Now that the raging robo-traders have tagged a double top at 2897 on the S&P 500 it isworth remembering that the booming stock market is the greatest Fake Bull in history. It is entirely a function of massive central bank liquidity injections into the financial system that have transformed Wall Street and other global trading venues into virtual gambling casinos.
There is perhaps no better illustration of the deep decay of the American political system than the Senate race in New Jersey. Sen. Bob Menendez, running for re-election, was censured by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting bribes from the Florida businessman Salomon Melgen, who was convicted in 2017 of defrauding Medicare of $73 million. The senator had flown to the Dominican Republic with Melgen on the physician’s private jet and stayed in his private villa, where the men cavorted with young Dominican women who allegedly were prostitutes. Menendez performed numerous political favors for Melgen, including helping some of the Dominican women acquire visas to the United States. Menendez was indicted in a federal corruption trial but escaped sentencing because of a hung jury. Read More
Mallen cites consumer confidence levels near all-time highs and third-quarter GDP growth projections at a healthy 3.3%. Mallen also notes the spread between high-yield corporate bonds and 10-year U.S. Treasury notes remains relatively contained at around 3.6 percentage points. Normally this spread blows out when severe trouble lies ahead for the economy and stocks.
Third, the mostly toothless SEC has allowed the creation of all manner of leveraged tools (negative ETFS and put options) for hedging and shorting on DOWN-TICKS. This is something that was banned from 1934 to 2007 for good reason, viz. deepening the Depression. Did you know that even Herbert Hoover wanted to curb short-selling? But not our SEC. Not now. Hedge funds and big fund managers and wealthy investors can readily buy these leveraged shorts on indexes in a blink of an eye, without regard to the last tick. So, of course, they use them as the 65-dma has finally turned down and as support levels, one after another fail. We saw exactly what this can do to the market in October 1987. It fell 30%+ in three weeks back then. And the DJI was not so over-extended. It had been in a bull market for less than five years. But it did have a new Fed Chairman (Greenspan), just like now, who needed to be properly baptized and schooled by Wall Street under fire, so that he would be tamed, not rock the boat and be henceforth pledged to shore up the market if it again collapsed.
What effect will a bear market in bonds have on equities? That depends. If bond yields rise above a certain level, equity risk premiums will start to look less attractive. Higher rates also push up interest costs for corporations, although the bank's analysts say interest rates would have to increase by 100 basis points in the U.S. and 250 basis points in Europe before they become a noticeable drag on earnings.
Lost in the largely meaningless political Kabuki theatre being staged on Capitol Hill is the fact that the economy is deteriorating. Real average weekly earnings in July declined for production and non-supervisory workers. It was down 0.01% from June to July and down 0.22% from July 2017. For all employees, real average hourly earnings declined 0.20% from June to July but was flat year over year. Read More
As this stock market correction progresses, it is natural to consider what levels may be effectivein halting the decline. We have recently taken a stab at a couple potential “support” levels in the U.S. market with excellent success, so far. Those posts include Monday’s The Mother Of All Support Levels on the broad Value Line Geometric Composite which held precisely, as well as a few Premium Posts at The Lyons Share covering key sectors, which also held on cue: Market Leaders At Must-Hold Levels and Finally Some Support To Bank On (if you’d like to see these posts, shoot us an email at [email protected] and we’d be happy to share). Read More
There was a great sense of triumphalism in the councils of the president’s economic advisory committees. But then, lo and behold, comes the Vietnam War, comes the demographic, comes the coming of age of the baby boomers, comes all sorts of things which in retrospect appear to have been instigators of the price inflation. But they were not so regarded at the time.
I live in San Diego and observed a very interesting phenomenon recently in the local real estate market. It looks like in early 2011, one or more banks sent out a small flood of properties on the market. And these properties sat there for a while and got a few price cuts as it became apparent that the demand was just not there. Eventually most of those properties have disappeared (presumably sold, or maybe delisted). And since then, NOTHING. I mean virtually NOTHING has hit the market recently. I assume that potential sellers and banks saw what happened and have decided not to shake loose any more shadow inventory.
