With an unemployment rate recently as low as 4.3% and an expansion more than 8 years long, we are clearly very close to the end of this cycle. What we know from history is that stock market valuations become more and more inflated, relative to earnings, over the course of every business cycle. Recessions begin typically a year after the unemployment rate bottoms, but bear markets start in much closer proximity to the cycle's peak. I dont think this time will be different.
With an unemployment rate recently as low as 4.3% and an expansion more than 8 years long, we are clearly very close to the end of this cycle. What we know from history is that stock market valuations become more and more inflated, relative to earnings, over the course of every business cycle. Recessions begin typically a year after the unemployment rate bottoms, but bear markets start in much closer proximity to the cycle's peak. I dont think this time will be different.
As I mentioned last week, I no longer feel that it is prudent or productive to discuss solutions to our economic woes. The problems that we already, or are about to face are no longer solvable. The system has been damaged to such an extent, that it cannot be fixed. The series of events that is responsible for the deterioration, decimation and decay of our economic system has already occurred. The genie, so to speak, cannot be put back in the bottle. Therefore, I think we should focus on strategies that might enable us to adapt and adjust in a manner that will allow the reset to be as painless as possible. Read More
In years of peace, Diocletian, with his aides, faced the problems of economic decay. To overcome depression and prevent revolution, he substituted a managed economy for the law of supply and demand. He established a sound currency by guaranteeing to the gold coinage a fixed weight and purity which it retained in the Eastern Empire till 1453. He distributed food to the poor at half the market price or free, and undertook extensive public works to appease the unemployed. To ensure the supply of necessaries for the cities and the armies, he brought many branches of industry under complete state control, beginning with the import of grain; he persuaded the shipowners, merchants, and crews engaged in this trade to accept such control in return for governmental guarantee of security in employment and returns.  Read More

This week we saw the beginning of the implosion of one of the most crowded trades in the world.  We’re talking, of course, about the short VIX trade.  I say “the beginning” because the short VIX trade is multi-faceted and has deep roots in the business cycle that we’re in.  Like most stories in the market, you need to back up from the tree-line in order to get a view of the forest rather than the trees. 

Unfortunately today’s markets have evolved to the point where the latest political decree can significantly impact what happens. And along those lines, there’s been ample speculation that the powers that be may be planning a financial reset. With many feeling that gold and silver will be reset higher, while perhaps much of the global debt is somehow cancelled out (keep in mind U.S. president Donald Trump does have extensive experience with the bankruptcy code). Read More
No, it is invariably the bears who are blamed for the post-bubble crises and are the main objects of anti- speculative legislation. Yet during the bubble periods it is the bears who are generally the lone voice of reason, warning people of the folly of investing in overpriced markets. In the aftermath of a bubble, they continue their forensic work of exposing unsound securities and bringing prices back in line with intrinsic values, a point which must be reached before the recovery can start.

Bill Pawelec taught me the meaning and importance of predictive programming. As a result, I am going to reveal a partially redacted, but very relevant email from a member of my audience about the extreme relevance of predictive programming. And then I am going to allow the predictive words of my late friend, CIA contract agent and former Air Force Intel operative, Bill Pawelec, who revealed what is coming and I fear we will not have to wait very long this to happen.
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Enclosed are our Student Aid Report and a copy of (Another University’s) Award Letter per our recent telephone conversation. We discussed our family’s present financial situation and how it would be financially difficult for Heather to attend Anywhere University unless the university reconsiders her financial aid amount. You said you would do everything possible to provide additional assistance for Heather and suggested we send you the above-stated information.
Pension funds need an annual average of 6,6% income growth to pay for their promises. Over the last decade, they are getting less than 0,5%. Millions of retirees need to cover for this shortfall in their pension funds, and sell their financial assets, littl by little. It will become structural and widespread, as demographics will further strengthen in this direction (more retirees needing additional funds, and less working people saving for retirement).
The Dow is now gyrating after it plunged to 16,450 Friday and experienced an intra-day swing of near 1,100 points on Monday, leaving it more than 10 percent below its record close in May. The Dow hit an 18-month low at 16,106 on Monday morning before it trimmed losses. The NASDAQ is down 11 percent from a record high reached earlier this year and is on pace for its worst month since November 2008.

