Other than the continual drama surrounding the Trump presidency, things have been quite calm for the past couple of years. We have been enjoying a time of peace, safety and relative economic prosperity that a lot of Americans have begun to take for granted. But great trouble has been brewing under the surface, and many are wondering if we are about to reach a major turning point. Our planet is being shaken physically, emotionally and financially, and it isn’t going to take much to push us over the edge. Read More
Globalization has been bad for these sections of society because it changed the relative value of capital and labor. When capital and goods could flow freely between the US and emerging market countries, the value of labor in the US fell dramatically. Today, we are at a point where labor share of income has fallen to an all-time low of 57%. That means a growing fraction of the gains have been going to capital, and those who have it.
I have tried to explain this concept many times before but never had a chart to do it with. Please note the start date of the chart is 1971, this is not by any coincidence as that was the year the U.S. dollar became fully fiat and backed by nothing but “faith”. Before getting started, it is important to understand what August 15, 1971 really meant and why Nixon took us off the gold standard. The obvious is because with France and other nations demanding conversion of dollars into our gold, it would have only been a few short years before our stockpile was completely depleted. Read More
This moment is not just about leaving the Iran nuclear agreement, or even the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate agreement. It is not simply attributable to the unpredictable, childish impulses of the current president. Nor is it the result of Obama’s failure to enforce a red line in Syria, or “leading from behind” in Libya. It is not even about Bush’s invasion of Iraq with the goal of regime change, setting in motion the destruction of what political stability existed in the Middle East. Read More
Unlike the last credit crisis when the dollar rose sharply in a general panic for safety, on the next crisis, the dollar is likely to fall substantially. The reason is that foreign ownership of dollar investments (typically in US Treasuries) appears greatly overextended, and an additional $4 trillion of liquidity is in the wrong (non-US) hands. This is likely to be unloaded during a general credit crisis, driving the dollar lower. Read More
“What a difference a day makes”! Well we didn’t get the sun and the flowers like in Dinah Washington’s song but more like storm and showers. For the ones who don’t remember Dinah, Amy Winehouse made a more recent version of the song. Last week I warned investors again, in the strongest tone possible, of the risks in markets. So what triggered it? Was it the Fed’s interest rise? Or was it the trade war with China? Or maybe it was Kavanaugh?
Our US Regime Model, a quantitative framework for stock-picking, suggests we are in the mid to late stages of the market cycle and in this stage, momentum is the best way to invest. As contrarian value investors, this is not an easy call to make. But if this bull market is closer to over, our analysis of factor returns indicates that late-stage bull markets have been dominated by stocks with strong price momentum and growth, while value, analyst neglect, and dividend yield have been the worst-performing factors.
Here’s a scarier thought: At least 10 of the 11 FISA judges were appointed by OVomit. Recall, if you will, the forum shopping that is done in all of the cases against Pres. Trump for something he did or something he didn’t do. The FISA judge(s) may be as activist as the 9th Circuit, so they wouldn’t be concerned at all about the veracity of the pleadings he/she was looking at behind the FISA application. Remember Judge Boasberg, saw nothing wrong with ruling that the Comey memos could not be released to Judicial Watch, et al., even though some have already been leaked “because [the release] might prematurely reveal . . . the nature, scope, direction and focus of its investigations” involving Russia’s interference in the 2016 election”…in other words they’re being used by Mueller in his witch hunt. What I’m saying is THE FISA COURT, the secret court charged with authority to breach any American citizen’s 4th Amendment rights based on no witnesses, just documents, grant FISA approvals based on that documentation that shows probable cause based on the veracity of these documents. So here’s another “the fix is in” to ruin candidate Trump, president-elect Trump & President Trump & this time it is 1 or more OVomit-appointed FISA judges. Another clue: Where the H**ll is the ACLU?
Goldberg said that investors who continue to hold longer-term bonds should expect fluctuations and, if they look closely at statement this year, losses in the bond holdings. But it's not a reason to sell. And most retail investors aren't in bonds for the total return (i.e., performance) anyway. But they do need to understand that the market mechanics are much stronger for stocks than bonds now.
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
The primary reason why stock prices have been soaring in recent months is because corporations have been buying back their own stock at an unprecedented pace. In fact, the pace of stock buybacks is nearly double what it was at this time last year. According to Goldman Sachs, S&P 500 companies spent 384 billion dollars buying back stock during the first half of 2018. That is an absolutely astounding number. And in many cases, corporations are going deep into debt in order to do this. Of course this is going to push up stock prices, but corporate America will not be able to inflate this bubble indefinitely. At some point a credit crunch will come, and the pace of stock buybacks will fall precipitously. Read More
During the first three quarters of 2016 we were open to the possibility that a new cyclical gold bull market got underway in December of 2015, but over the past 18 months we have been consistent in our opinion that the December-2015 upward reversal in the US$ gold price did NOT mark the start of a bull market. Since late-2016 there have been some interesting rallies in the gold price, but at no time has there been a good reason to believe that we were dealing with a bull market. That’s still the case. The question is: what will it take to set a new cyclical gold bull market in motion? Read More
The last refunding two weeks ago, which consisted of three, 10- and 30-year securities, surprised many by drawing strong demand. That was before the tariff tantrum in markets. When asked on Friday whether China plans to scale back its purchases of Treasuries in response to tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, China's ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, wouldn't rule out the possibility. "We are looking at all options," he said.