It seems unfair that the earnest polymath Elon Musk should go broke in the electric car business while Kylie Jenner becomes a billionaire at age 20 hawking lip gloss on Snapchat, but that’s how the American Dream rolls these late days of empire. Perhaps the lesson here, for all you MBA wannabes, is that Mr. Musk could switch his production facilities from cars to lip gloss. Of course, to successfully market his new line of cosmetics on social media, Elon might have to consider sexual “reassignment” surgery — unless he could persuade American men via Facebook and Twitter, that lip enhancement boosts male self-esteem almost as much as the purchase of a Ford F-450 pickup truck at a laughable fraction of the cost. Read More
Dr. D: You have to understand what exchanges are and are not. An exchange is a central point where owners post collateral and thereby join and trade on the exchange. The exchange backs the trades with their solvency and reputation, but it’s not a barter system, and it’s not free: the exchange has to make money too. Look at the Comex, which reaches back to the early history of commodities exchange which was founded to match buyers of say, wheat, like General Mills, with producers, the farmers. But why not just have the farmer drive to the local silo and sell there? Two reasons: one, unlike manufacturing, harvests are lumpy. To have everyone buy or sell at one time of the year would cripple the demand for money in that season. This may be why market crashes happen historically at harvest when the demand for money (i.e. Deflation) was highest. Secondly, however, suppose the weather turned bad: all farmers would be ruined simultaneously. Read More
I’ve been asked to comment on the most recent market decline. My initial reaction was, markets go up and they go down. America is a great country but the US Constitution doesn’t guarantee always-rising markets. I sat down and I wanted to write a reassuring message. I wanted to express my empathy. Somehow, I found that my reservoir of empathy was empty: After recent decline the market is still up twenty-something percent from the beginning of 2017.
5. The millennial generation is getting off to a slow start due to the tremendous burden of $1Trillion+ in student loans. The impact of all this debt is to create an artificial drag on spending for the largest generation in U.S. history right when we need them to pick up the slack from the second largest (and far more wealthy) generation that is retiring in droves.
Before it collapsed, the city of Rome had a population greater than 1,000,000 people. That was an extraordinary accomplishment in the ancient world, made possible by many innovative technologies and the organization of the greatest civilization that the world had ever seen. Such an incredible urban population depended on capital accumulated over centuries. But the Roman Empire squandered this capital, until it was no longer sufficient to sustain the city (we are aware the story is more complicated than this).
Suppose you have the opportunity and the means to create a gold mine, and decide to undertake the challenge; you invest in the building and installations of the gold mine, and in all the related salaries to carry out the building of the mine, by paying for all expenses in gold; finally the gold mine is selling the gold it produces, in exchange for dollars. So now you have an abundant income in dollars, because your mine has been a successful venture. Hurray!
For now the focus is on the US central bank. Investors will be looking for clues from its policy statement on Wednesday on when the balance-sheet run-off will start. After a soft patch in the economy earlier this year, Fed officials have hung on to their forecast for inflation to inch back up to their 2 per cent target, a goal they’ve missed for most of the last five years.
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.
Astute readers remember how we published our Gold Price Forecast For 2018 almost a year ago when the price of gold was testing its support $1200 to $1220 level. We were bearish at that point in time. However, right after our publication the futures market, one of our leading indicators, changed its shape. We updated readers about this event, and early this year the gold futures market confirmed its new trend which was also reflected in the price of gold. Read More
Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow at Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard, where he served for twelve years as a professor of history. Niall is one of the finest economic historians on the planet; but he isn’t only an academic. What many people don’t know is that he works with a small group of elite hedge fund managers and executives as the managing director of macroeconomic and geopolitical advisory firm, Greenmantle.
The poll of 30 finance professionals on four continents showed a lack of consensus on the asset judged as most vulnerable now, with answers ranging from European high yield to local-currency emerging-market debt, though they were mostly in the bond world. Among 25 responding to a question on the next US recession, the median answer was the first half of 2019.
The trade war has barely just begun, and yet significant ripple effects are already being felt all across the U.S. economy. Once thriving businesses are on the verge of failure, workers are being laid off, and some sectors of the economy are witnessing enormous price hikes. Right now the mainstream media is absolutely fixated on the drama surrounding the recently concluded Trump-Putin summit meeting, but the consequences of this trade war will ultimately be far more important for the lives of most ordinary Americans. As more tariffs continue to be implemented, this will perhaps be the biggest disruption to the global economic system that we have seen in decades. Perhaps you have not been affected personally yet, but for many Americans this trade war has changed everything. For example, just consider the plight of soybean farmer Tim Bardole… Read More
Following a recent barrage of negativity from former Lehman trader and current Bloomberg macro commentator, Mark Cudmore, who warned that stocks are likely to continue sliding as a short squeeze in bonds sends yields lower, overnight his Bloomberg Markets Live colleague and macro commentator, Garfield Reynolds, echoed Cudmore's growing pessimism, urging readers to "Rest Up This Easter Because Markets Face an Ugly Q2" and that "the worst for markets is yet to come" for four reasons he lists below.
So we have concluded (perhaps) the bull market in bonds that began in 1981 and that maybe ended in the early days of July 2016 (I think). So it might just be that interest rates are going up because they are going up. It sounds a little bit mysterious and indeed fatalistic, but I’m a little bit less inclined than others to assign causation to people and policies.