I have my doubts about the sustainability of growth in the US because of the rising debt burden and anemic growth in productivity and the working age population. With these headwinds, I believe it will be almost impossible to achieve sustained growth, like what we experienced in the 1990s. However, I concede that growth could continue to rise over the next 2–3 years.
How fast and furious it goes will depend on many things and is somewhat hard to predict. The tax cut means a lotta corporate cash is coming back for stock buybacks. This counteracts the trend from the Fed portfolio decline. On the other hand more and more being are seeing the professional market cheerleaders for what they are - con artists or children. So that trickle could easily be overwhelmed by the thundering waterfall of people whose eyes have been opened up to the overwhelming heroic assumptions required to keep this bubble inflated this high.
The need to minimize the cost of distance has caused businesses and individuals to cluster around urban areas. This trend began during the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago, when millions of people moved to cities to work in factories. As Karen notes “Cities are dense urban hubs that minimize the cost of moving raw materials, labor and finished goods.”
Add another nail into our society. Education isn’t to raise the cultural level of society, it’s ONLY to get a job. SAD. I suppose Taco Bell and MacDonalds should make prep “colleges” for thier future employees. That way they can work their “education” off and not receive wages. My good God, look at how enslaved we are as a people, yet we still vote against our own benefit. Sad. My $20,000 credit card that was used to try and stay in a over-priced home, I walked from, but if it was used to educate me, I would be bound forever. Anyone see a problem here?
Very few Americans have any significant savings today. Most live on credit and those with savings have it stored in financial instruments that will be wiped out as the bankers collapse the system to hide the theft they have been involved in for decades. Those who think they will retire with their IRA, pensions or social security will find them all gone never to return leaving them with no means to care for themselves. Read More
Regardless of their exact beginnings and ends, bear markets typically have four phases. In the first phase, prices and investor sentiment are high, but investors are beginning to take profits and exit the market. In the second phase, stock prices begin to fall quickly, trading activity and corporate earnings fall, and positive economic indicators are below average. Investor sentiment also gets more pessimistic and some investors panic. Market indices and many securities reach new trading lows, trading activity continues to decrease, and dividend yields reach historic highs. In the third phase, prices and trading volume increase somewhat as speculators enter the market. In the fourth and final phase, stock prices continue to fall, but they do so at a slower pace. As investors find prices low enough and as they react to good news or positive indicators, bear markets often eventually give way to bull markets.
Nothing is going to be the same after this.  On Friday, the United States hit China with 34 billion dollars in tariffs, and China immediately responded with similar tariffs.  If it stopped there, this trade war between the United States and China would not be catastrophic for the global economy.  But it isn’t going to stop there.  Donald Trump is already talking about hitting China with an additional 500 billion dollars in tariffs, which would essentially cover pretty much everything that China exports to the U.S. in a typical year.  The Chinese have accused Trump of starting “the biggest trade war in economic history”, and they are pledging to fight for as long as it takes. Read More

While the Liberal International Order and its institutions are credited with the relative peace the world has enjoyed since 1945, Niall says, “That's a very implausible argument.” He believes the world has been more peaceful because of the will and capacity of the US to be the principal guarantor of the system. This is often referred to as Pax Americana, in which the US employed its overwhelming military power to shape and direct global events.
And it isn't just expectations of future inflation that are changing - current inflation is picking up as well. In the U.S., annual core inflation (less food and energy) currently sits at 1.8 percent - up from 1.6 percent in the 12 months through January - and wages are rising. Even if oil prices remain flat over the next 12 months, year-over-year inflation comparisons in the Eurozone will turn positive in the fourth quarter, with expectations of annual inflation of 1.6 percent. As has happened in the U.S., Credit Suisse also thinks that investors may soon start questioning just when the ECB will taper quantitative easing. That, too, would be bad for bonds. Without the ECB as a big-time buyer, the supply of bonds will increase, pushing down prices.
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