Tobias Levkovich, the US equity strategist at Citigroup, posted the "chart of the month" yesterday, and the monetarism obviously leads the investment idea there:
Credit conditions remain critical for business investment and economic activity. The latest senior loan officers survey released by the Federal Reserve Board shows further easing in loan standards during 2Q11 (including those for small business and consumers) which has been a powerful nine-month lead indicator for investments in human, physical and working capital. As credit conditions improve, it is highly likely that business trends and GDP should remain constructive for the balance of 2011, reducing the probability of economic weakness developing. However, actual commercial & industrial loan activity lags the survey by 18 months and investors need to understand the differences in timing.
And the market concerns should be misguided:
Concerns about QE2 ending, higher energy prices and some moderation in ISM new orders miss the durability point. While the investment community may get distracted by the end of the Fed’s $600 billion in bond purchases this June, not to mention plausible softening in ISM new order figures from current elevated levels, the costs of corporate capital is far more crucial for determining capital spending programs as the return of investment capital is weighted against its cost. Indeed, worries with respect to higher gasoline prices undermining consumption should be offset by more jobs as a result of the eased lending standards. Thus, as the credit environment progresses more favorably, so should the decision making to generate returns.
Click on chart to enlarge, courtesy of Citigroup Global Markets.
Bears should be disappointed? Well, if not Loan Demand, Not Credit, Is The Problem ... and some price issues ...