The past two years have seen a rather aggressive change in corporate policies toward the very customers they used to covet. Not long ago, CEOs tended to keep their political views mostly in the closet. Companies remained publicly neutral because their goal was first and foremost to make money. When they wanted to influence politics or social norms, they bought politicians — you know, the good old-fashioned way. The big banks still do this by funneling cash to both Republicans and Democrats alike

George is well versed in several areas, so I’m sure we will get into many intense discussions on topics ranging from technology to finance to economics. Yet, George is only one of the speakers that attendees will get to hear and meet. I really hope you can be there to experience it in person, with me. If you’re ready to learn more about the SIC 2018, and the other speakers who will be there, you can do so, here.
The bears of the early 1930s had a mixed fate. Joseph Kennedy, the father of JFK, was appointed the first chairman of the SEC shortly after participating in a bear pool in the stock of Libby Owens Ford. Roosevelt apparently decided he needed a fox to guard the hen coop. Jesse Livermore had a less happy time. He lost an estimated $32 million anticipating a bull market which never arrived. In 1934, Livermore was declared bankrupt. He blew his brains out in the washroom of the Sherry- Netherlands hotel in 1940. The note he left behind, repeated over and over again: “My life has been a failure. My life has been a failure…”
Last week more than a handful of subscribers alerted me to Jim Rickards’ beliefthat China has pegged the SDR (an IMF reserve currency) Gold price from 850-950 SDR/oz and this is what is impacting the Gold price. Rickards writes that the peg is too cheap given the scarce supply of Gold and that the IMF will print trillions of SDRs during the next global financial crisis. Read More
The environment surrounding the historic expansion of the U.S. economy from March 1992 through March 2001 mirrors in many ways the expansion of the 1960s. After a somewhat subdued start, productivity perked up to average 2.4% per year from 1995 onward. This improved productivity growth was accompanied by strong economic growth and a surging stock market, while inflation remained relatively low. Returning to Figure 1, we see that a bottom for the (inflation-adjusted) stock market occurred in October 1990, followed by a “bull” market that accelerated rapidly after 1994, fueled by the high-tech boom. From December 1994 to its peak in August 2000, the stock market increased in value by $9.7 trillion, with the S&P 500 rising by an extraordinary 226%, or by 40% per year, for an average annual increase after adjusting for inflation of 34%. (See Lansing 2002 for a discussion of these valuations.) From 1994:Q4 to 2000:Q3, the inflation-adjusted net worth per capita of households increased by over 8% per year, with financial assets regaining prominence in households’ asset portfolios. By 2000:Q3, they comprised slightly more than 70% of the total. The market peaked in August 2000, and over the next two years, the inflation-adjusted value of the S&P 500 fell more than 43%.

America’s long-term “balance sheet numbers” just continue to get progressively worse.  Unfortunately, since the stock market has been soaring and the GDP numbers look okay, most Americans assume that the U.S. economy is doing just fine.  But the stock market was soaring and the GDP numbers looked okay just prior to the great financial crisis of 2008 as well, and we saw how that turned out.  The truth is that GDP is not the best measure for the health of the economy.  Judging the U.S. economy by GDP is basically like measuring the financial health of an individual by how much money he or she spends, and I will attempt to illustrate that in this article. Read More

The corollary is that investors should bet on what they think will happen over the medium to long term, stripping out their inclination to guess what other investors will do this week or this month. If you think electric cars are going to take over the world, for example, it might well be smart to snag some Tesla while it's on sale, if you can afford to wait for the bounce back.
Panic of 1901 Panic of 1907 Depression of 1920–21 Wall Street Crash of 1929 Recession of 1937–38 1971 Brazilian markets crash 1973–74 stock market crash Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash (1982) Japanese asset price bubble (1986–1991) Black Monday (1987) Rio de Janeiro Stock Exchange collapse Friday the 13th mini-crash (1989) 1990s Japanese stock market crash Dot-com bubble (1995–2000) 1997 Asian financial crisis October 27, 1997, mini-crash 1998 Russian financial crisis
CHECK OUT Buying Bitcoin is Like Buying Air Round of Tax CutsNow the Republicans are talking about another round of tax cuts. Just in time for the November election. Whether or not these tax cuts actually get passed is anyone's guess, but it will be an issue on the campaign trail, either because they delivered ...…
RATE AND REVIEW this podcast on Facebook. Trade Deficit Largest Trade Deficit on RecordToday's rally had to overlook the bad news that came out today. I was watching CNBC this morning just before the news was announced and the anchor said, "We've got a lot of news coming out at 8:30 and I ...…
The company lost $1.1 billion in cash in the last quarter, executives are leaving the company in droves, it’s facing production issues with its Model 3 and, as I recently discussed, Elon Musk insulted analysts on the latest earnings call by dismissing their questions – regarding the company’s survival – as “boring” and “boneheaded,” (just after shareholders approved his obscenely large pay package).

