inflationary. Not much to talk about, then.