Below, we ask a simple question: Is the war on COVID the needed pretext for even more centralized market “performance?”
After all, who needs free markets when central bank liquidity determines price forces via endless COVID bailouts?
The trend toward centralized controls and centralized markets was in play long before COVID, but has the pandemic given the powers-that-be even more power?
As we discuss below, COVID may just be the final nail in the coffin of free market capitalism.
In this murky light, do traditional market indicators and forces even matter anymore?
Consumer Sentiment: Who Cares?
As stocks reached all-time highs in U.S. markets, consumer confidence recently saw its 7th greatest collapse in history.
Needless to say, cadres of Wall Street spin-sellers (propaganda specialists?) are already hard at work explaining why such a disconnect between sentiment and equity valuations (i.e., price bubbles) doesn’t matter.
After all, when buckets of QE liquidity pour daily into the financial system in a COVID-induced era of unlimited-QE, today’s central-bank driven markets don’t need consumer confidence or even healthy balance sheets (from free-cash-flows to profits & earnings) to make their zombie-like climb toward 34.6 PE levels on the S&P.
In short, who needs consumer confidence (or even consumers at all), when a central bank airbag sits permanently beneath the S&P, NASDAQ and DOW?
Words Replacing Math & Facts
Over a decade ago, when the first controversial bucket of QE1 began, Bernanke promised it would be a “temporary” measure.
But bear or bull, we are fairly clear by now that words like “temporary” and “transitory” coming out of D.C. are as empty as Nixon’s promise in 1971 that decoupling from the gold standard would be equally short-lived:
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