The drastically slowing economy is threatening both corporate earnings growth and the bull market. If GDP grows at an anemic 2% average annual rate through 2019 and a 1.8% rate longer term, as forecasted by the Federal Reserve (per the Wall Street Journal), stock prices are likely to lose steam and tumble. Five famed investors see a bear market around the corner, and recently gave their views on how the downturn will begin and how low it might go, as reported by, a division of Time Inc. The five include Tom Forester, Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Bill Gross and Rob Arnott.
Having lived through and traded the bear markets since 2000, I can attest to the accuracy of the descriptions provided - especially the psychological roller coaster that takes place. Forewarned is forearmed when the next bear market appears. The trading suggestions for bear markets range from the straightforward to the more advanced. I was slightly disappointed that there was no mention of using inverse ETFs in a bear market - perhaps a topic for a future bonus section.
During the bear market a heavy debate ensued as to whose fault the falling market was. The political parties were heavily divided during this period.[10] For the most part there were three camps: ones that simply blamed the economy, others that wanted to pin the passing Bush Administration and others that wanted to push the blame on the newly arriving Obama Administration.
His place was taken by Daniel Drew, also known as the “Great Bear”, “Ursa Major”, and the “Sphinx of Wall Street”. Drew was described by a contemporary as “shrewd, unscrupulous, and very illiterate – a strange combination of superstition and faithlessness, of daring and timidity – often good-natured and sometimes generous.” He was the great rival of Cornelius Vanderbilt and a sometime partner of Jay Gould.
“The economic fundamentals remain favorable,” said Bruce Bittles, Robert W. Baird’s chief investment strategist, after Wednesday’s sell-off. Bittles was also cautious on stocks ahead of the current rout. “Given the strength in the labor markets and confidence levels among small businesses, the odds of a business turndown are unlikely. We remain bullish on the U.S. economy.”

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.

In his book Nobody Knows Anything, my friend Bob Moriarty wrote about the difference between signal and noise. Unfortunately, much of the information in the gold space or what passes for such is really noise. Conspiracy theories around manipulation, price suppression and China are all too popular while important factors like real interest rates, investment demand and gold’s relationship to equities are neglected. At present the Gold market has experienced a critical breakdown yet in some circles a new theory and explanation is gaining traction.

We now have confirmation that the trade war between the U.S. and China is going to be a protracted one, given that neither side is willing to back down. China has declined any further talks because it refuses to negotiate under the threat of further tariffs, or as it puts it, with a knife at its throat. At the same time, Trump is clearly intent on pressing ahead with tariffs on all of China's exports to the U.S., regardless of rising opposition at home.
Just like a secular bull market, a secular bear market is one that lasts between five and 25 years. And while the average length of a secular bear market is about 17 years, there may be smaller bull or bear markets within it. Still, the average bear market is much shorter -- usually under a year -- and so definitions of what constitutes a secular bear market vary. 
The most recent drop puts stock prices, even after more than two weeks of losses, only back to where they were in July of this year. And yet, we may be much closer to panic territory than it appears. Based on valuations, all it would take for stocks to enter a bear market would be a 5 percent drop in the S&P 500 from here. At the low on Tuesday, when the S&P 500 was down 60 points, the market was within 90 points of that threshold.
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

It often happens that gold and silver prices hit low points in June and December, before rallying sharply. The reason is not hard to understand: traders at the bullion banks close their books at the year and half-year ends and are almost certainly instructed by their superiors to reduce their trading positions to as low a level as possible. This is because the banks wish to report balance sheets that reflect low risk exposure for the purpose of making regulatory returns. Read More
You never know, at any point in time, if you are in a bear market. A bear market—commonly defined as a period in which a given stock index has dropped at least 20% from a peak—can only be identified after the fact. Until the market has dropped 20% from a peak, you are not yet in a bear market. Once it’s dropped 20%, you can say that you were in a bear market, but you still have no idea where the market’s going next of if you are in what will later be viewed as a bear market. Every uptick is potentially the end of a bear market and the beginning of a new bull market.
U.S. bonds have not fallen like this since Donald Trump’s stunning election victory in November 2016.  Could this be a sign that big trouble is on the horizon for the stock market?  It seems like bonds have been in a bull market forever, but now suddenly bond yields are spiking to alarmingly high levels.  On Wednesday, the yield on 30 year U.S. bonds rose to the highest level since September 2014, the yield on 10 year U.S. bonds rose to the highest level since June 2011, and the yield on 5 year bonds rose to the highest level since October 2008. Read More
I forget now exactly what the size of the interest expense of the public debt is, about $400 billion. The government is paying 2.2 or something on its debt. Doubling of yields to 4-something and doubling of gross interest expense to $800 billion or so would certainly be an inconvenience. It would require very painful political choices. But, no, it is not impossible.